October 13, 2011

Video: Scouting Hillside at Jordan

VIDEO: Scouting Hillside at Jordan

Defending 4-A state champion Durham (N.C.) Hillside traveled to cross-town rival Jordan for a Friday night contest on Oct. 7. It was a packed house with Jordan holding their Homecoming festivities, but the Falcons were overwhelmed 36-7 behind the strength of Hillside back Khris Francis, who ran for 176 yards, and a stout defense, led by three-star prospect Jamal Marcus.

The Game

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The Hillside Hornets came out firing on all cylinders out of the gate and notched their first touchdown just 44 seconds into the game on Francis' nine-yard touchdown run. The visitors then tacked on a two-point conversion (they wouldn't try an extra point kick all night) and scored again just minutes later on another Francis run, although the two-point conversion was unsuccessful.

Francis, a junior speedster, nearly tacked on his third touchdown in the first quarter before UNC linebacker commit Phillip Williamson jarred the ball loose inside the red zone.

The Falcons took advantage immediately on a long, 70-yard touchdown drive, which was powered by several completions to senior Jeff Clark. Clark had four catches on the drive and capped it with a impressive 25-yard touchdown reception, despite defensive pass interference.

Clark finished with seven catches for 70 yards, but Jordan was shut out from that point and Hillside poured it on for a 36-7 victory, thanks to third scoring run from Francis and an interception return for a touchdown.

Scouting Jordan

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The Wolfpacker saw Williamson last year and he was one of our favorite junior defenders. He was playing safety then, as well as receiver, but is lined up at linebacker as a senior.

Williamson didn't disappoint and finished with an unofficial count of 12 tackles, in addition to a forced fumble and pass breakup. He clearly was not at 100 percent and was hobbled by the end of the game, but was almost always seen coming out from the bottom of the pile.

Williamson is a great athlete for his size and definitely has a nose for the ball. The three-stars' instincts are good and there aren't many runners that can get away from him once he gets his hands on them.

Two other players stuck out; one that we were tipped off about before the game and that was Clark, a senior receiver. Clark may not be the biggest guy out there, but he's elusive with the ball in his hands and showed good concentration on hauling in passes. He's put up impressive numbers so far this year and whenever Jordan made a play on offense, Clark was almost always involved. In addition to his 25-yard touchdown grab, he made a nice jumping catch that also made the bonus clips - he is No. 15 in blue.

The other kid who stuck out (and unofficially visited NC State for the Central Michigan game) was junior running back John Brown, III. Brown made a few nice plays that made our bonus clips and was sporting No. 20 for the Falcons.

Brown had a kick return after Hillside's opening touchdown that went for about 37 yards and he also returned a punt 60 yards, but it was called back for a penalty. He was also able to rattle off some solid runs against a suffocating Hornets' defense. He could be one to watch going forward.

Scouting Hillside

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The defending state champions didn't disappoint with the performance on the field. Marcus is a well-regarded prospect and definitely looks the part. Our unofficial tally had him with five tackles, including two for loss, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery, which he returned about 30 yards.

Marcus is clearly a phenomenal athlete with an excellent burst. He's very quick off the line of scrimmage and is powerful, but tries to arm tackle too much, which allows players to get past him. However, there is no questioning the immense potential of the 6-2, 219-pounder.

Khris Francis has also emerged as a star for the Hornets and eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark after just six games. When first looking at the junior, one might think he's a scat back-type, but he can run with surprising power and is very tough. There were not many instances where just one Jordan tackler was enough to bring him down and he was tackled behind the line of scrimmage only once. He was also seen moving the pile several times after first contact.

Francis is very fast and possesses superior vision. He has a knack for finding the hole and getting what he can. He doesn't backtrack or go sideways too much but finds the openings in defenses very easily. He had one fumble - which clearly bothered him by what he had to say after game - and it came inside the red zone, but it wasn't too costly, and appeared to be the only time that he carried the ball away from his body.

The last player we tried to zero in on was offensive lineman Casey Perry. We wouldn't be surprised if the three-star prospect is bigger than the 295 pounds he is listed at in the Rivals.com database but 6-3 looked to be close to accurate.

Perry is probably a college guard, but plays left tackle on the prep level. He is a player that was pretty good in combines this past summer and he was solid again on Friday. He is more than athletic enough and led the way through the hole as a pulling tackle a few times. He never looked like he was loafing on the field and was always seeking contact, playing to the whistle. He doesn't give much ground if any when he dropped into his pass sets and drove his opponent off the screen on video a few times when we went back and watched the game.

Tidbits
* The game was packed for Jordan's homecoming. The stands on the home side of the field were filled up to the maximum and Hillside also had a nice turnout on the visitors' side. Clark was the runner-up for Homecoming King and Brown was named Mr. Junior on the homecoming court.

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