Every week through football season, DawgNation writer Kipp Adams will reveal five things he learned while out on the road for Friday football. Those nuggets could include recruiting gems, game observations and/or merely thoughts on sports in general. You might already know all of it, but do us a favor and try your best to pretend it's all news to you.
The series opener looks back at the Charlotte, N.C., area contest in which the Butler Bulldogs took on the Mallard Creek Mavericks this past Friday at Memorial Stadium.
1. Wolverines pull off grand larceny: Through nine months, more than 70 programs have come through Butler High School in Matthews -- and with good reason. The program consistently churns out several BCS-level prospects each year, and this class is one of the best for the Bulldogs. But the fact that all of those coaches missed on Channing Stribling (Matthews, N.C./Butler), a 6-foot-2, 170-pound athlete who made eight touchdown catches and five interceptions in his first year on defense, is remarkable.
Stribling is not the most explosive athlete in North Carolina, but with him playing football, basketball and track (he placed third in the long jump as a junior), his slender frame could easily develop once he focuses on one sport.
He made several impressive plays Friday, opening the game by showing great leaping ability on an interception, making a shoestring catch on the sideline and sticking the wide receiver at the line of scrimmage. With offers going out to underclassmen across the nation without colleges ever seeing them in person, the story of Stribling earning his offer by impressing the Wolverines staff at camp is refreshing.
In this humble writer’s opinion, Brady Hoke and his staff should be wearing ski masks when discussing Stribling on signing day, as they have stolen a gem from the Tar Heel State.
2. Bigger, faster, stronger: Having seen wide receiver Uriah LeMay (Matthews, N.C./Butler) several times at Nike Camps and camps in Athens, his game is familiar.
LeMay knows how to use his size to his advantage, has solid hands and has more wiggle than most big wideouts. LeMay looked like he was shot out of a cannon Friday compared to previous years. He has improved on his overall quickness off the ball and did a nice job getting downfield. He had more than 100 yards receiving and two touchdowns in his first game, doing a nice job making several defenders miss after the catch on the second score. It is easy to go under the radar in a class pushing 30 commitments, but LeMay has a chance to be a solid contributor for Georgia.
3. Something has to give: Following a tough game in which he was held without a catch, ESPN 150 wide receiver Marquez North (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek) had little to say in regard to his recruitment. Having not spoken to colleges recently, with no schools lined up for officials and no plans for a decision anytime soon, North has truly put recruiting on the back burner. With spots dwindling as more and more prospects make their decisions, coaches will likely want to know whether they have a serious shot with North.
After speaking to his father, it appears the plan is for North to name a top five by the fifth game, which would be Sept. 21, and enroll early in the college of his choice. That would seem to indicate the clock is ticking for the four-star prospect. From talking to North and his father, North Carolina, Clemson, Tennessee, Florida and possibly Georgia look to be in the mix.
4. Butler could be tough to beat: Even after Butler quarterback and Tennessee commitment Riley Ferguson threw his third interception in the third quarter, it never seemed Mallard Creek was in the game. On offense, Ferguson was still able to connect with LeMay, Stribling and others when he needed to -- and once he is fully recovered from a thumb injury sustained last month the gunslinger should put up even better numbers.
On defense, Stribling, Stanford linebacker commitment Peter Kalambayi and two FBS sleepers in defensive back David Moore and linebacker Sean Wiggins helped shut down a talented Mallard Creek, including holding North to 0 catches. Kalambayi had several big hits in the game, several of which came in the Mavericks’ backfield. DoggNasty34, as Kalambayi refers to himself on Twitter, might be the best player on this stacked Butler squad, and possibly in the Cardinal class. If they stay healthy, the Bulldogs could be on their way to another state championship.
5. Technology will make all of us feel old: The last time I was at Memorial Stadium in Charlotte, West Charlotte lost to Independence 49-3. It was Sept. 12, 2008, and I was filming defensive backs Makiri Pugh and Devonte Holloman. Back then, keeping up involved the mini-dv tapes and gathering DVDs from coaches.
When I woke up this Sunday, I was informed that highlights from Friday’s game were available online. Not every school is uploading their own video, but it is funny to think how sites like Hudl and Youtube have made the gathering of film that much easier. What will be next?