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Insider

Checking in with loaded Pratville (Ala.) HS

11/7/2011

Prattville (Ala.) High School is one of the nation’s most talented teams, with recruits committed to the SEC, ACC and Big East.

Leading the way is Alabama quarterback/athlete commit Justin Thomas.

“Alabama told him they would give him a shot at quarterback,” said Prattville coach Jamey Dubose. “He doesn’t have a great arm but it’s good enough. I think he’s kind of like Pat White was at the same stage.

“This kid is just a playmaker. He has great speed and is just a great athlete.”

Thomas, 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, is a four-star recruit and the nation’s No. 24 athlete. Before the season Thomas has some light work done on his knee. He didn’t miss any time or games but it took a while for Thomas to get his confidence back.

“The doctors told him he didn’t have to wear a brace but he wore one anyway,” Dubose said. “We had to talk him into taking it off. He’s fine and he’s had an outstanding season. This kid really works at his craft. He wants to get better. He wants to get better every day.”

Another Prattville senior headed to the Crimson Tide is three-star prospect Caleb Gulledge. Gulledge, 6-5 and 275 pounds, plays right tackle in high school but could very likely end up on the other side of the ball in Tuscaloosa.

“I think he will be a DL there,” Dubose said. “We will see. I know he doesn’t quite have the arm length and is not quite as long as they like. He reminds me of Bobby Greenwood and I can see him playing defensive end or moving inside.”

Prattville has two players headed to Florida State in four-star senior defensive tackle Justin Shanks and junior left tackle Austin Golsen.

“I think Justin is a three-technique guy who is a run stopper all the way,” Dubose said. “He has played better each week. I think he could be a Sunday player. At 315 to 320 pounds he’s very athletic. Right now he’s still committed to FSU.

“Golsen is a tremendous player. He’s has an NFL tackle’s body and I think he’s a Sunday player. He has long arms and great feet. Right now he’s 6-5 and 285 pounds. Next season he could be 315. This kid is a no brainer.”

Shanks, 6-3 and 310 pounds, is No. 116 in the ESPNU 150, the No. 10 defensive tackle and the No. 7 recruit from Alabama.

There are two players flying a little below the recruiting radar from Prattville in quarterback/athlete Jalen Whitlow and cornerback LaRonji Vinsan. Whitlow has committed to Arkansas State and Vinsan is headed to Wake Forest.

“Jalen has to be one of the most overlooked kids in this state,” Dubose said. “He has accounted for 25 touchdowns this season throwing, running or catching. He’s 6-3 and 205 pounds and runs 4.5. He’s committed to Arkansas State but this kid can play in the SEC. No doubt.

“LaRonji is a cover guy that’s very physical. He’s great on special teams. He has that knack of blocking kicks. He has everything you look for in a corner except for that ideal size.”

Vinsan, 5-8 and 175 pounds, is ranked No. 83 at cornerback and No. 56 overall in the state of Alabama.

Other prospects at Prattville are offensive guard Matt Gray, running back/safety De'Ante Lawrence, defensive end Terrance Jones, safety Derrick Moncrief, wide receiver Brandon Smith and defensive end/outside linebacker Jay Minor.

Gray has offers from UAB and Miami of Ohio while Vandy and Georgia Tech have recently requested film. Smith has been offered by UAB and Georgia Tech, Southern Miss and FAU have started to recruit him. Jones just returned to the team after breaking his foot while Minor has offers from Arkansas State, Memphis, South Alabama and FIU. Ole Miss could be on the verge of making him an offer as well. Moncrief has committed to Southern Miss but Arkansas, Mississippi State and Kentucky are starting to really recruit him. Lawrence has committed to Southern Miss.

Prattville plays Daphne in the second round of the playoffs on Friday.