Baldwin high school players on watch list for Sports Illustrated All-American Football Team

Alabama among top-10 states in nation for most nominations

SI.com and Gulf Coast Media Sports
Posted 8/2/20

NEW YORK - Forty-four high school football players from the state of Alabama are on the watch list for the Sports Illustrated All-American team for 2020, SI announced.

Four are from Baldwin …

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Baldwin high school players on watch list for Sports Illustrated All-American Football Team

Alabama among top-10 states in nation for most nominations

Posted

NEW YORK - Forty-four high school football players from the state of Alabama are on the watch list for the Sports Illustrated All-American team for 2020, SI announced.

Four are from Baldwin County: Trent Battle of Daphne, Riley Leonard of Fairhope, and Micah Gaffney and Christian Burkhalter out of Spanish Fort.

Prospect: Trent Battle 

Status: SI All-American Candidate

Vitals: 6-foot-1, 200 pounds

Position: Quarterback 

School: Daphne

Committed to: TCU 

Projected Position: Quarterback 

Frame: A little undersized with muscular build. Looks filled into frame for the most part. 

Athleticism: Smooth runner, gets in and out of cuts fast. Shows ability in the option-read game and moves well in the open field. Has the ability to outrun linebackers and challenge some third-level defenders. Likes to take off and run when under pressure; makes a lot of big plays this way. 

Instincts: Good awareness in the pocket. Has a good feel for where defenders are and when to take off and run. Shows ability in the scramble drill. Excellent vision in open field. Has the ability to set blockers and run toward daylight better than most. 

Polish: A natural thrower of the ball, has great touch on his passes. Shows good rhythm with his feet as he goes through progressions. Uses his hips and rotation at an advanced level for his age, and will only get better as he continues to practice. 

Bottom Line: Battle is an extremely gifted athlete who has an arsenal of moves in the open field. Has a knack for big plays with his legs. With more time and reps throwing the ball he will become a great Power 5 quarterback with the running ability to compete anywhere.

Prospect: Christian Burkhalter 

Projected Position: Edge 

Status:  SI All-American Candidate 

Vitals: 6-foot-5, 230 pounds 

School: Spanish Fort (Ala.) High School 

Committed to: Oregon

Frame: Tall with great length and lean muscle development throughout. Broad shoulders with room to add sparingly in upper and lower half. 

Athleticism: Two-way prep prospect with flash plays at defensive end and tight end. Moves very well relative to size with great effort and physicality. Runs well in linear scenarios but can hold his own laterally, particularly in pass coverage. 

Instincts: Reckless abandon for body prospect with an edge in how he carries himself. Effort around the ball tough to match with finishing power at the point of contact. Has improved a sense of control and assignment execution in recent years. Good hand-eye coordination and ball skills as a pass-catcher. 

Polish: Raw prospect when it comes to technique in the trenches. Relies on extension and athleticism at the prep level, but could stand to play with a lower center of gravity moving forward. Better use of hands will expedite transition regardless of his projected position. 

Bottom Line: Burkhalter is a two-way talent with the frame to legitimately consider a tight end or defensive end spot within the Power Five ranks. He has grown most comfortable on defense as a hybrid edge prospect with pass-rushing prowess and some ability to drop in coverage. Focusing on technique at that spot is his best bet for playing time at the next level.

Prospect: Riley Leonard

Status: SI All-American candidate

Vitals: 6-foot-4, 190 pounds

Position: Quarterback

School: Fairhope (Ala.) Fairhope

Committed to: Duke

Projected Position: Quarterback

Frame: Tall, lanky build, Ideal frame with a lot of room to put on more weight. 

Athleticism: Good speed, and even better quickness. He shows this on the football field as a quarterback/wide receiver, and on the basketball court as a 20 ppg scorer. Has talent extending the play outside the pocket along with making people miss in the open field with his vision and agility. 

Instincts: Has a good feel for pressure in the pocket, he knows when to maneuver through the rush keeping his eyes downfield and when to take off and run. Made a lot of big plays in the read-option game. Decisive with his throws and decision-making. 

Polish: A natural thrower with good touch on his passes, throws the ball with good anticipation especially under fire. Could stand to improve his throwing power, but this will likely come as he puts on weight and strength. 

Bottom Line: Leonard is a multi-sport star who has got all the tools to become a great dual-threat quarterback at the next level. With some more time spent in the weight room and polishing his skills he could have the ability to compete at an early age in the Power Five.

Prospect:  Micah Gaffney

Projected Position: Cornerback

Status: SI All-American Candidate

Vitals: 6-foot, 160 pounds

School: Spanish Fort (Ala.) 

Committed to: Virginia 

Frame: Lean with good length. Narrow torso and waist. Straight lower base. 

