The week in high school sports: NIL, huge coaching changes and All-Stars on the move
A weekly look at high school sports in the state of Alabama over the past week and a look at what’s on. This is an opinion piece (sort of).
My weekly look at the world of high school sports in Alabama begins outside the state.
The Louisiana High School Athletic Association announced this week that it will allow high school student-athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness.
I wondered when the trend that changed the face of college sports would reach the high school level. Here we are.
It’s probably no coincidence that the biggest name in high school football these days, quarterback Arch Manning, plays high school football in Louisiana.
However, it should be noted that high school athletic associations in Alaska, California, Utah, Kansas, Nebraska, New York, and New Jersey already allow student-athletes to benefit from NIL.
Let’s hope Alabama isn’t next on the list.
Alabama law currently does not allow high school athletes to enjoy and remain eligible.
It’s a good thing in my mind.
Hall of Fame football coach Steve Mask, now at Pell City, put it that way when I asked him about the trend earlier in the week.
“We already have an amateur rule in place. I hope we will continue like this. With all the other negative things now with child transfers and everything, I would hate for that to happen. It’s very bad for high schools. These kids have to worry about going to prom and school day and things rather than putting themselves out there to earn money.
OK. We continue to rush student-athletes from high school into adulthood. I’m not sure that’s a good thing. Shouldn’t we let them enjoy ALL their time in high school if possible?
Still, Louisiana’s NIL ruling this week has me wondering what’s coming and when in our state?
Titles of the week:
– AHSAA has announced that the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic will return to Mobile, where it originated, on even-numbered years through at least 2026. The game left Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium in 2010 and moved to Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl. Since 2015, the game has alternated between Montgomery and a site in Mississippi each year. This year’s game will take place on December 10 at Hancock Whitney Stadium on the University of South Alabama campus. The North-South All-Star Game will take place at the same stadium on December 16. You can’t find a better location for either. Hancock Whitney is one of our state’s uncrowned jewels.
–The Alabama Sports Writers Association announced its Mr. and Miss Basketball for 2022 at the annual banquet in Montgomery last week. Arkansas signee Barry Dunning Jr. of McGill-Toolen was named Mr. Basketball, while Samiya Steele of Hazel Green was named Miss Basketball. She’s headed for the state of Alabama. This is the first time a player from either school has won this award. Both will be outstanding representatives of our state. It was also nice to be able to get together and have a banquet with nearly 300 people in attendance after the pandemic forced us to cancel the last two.
RELATED: Meet the top 5 girls and boys players in the state
Coaches in motion
Several renowned high school football coaches will move to new premises in 2022.
– Orange Beach last week hired former Prattville, Florence and Central-Phenix City coach Jamey DuBose to shadow Chase Smith. DuBose spent the last two seasons at national power out of Lowndes, Georgia, before returning to coach Alabama. It takes over a relatively new school that will move two grades from 2A to 4A in the fall. DuBose won two state championships in Prattville and another in Central-Phenix City.
– Speaking of state championships, Patrick Browning led Pike Road to the 5A title a year ago. He won’t be there for a rehearsal. He was hired earlier this week as the new head coach at Greenville High after Josh McLendon.
— Ryan Lolley leaves Gordo after 20 years on the coaching staff – the last 9 as head coach – to become head coach at Northridge High. He won 99 games as Green Wave coach and led the team to second place in the state two years ago.
–Former Etowah head coach Ryan Locke was named the head coach of Hale County High on Thursday.
Question of the week: Who made the most impactful coaching hire this offseason? Was it one of the four guys mentioned above? It happened at Hoover? Hills of Vestavia? Florence? Strong Spanish? City of Pell? If you have an idea, email me ([email protected]) with your reasoning and I could use it next week.
some sad stories
— Student-athlete Geraldine Harley Lasseter, 14, was killed last weekend in a hit-and-run accident in DeKalb County. The ninth-grade student was riding his 2003 Honda CH-80 scooter on Alabama 75 about 3 miles south of Geraldine when he was struck by an unknown vehicle around 10:20 p.m. Saturday, according to ALEA reports. Geraldine High School principal Jason Mayfield said Lasseter was not far from home when the hit-and-run happened. Tyler Blaise Wilbanks, 22, of Sylvania, was arrested at 5:20 a.m. Wednesday in Pell City and charged with manslaughter and felony leaving the scene of an accident
–Loachapoka coach and former Auburn quarterback Jeff Klein is hospitalized in Columbus, Ga., this week. Back pain led to an MRI which revealed spots on his lower back. According to a gofundme account, Klein’s condition quickly became more drastic. To donate to gofundme, click on this link. Klein is a baseball and football coach at Loachapoka.
There are always recruitment titles. Here are a few this week:
– 2023 Briarwood quarterback Christopher Vizzina earned a trip to the Elite 11 Finals after presenting his 4-star arm at Carrollton (Ga.) High. Vizzina is the top-ranked Alabama quarterback in the Class of 2023.
— The 247 recruiting rankings for the Class of 2024 were updated this week. The best prospect in Alabama, according to the site? Clay-Chalkville defensive back Jaylen Mbakwe. The rest of the top 5 were Chilton County LB Demarcus Riddick, Mars Hill DB Damian Thompson, Parker DL Jeremiah Beaman and Anniston DB Jayden Lewis. The top 247 prospect for 2023 is Carver DL James Smith with Thompson’s Tony Mitchell second and Central-Phenix City’s AJ Harris third.
– McGill-Toolen baseball coach Tim Becker picks up number 500.
–Robertsdale coach Peter Bezeredi gets number 300 back.
The Bryant-Jordan Scholarship Banquet will take place Monday evening in Birmingham. Regional winners have already been chosen in the achievement and academic categories. Overall winners and more scholarships will be awarded Monday evening. As a member of the committee, I have read the achievements of the regional winners. To say they are impressive would be an understatement. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners. Also look for a great story on one of the winners by Mike Perrin on Sunday at AL.com.
80s quote of the week
“Even the smallest flea can drive a big dog crazy.” – Jed Eckert, Red Dawn