Wednesday, September 2, 2009

North Mecklenburg's 'prospects' look good

Now that North Mecklenburg has whacked Olympic and Ardrey Kell, it’s time to take the Vikings seriously. And that includes some of their prospects. Start with RB Xavier Joplin, a 5-foot-8, 195-pound senior whom one North Meck assistant likened to a “bowling ball” during Friday’s 51-21 victory at Ardrey Kell.

In that game, he carried 15 times for 238 yards, and probably could have gained 350 if Vikings coach Mike Bradley hadn’t called off his biggest dog.

This is a bowling ball with speed, people, and the kind of power back who could play at a higher level than the lower-level Division I schools he has been getting letters from.

Height, though, is a problem that the major programs simply won’t overlook. So expect Joplin to wind up in the Southern Conference or maybe the Big South, where he’ll pile up any number of 200-yard rushing games.

*While we looked over North Meck, we got an eyeful of the Vikings’ quarterback, 6-foot-190-pound senior Brad Clay.

Clay did a great job at Ardrey Kell, completing 13 of 21 passes for 237 yards and two TDs, while running for 28 yards and two more scores. He is smart and fairly mobile with a strong arm, and if he, like Joplin, had 2 more inches in height, the recruiters would be swarming over him.

Instead, after the game, both players talked about getting a number of letters from schools but no offers.

No one picked North Meck to do much this year; the Vikings were 6-6 last season and are breaking in a new coach in Bradley. With Joplin and Clay on board, though, they will be pushovers for no one.

--Stan Olson

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