Georgia’s DeKalb County has been a factory for manufacturing collegiate stars and 2013 marked the fourth consecutive year that this region produced more than 100 Division-1 football signees. In the center of this hotbed are the Stephenson (Ga.) Jaguars and Tucker (Ga.) Tigers who both hold onto rich traditions of producing some of the state’s most dominant playmakers each season. This year’s matchup could have more major college prospects taking the field than any other high school football game this season.
The programs squared off for the first time last year, and Stephenson won 13-6 as Tucker fumbled on the potential game-tying drive. The teams each averaged more than 30.0 points-per game offensively and gave up less than 15 points-per game in 2012.
Heading into this game, Tucker is averaging 56 points-per game while allowing just 8, and Stephenson is lighting up the board for 42 points per game while surrendering just 6. Leading Tucker is its incredible senior linebacking corps. Stanford-commit Kirk Tucker and 3-star Justin Hughes line up as outside linebackers, and UGA-commit Detrick Dukes anchors the interior.
In the Tigers’ secondary is 3-star safety Dominick Sanders, who can produce game changing plays in all three phases of the game. The line of scrimmage is controlled by 6-foot-5, 295-pound defensive tackle Elisha Shaw. The 4-star recruit holds offers from Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss and Auburn among many others. Tucker is coming off a bye but in the week prior; the defense forced a pair of interceptions and held Lakeside-DeKalb (Ga.) to just 111 yards of offense in its 56-7 win.
Stephenson’s defense is led by talented underclassmen and a deep senior class that leaves the unit stacked with leadership and stars at each level. Linebacker Malik Ricks and safety Ronald Peterkin are Georgia State-commits and Wake Forest-commit Cameron Glenn joins Peterkin as the Jaguars’ safety net. South Carolina-commit Chauncey Rivers is a 6-foot-4, 225-pound defensive end that plays next to 3-star, 300-pound defensive tackle Javon Barnes.
Offensively, Dallas Rivers is one of the dangerous options at Stephenson’s disposal and comes off a 116-yard rushing performance with three touchdowns in the Jaguars’ 35-7 win over Southwest DeKalb (Ga.) before last week’s bye. Quarterback Giovanni Weekly has reliable targets in junior wideout Dexter Neal (South Carolina-commit), 3-star wideout Isaiah Zuber and tight end Ari Werts (Georgia State-commit).
Buying time for Weekly will be a group of linemen led by Jordan Harris and Tyler Jones. Harris is a 6-foot-5, 292-pound Mississippi State commitment and Tyler Jones is a 6-foot-4, 270-pound N.C. State commit.
Stephenson has plenty of talent as it searches for the program’s first state championship this season. Tucker last won state titles in 2011 and 2008.