For sports fans, the best part of an offseason is the renewed hope and optimism that accompanies the upcoming season. Regardless of what your team did the previous year, there's always the chance that the next year will be different.
Part of my job is to get football fans informed about the upcoming season, and with my Eye on the Gridiron, I feature players to watch in Carroll and Montgomery Counties.
Next week will mark the fourth season I’ve come up with my top 10 prospects for the upcoming season, but I think unlike any other season, 2014 will be different.
There’s a new look at many of the schools with head coaching changes, graduating seniors and year two of the new athletic alignment.
The area’s biggest school, 3A’s Winona High, will start the new era under native Joey Tompkins, and players like Josh Carpenter and Maurice Rivers are off to college. Down the road at MAIS AA school Winona Christian, Ken Chandler takes over as head football coach and will look to start off on the right foot. For Chandler players like Brooks and Bailey Lott, Will Amason and Lane Boyette, leaders on last year’s squad are gone.
The other MAIS area team, Carroll Academy, will look to defend their district title from a season ago, but without assistant head coach Neil Turner and Jake Streater, two major role players from 2013. Hunter McCorkle was also a top 10 prospect last off season. Jimmy McGregor is entering his second season as head coach for the Rebels.
The 2A J.Z. George Jaguars are coming off a 2013 playoff season and will look towards first year head coach Ben Burton. Burton was an assistant for Tompkins last season for the Jags, who went 4-7 last season, but 3-2 in 3-2A play.
For 1A Montgomery County, players show promise for Josh Glasner, who is entering his second season leading the Hornets. The Hornets lost both Justin and Jason Henson along with Alonzo Booker, and Glasner feels confident about the 2014 campaign.
So who will be the first player to make Eye on the Gridiron? Well, I guess we will all have to wait until next week to see.