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Local football players at the collegiate level

NAME -- POSITION -- GRADUATED -- COLLEGE TEAM

Justin Martin P 2003 Alabama

Thomson highlights: In his senior year, Martin's punt average was 37.4 yards with his longest punt being 56 yards. He made a 47-yard field goal and went 32-40 on extra points.

College notes: After transferring from the Air Force Academy, Martin was one of two who made the team out for more than 40 who tried out. He is currently on the scout team.

Deon Palmer CB 2002 Louisville

Thomson highlights: At quarterback, Palmer led the 2002 Bulldogs to the AAAA state championship with 1533 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns on 161 carries. Added 29-61 passing for 582 yards and six touchdowns.

College notes: Palmer, a red-shirt sophomore, has played in three games and has a 42-yard fumble return for a touchdown along with three tackles.

Justin Callaway LB 2003 Georgia Southern

Thomson highlights: A Briarwood transfer for his senior year, was named to the 2003 Class AAAA First-Team All-State squads by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Associated Press/Georgia Sports Writers Association. Recorded 145 tackles that season.

College notes: A red-shirt freshman, Callaway is getting some playing time off the bench for the Eagles' defense.

Jeffery Kent LB 2004 Morehead State

Briarwood highlights: After a 6-5 season his senior year, Kent was awarded the golden helmet denoting the most valuable player on the team.

College notes: Red-shirted by the Eagles.

Chris Thigpen LS 2001 West Georgia

Thomson highlights: Played center for the 11-2 Bulldogs his senior year and helped them on the way to the third round of the state playoffs. Started 38 straight games for Thomson in his three years on varsity.

College notes: Is now the leading long snapper for the Braves and has carried a 4.0 GPA throughout his college career.

Danny Verdun Wheeler LB 2002 UGA

Thomson highlights: Multiple AAAA Defensive Player of the Year awards for his senior year as he led the Bulldogs' defense in the state championship season. Recorded 239 career primary hits and 201 career assists, leading the team in tackles during sophomore, junior and senior seasons, all of which he started. Returned a fumble for a touchdown against Shaw during the 2002 semi-finals at the Georgia Dome.

College notes: Though battling an ankle injury all season, Verdun Wheeler is fifth on the team in tackles, starting only three of six games at weak side linebacker. Led the team against Louisiana-Monroe with nine solo tackles and two assists. Recorded 51 tackles and a safety last season as a sophomore.

Andre Culpepper DT 2002 West Georgia

Thomson highlights: Earned all-area recognition after recording 90 tackles, six sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries during the 2002 campaign.

College notes: Starting at defensive tackle during his junior season for the Braves he has 15 total tackles, including 2.0 sacks for a loss of 12 yards.

Matt Smith DL 2004 Shorter College

Thomson highlights: Racked up 49 tackles during his senior campaign. Defensive coordinator John Barnett said of Matt, "While seldom vocal, he led by example and will be missed."

College notes: Receiving playing time on defense and special teams on the inaugural football team at Shorter that won two of its first six games.

Casper Brinkley LB 2003 Georgia Military

Thomson highlights: During the 2002 championship season - his junior year - he racked up 42 tackles, including 2.0 sacks, one interception and a blocked punt in the regular season.

College notes: Recorded 16 tackles in GMC's first five games. Getting looks from South Carolina, Clemson, Louisville, Arizona State and Kansas State.

Jasper Brinkley LB 2002 Georgia Military

Thomson highlights: Third on the team in tackles his senior season with 56, including four sacks. Forced one fumble and had four recoveries for 35 yards, one for a touchdown in the regular season.

College notes: With 27 tackles during GMC's first five games including two sacks against Ranger College, many Division I schools are trying to snatch him up, especially UGA.

Ricky Hill TB 2003 Georgia Military

Thomson highlights: Averaged more than 11 yards per carry for Thomson (56-622 with 10 touchdowns) during his senior season in which he played both sides of the ball. Also caught 6 passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns.

College notes: Rushed for 242 yards and one touchdown on 41 carries in GMC's first four games. Also caught five passes for 111 yards and one touchdown. One reception was for 69 yards against Navarro College.

Willie Williams DE 2002 Kansas State/GMC

Thomson highlights: Played on the offensive line during his senior year at Thomson. Helped make room for three 1000+ yard rushers on the way to the 2002 AAAA state championship.

College notes: Transferred to K. State after a stint at Hutchinson Community College. Designated as a "play through" player at GMC during his sophomore season and will return to K. State in January. Has four tackles, one a sack, in his three games so far this season.

Antwone Johnson FB 2003 Georgia Military

Thomson highlights: Ran for 815 yards and eight touchdowns his senior season. Joined Thomson's 1000-yard club his junior season with 1064 yards.

College notes: Has seen limited time on the field as a freshman. Got his first carry, a 3-yard gain during GMC's 49-35 win over Valdosta State's JV team.

Montrell Neal OL 2002 Georgia Military

Thomson highlights: Part of one of the most effective offensive lines in Thomson history, making room for three 1,000+ yard rushers.

College notes: At 6'2" 333 lbs., the starting sophomore adds serious size and strength to the GMC front line.

Information and statistics provided by Bobby Hodges, Thomsonfootball.com, Bill Beckum, John Barnett and each school's website. If you know a college player that should be added to the list, please call 597-0335 or e-mail news@mcduffiemirror.com.



Web posted on Thursday, October 20, 2005











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