Athleticism: Patient in pedal with good foot quickness. Has a fluid transition to bail from pedal and can turn-and-run well. Has speed to carry 1 through 3rd level while maintaining tight-trail position. Good hips in space and drives on underneath routes with solid quickness. Knife tackler who’s willing to squeeze to ball-carriers. 

Instincts: Solid mental processing and collects information from initial route stems. Is reliable to get a solid arm-bar down field while getting his head around to locate ball in flight. Consistent to disrupt catch-points with inside hand/arm. 

Polish: Plays both in boundary and to the field with Cover-1 and Cover-4 concepts. Prefers to play with catch-man technique. Faced slants, stops, speed outs, digs and verts, among other routes in tapes viewed. Can be sticky and stall in transition from taking an extra step. Has average leap-timing to play ball. Needs to increase strength to maintain effectiveness in man coverage and shed blocks on college level. 

Bottom Line: Gaffney is a solid corner prospect with length, quick feet and solid instincts. He likes to play catch-technique in man coverage and has good eyes in zone concepts. Gaffney should be a solid field corner at the next level.

44 Alabama high school players are on the watch list for Sports Illustrated All-American Football Team.  Nine of the candidates are from Mobile County:

Prospect: Barylre Davenport 

Status: SI All-American candidate

Vitals: 6-foot-4, 225 pounds 

Position: Defensive End 

School: Chickasaw

Prospect: Jordan Mosley

Status: SI All-American Candidate

Vitals: 6-foot, 190 pounds

Position: Wide Receiver

School: Mobile (Ala.) McGill-Toolen Catholic  

Committed to: Tennessee                                                                              

Projected Position: Wide Receiver

Prospect: Jaden Mosley

Status: SI All-American Candidate

Vitals: 6-foot, 190 pounds

Position: Wide Receiver

School: Mobile (Ala.) McGill-Toolen Catholic  

Committed to: Tennessee                                                                              

Projected Position: Wide Receiver

 Prospect: Lee Hunter

Status: SI All-American candidate

Vitals: 6-foot-5, 292 pounds

Position: Offensive Tackle 

School: Prichard (Ala.) Mattie T. Blount

Committed to: Auburn 

Projected Position: Defensive Tackle 

Prospect: Deontae Lawson 

Status: SI All-American Candidate

Vitals: 6-foot-3, 217 pounds

Position: Linebacker 

School: Mobile (Ala.) Christian 

Committed to: Alabama 

Projected Position: Linebacker

Prospect: Edwin White

Projected Position: Safety

Status: SI All-American Candidate

Vitals: 6-foot, 196 pounds

School: Mobile (Ala.) UMS Wright-Preparatory School

Committed to: Tennessee 

Prospect: OC Ivan Shultz

Projected Position: Center

Status: SI All-American Candidate

Vitals: 6-foot-3, 285 pounds

School: Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul’s Episcopal 

Committed to: Troy 

Prospect: Jarris Williams 

Status: SI All-American candidate

Vitals: 5-foot-10, 185 pounds

Position: Running Back 

School: Eight Mile (Ala.) Blount

Committed to: Troy 

Projected Position: Running Back

Prospect: Lamarcus Brown

Projected Position: Quarterback

Status: SI All-American candidate

Vitals: 6-foot-2, 180 pounds

School: Eight Mile, Blount

The 44 student-athletes from Alabama represent the sixth-most from a single state behind Florida (142), Texas (130), Georgia (84), California (79), and North Carolina (55). After Alabama, the top 10 is rounded out by Ohio (37), Virginia (30), Michigan (30) and Maryland (28).

For a breakdown of which of the 1,000 SIAA nominees from across the nation who have verbally committed to or are considering Alabama and Auburn as their college choice, head to: SI.com.

Video highlights, scouting analyses and a list of each player’s college verbal commitment and/or top college contenders can be found on their bio pages, broken down by state, at SIAllAmerican.com.

The full list of Alabama honorees, listed here by city/town, are:

The evaluation process will continue throughout the season “until the list of 1,000 contenders coalesces around just 25 young men who can say proudly they are the best of the best -- they are Sports Illustrated All-Americans,” said SI Director of Football Recruiting John Garcia Jr.

Sports Illustrated will narrow the candidates to 250 in October, 99 in November and then announce a first-team of 25, second-team of 25 and an honorable mention group in December. The first-team selections will be invited to the SI Sportsperson of the Year banquet.

Over the coming weeks, SI will unveil its preseason top 10 for each of 14 position groups (kicking off with quarterbacks this week). SI will unveil its initial preseason top 99 ranking, the SI99, on August 24.

SEE RELATED LINKS BELOW

Also, follow SI All-American at si.com/college/recruiting/ and on social media: @SIAllAmerican. For hashtagging: #SIAAtop1000