High School Football America has tapped defending Alabama 7A champ McGill-Toolen as the 24th best high school football team in the country. The Yellowjackets, who last month won the inaugural USA Football 7on7 national championship, are coming-off a 13-1 season that saw the school win its first state title with a 14-12 win over Spain Park last December.
“The challenge for me and my staff is to keep the guys focused and hungry,” said McGill-Toolen head coach Caleb Ross, who is entering his third year as the program’s head coach. “The kids have handled it real well. It’s all about competition…no matter how much you’ve won or who you play, because it can turn in a hurry.”
The Yellowjackets return a dozen players from last year’s championship team, including wide receiver Marlon Williams, who has given his verbal commitment to USC. Williams had 47 catches last season.
“He’s explosive, runs good routes and has strong hands, real physical,” said Ross about Williams’ skills. “We’ll put him in the backfield some and hand the football to him, because he real explosive and good in the holes.”
Ross says that, in addition to Williams, he returns three other receivers that will play in college — Brandon Hinton, who’s given his verbal to Air Force, Jalen Tolbert, who given his verbal to Jacksonville State and Larry Rembert, who caught 42 balls last year.
The guy in-charge of getting the ball to the Yellowjackets’ wideouts is senior quarterback Bubba Thompson, who has already accepted a baseball scholarship to Auburn. Thompson has been offered a football scholarship to Central Florida and Troy.
Thompson played QB as a sophomore, but after starting the first game, he hurt is non-throwing shoulder, which required surgery. He was expected to start last year, but once again hurt his shoulder.
“He’s (Bubba) a really good kid…he’s humble with lots opportunities in front of him, ” said Ross. “The kids are starting to rally around him, and we’re looking for a special season from him.”
The offensive line is led by Nate Long, a three-year starter, who Ross says can play center, guard or tackle.
On defensive, McGill-Toolen will be led by middle linebacker Carlton Martial, who recorded 13 sacks last season. Martial was the Coastal Defensive Player of the Year, who is 5-10, 205. Martial has given his verbal to Alabama A&M.
Ross will find-out how good this year’s team is when the Yellowjackets take-on defending 6A champ Spanish Fort on August 19th in the season opener for both. Spanish Fort is ranked just outside of the High School Football America Preseason Top 50.