- Dave Hooker, Reporter, RecruitingNation
First it was Christian LeMay. Then, it was Riley Ferguson. Next is Anthony Ratliff.
Just a sophomore, Ratliff has already shown signs of being the next star quarterback at Matthews (N.C.) Butler.
"A lot of people are keeping track of Anthony," Butler head coach Brian Hales said. "A lot of big-time schools. He's going to be the next guy here. We go from LeMay to Ferguson to Ratliff. He certainly falls right in line with those guys."
That's hefty praise. LeMay is a redshirt freshman quarterback at Georgia. Ferguson is committed to sign with Tennessee in February. It's Ratliff's work ethic that has led to comparisons.
"He's a gym rat," Hales said of Ratliff. "He just loves to play. He played wide receiver for us. We weren't planning on playing him at quarterback this year but when Riley got hurt, we had to.
"He's a lot like Riley and Christian and the things that they do best. He throws it like Riley. He's got a very strong arm, but he's young and doesn't really trust his reads yet.
"The kid watched film all winter. He's one of the hardest working kids in the weight room. He really just enjoys playing football."
Ratliff isn't the only Butler underclassman beginning to draw recent interest. Junior linebacker Isaac Stewart and junior defensive end Brandon Long, who also plays tight end, have done so as well. Hales said North Carolina, where the trio have visited together, and a new SEC school have shown early interest.
"Those guys are getting a lot of mail right now," Hales said. "Missouri seems to be sending a lot of stuff our way."
Possibly the most talented prospect on Butler's roster is even younger. Freshman running back Benjamin LeMay is expected to be a top-flight college prospect. He is the younger brother of Christian LeMay and Uriah LeMay, a senior receiver at Butler who is committed to Georgia.