Few know high school football better than Evan Butler and Decarlo Woodmore. Former players at Mt. Juliet, Evan and Decarlo founded D1Highlights, a news service focused on the local gridiron scene. We asked D1Highlights to share some thoughts on the sport and to give us a heads up on what to expect this football season.
Tell us about D1Highlights.
We started it seven years ago to fill a gap in football coverage for the state, particularly here in middle Tennessee. But we are not a recruiting service. We are a news source strictly dedicated to high school football and do not take payments in return for coverage. It is well-known that if players are doing the right things on and off the field, we will cover them and through a variety of platforms—articles, pictures, videos. To date, we have the D1Highlights Podcast, D1Highlights Magazine, D1Highlights website and blog and, of course, a heavy presence on social media platforms.
What are your thoughts on good coaching?
The term “best-coached team” is relative to different criteria. For the public, it’s generally wins and losses. For us, it’s commanding the players’ respect and social responsibility. One of the best in the business, we feel, is Brian Coleman of the Summit Spartans.
Who is the best player you have seen come out of Williamson County?
The best player we have ever seen, by far, is Tyrell Dodson, formerly of the Centennial Cougars and currently with the Texas A&M Aggies. In high school, Tyrell possessed the size and speed of a D1 collegiate linebacker. Tyrell reached out to us his junior year and asked us to watch him play. He ran down backs and receivers and delivered some of the hardest hits on the high school gridiron we have ever seen!
Given the health risks, do you feel football is losing its popularity?
We do not believe that football is losing popularity. However, we do feel that kids and parents are starting to feel that the health risks are not worth it. The odds are that most football players will not make it to the NFL. Young people realize this and set their eyes on careers that are less threatening to their bodies. We feel the TSSAA which governs the rules has been very proactive about making changes to help keep the kids safe.
Which local programs do you expect to do well this season?
There are several high school football programs in Williamson County that are expected to make huge strides in the 2018 season. In D2 3A, the Brentwood Academy Eagles are the talk of high school football nationwide, winning their third TSSAA State Championship in a row. There are a few teams on the rise in this division that will give the Eagles a run for their money such as the Ensworth Tigers under new head coach Jeremy Garrett. But until something proves otherwise, we expect to see the Eagles with four state championships in four years.
In D2 2A, the Battle Ground Academy Wildcats are our favorite pick to make it to the state title game if they can make it past the CPA Lions whom we consider BGA’s stiffest competition. BGA’s senior leadership and pure talent are why we are so high on them.
In D1 Region 6 6A, look for a three-way battle with Brentwood and Ravenwood leading the way and Independence returning to championship caliber with senior T.J. Sheffield and transfer quarterback Ethan Cash.
To keep up with the local football scene, visit D1Highlights.net.