Baylor linebacker Colton Jumper is the latest Chattanooga-area football player to be invited to the U.S. Army's national junior combine.
The combine, to be held Jan. 5-7 in San Antonio, Texas, in conjunction with the U.S. Army High School All-American game, brings 500 of the best 11th-grade players in the country together.
Also invited to the combine are two area quarterbacks: Signal Mountain's Reese Phillips and Cleveland's Austin Herink. Boyd-Buchanan lineman Malik Brewer is set for the Marine Corps Semper Fidelis combine Jan. 1-4 in Phoenix.
"I'm very excited. I've been working out at D1 [Sports] and I feel like I'm ready," said the 6-foot-2, 212-pound Jumper.
His invitation makes it three straight years that Baylor has had a player invited to the combine. Linebacker David Helton, who started as a freshman at Duke this past season, went two years ago and Vanderbilt-committed offensive lineman Barrett Gouger attended the combine last year.
"It will be a great experience for Colton. It's a great honor for him and I'm excited for him," Baylor coach Phil Massey said. "He's certainly a guy that will be recruited heavily next year."
Jumper already is getting attention. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga made him an offer two weeks ago, and he has taken unofficial visits to Vanderbilt and Virginia. He also is receiving correspondence from Tennessee and Georgia.
"UTC is a great school and you can't argue with what Coach [Russ] Huesman is doing there," Jumper said. "Vandy is in my top three definitely. I loved it when I went up there, especially with the excitement they have up there with the new coach, and I really liked Virginia when I went up there."
Jumper was Baylor's third-leading tackler this past season, finishing with 79 total hits, 11 tackles for loss and eight sacks. He also had an interception. He will likely make the move from outside linebacker to middle linebacker next season.
"He has the speed -- he ran a sub 4.6 40 at UTC's camp -- and the size and strength are coming. He's going to end up being 6-3 or 6-4 and he has a big frame. He'll easily carry 230-240 pounds," Massey said. "He has a nose for the football and he certainly doesn't shy away from contact, and he's going to have the grades, and I think playing with Helton and John Tipton over the last two years helps."
Five Jackets all-state
The Class AA champion Calhoun Yellow Jackets swept the top honors in the Georgia Sports Writers Association All-State football team announced this week. Hal Lamb was named coach of the year, junior quarterback Taylor Lamb is the offensive player of the year and senior linebacker Alex Kirby is the defensive player of the year.
Senior receiver Ben Lamb, linebacker Hunter Knight and defensive back Clay Johnson also were first-team selections, while receiver Chase Rierson, offensive lineman Tyler King and kicker Adam Griffith were named to the second team.
Also in Class AA, Chattooga offensive lineman Luke Brantley was named to the first team and Gordon Central receiver Tyshaun Clemmons earned honorable mention. In Class AAA, Ridgeland junior safety Vonn Bell was named to the first team and Dalton running back Tre Bonds and Heritage kicker/punter Dustin Lewis were second-team choices.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...