Offense

QB: Drake Baker, Holtville, Sr.

Baker may not be the official starting quarterback for the Bulldogs yet but he has an elite-level arm which comes with great accuracy to help him stand out from the rest.

RB: Terrance Thomas, Wetumpka, Sr.

With no De’Angelo Jones, Thomas has bulked up to fill the power role without losing any of his speed which made him such a threat last season. 

RB: Kolby Potts, Holtville, Sr.

It’s going to be more difficult than it was on the AISA level but Potts has prepared for his return to Holtville and should be the top back for the Bulldogs.

WR: Conner Bradford, Stanhope Elmore, Sr.

The Mustangs have a new quarterback so Bradford will need to step up to be a reliable source in the passing game to keep a balanced offense. 

WR: Kaleb Varner, Edgewood, Sr.

The combination of size and speed Varner brings on the outside is tough to match in AISA so he should see himself with over 1,000 yards of total offense.

WR: Jaleel Johnson, Wetumpka, Sr.

Indians coach Tim Perry said Johnson has gone beyond expectations during the offseason so don’t be surprised when the receiver sets himself apart in a crowded offense.

OL: Lane Batyski, Holtville, Jr.

Holtville has plenty of talent at the skill positions but the offensive line needs to provide protection and Batyski will be the one the offense relies on most often. 

OL: Cade Bazzell, Edgewood, Sr.

Bazzell’s production can be seen on both sides but his most important job may be covering the blindside in an offense turning more toward the passing attack.

OL: Bryson Caudle, Elmore County, Sr.

There is not a lot returning for the Panthers but one thing coach Jordan Cantrell continues to praise is the work of Caudle and the offensive line.

OL: Ben Barker, Wetumpka, Sr.

Wetumpka lost three starters from last year’s line but the rushing attack does not plan on taking a step back and Barker will be playing a key role to make sure that doesn’t happen. 

OL: Rufus Jones, Stanhope Elmore, Sr.

Jones, who comes in from Autauga, will start at right guard and should make an immediate impact at the line with his size and strength.

ATH: Tyquan Rawls, Wetumpka, Sr.

It may be hard to believe but after a full year of being the team’s No. 1 QB, Rawls looks even better and will lead the county’s top offense again.

Defense

DL: TJ Jackson, Stanhope Elmore, Sr.

Jackson, a Troy commit, has his sights set on the all-state team and the only thing that might be stopping him is having to share tackles with the rest of the defense.

DL: William Whitlow Jr., Stanhope Elmore, Jr.

Someone has to be the beneficiary of the double teams going Jackson’s way and Whitlow is fully capable of dominating an opposing offensive line on his own.

DL: Hunter Martin, Holtville, Sr.

“Unblockable” is the best word coaches find to describe Martin and he lives up to that standard every week.  

DL: Clay Williams, Edgewood, Sr.

Playing both sides of the ball never seemed to slow Williams down last season as he lived in the backfield for most of the season.

LB: Tavarious Griffin, Tallassee, Sr.

Tallassee lost three all-state athletes at linebacker but Griffin leads a new group and Tiger coach Mike Battles said it is not missing a beat. 

LB: Kamarre Murphy, Wetumpka, Jr.

Murphy moves down from safety but he will still be asked to play back in coverage while his quick play recognition will be of better use closer to the line of scrimmage.

LB: Mikey Forney, Holtville, So.

There are some questions to the back half of Holtville’s defense so the Bulldogs will rely a lot on their young leader in the middle to keep everyone in check this season.

DB: Hezekiah Nowden, Wetumpka, Sr.

The Indians lost a lot from a strong defense but Nowden moves into a team captain role and will make an impact through his play and his leadership.

DB: Jeremy Thompson, Stanhope Elmore, Sr.

Thompson leads an experienced secondary for the Mustangs and he will be looked to early and often with some tough quarterbacks on the schedule.

DB: Malik Davis, Wetumpka, Sr.

Opponents will see Davis make plenty of impact on both sides but he will line up at cornerback for high-pressure situations which he thrived in last season. 

DB: Napoleon Foster-Reed, Tallassee, Sr.

The Tigers want to do a better job of limiting explosive plays from opposing offenses and Foster-Reed is out to prove he’s the man for the job.

Special teams

K: Zach Grindle, Wetumpka, Sr.

When you can lay out big hits and kick game-winning field goals in the same game, you too will be a fan favorite like Grindle. 

P: Payton Coburn, Holtville, Sr.

Coburn is a top receiver for the Bulldogs but his biggest impact last season was becoming an all-state punter. 

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.