came up just short in last year’s Class 6A state final but appears poised to get over the hump in 2012.
After losing to talent-laden Prattville 35-34 in last year’s final, Hoover returns key pieces on both sides of the ball that should help power the Bucs back to the finals. And that's a spot Hoover, the No. 7 national football dynasty
, is accustomed to being in.MaxPreps Preseason Top 25 High School Football Early Contenders
Head coach Josh Niblett will rely on quarterback Connor Short
to guide the team’s offense. Short took over midway through the season when Sam Gillikin got hurt and tossed for 2,000 yards in seven games.
, who scored a touchdown against Prattville, should help fill the void left by Dakota Daniel. Sophomore Braderick Shaw
, also a member of the school’s track and field team, is one of the sophomores that could factor into the team’s success this fall. Michael Burroughs
looked good in the team’s spring game.
A burner at wide receiver, Alfonzo Steele
should be Short’s top target. Justin Johnson
and Alex Elam
, two talented sophomores, should help fill in other holes. Elam was the team’s fastest-timed player this spring.
Hoover’s offensive line needs to be rebuilt. With nearly 250 players from grades 9-12 working out with the team this spring, there should be plenty of big bodies to choose from.
Defensively, Niblett is focused on finding defensive tackles that can fill gaps on the interior line. Jamal Lucas
and Landry Tullo
will anchor a strong group of linebackers that will be one of the team’s strengths.
The secondary, however, will be where this year’s Hoover squad really excels. Safety Devon Earl
is primed for a strong senior year, while junior cornerback Marlon Humphrey
, who is drawing favorable comparisons to Champ Bailey and Dre Kirkpatrick at the same age, is as good a corner on the high school level as there is.Local outlook:
“The big picture is Hoover is set up for a four-year run that will rival any in its dynasty. They've made the state finals every year since 2000. How? Resources are a big thing. So is the fact Rush Propst turned a sleeping giant (roughly two times larger than most schools in Alabama 6A) into a juggernaut 12 years ago.” - Jeff Sentell, Birmingham News