By Ryan Caiafa
Just south of Atlanta, Luella High School has become a breeding ground for college recruits. The senior class of 2013 has five highly-touted players that have received interest from several FBS and FCS programs across the country. Coach Nick Vasilchek has been preparing his team for the attention that these schools bring to Luella by making sure his players maintain a clear team-first perception.
Defensive end Tevin Jones has been receiving a great deal of interest from several Division I programs, including heavy interest from Georgia Tech, Clemson and Duke. He is also being looked at by Missouri, Alabama, Middle Tennessee State, Georgia State and Tulane. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound senior is coming off a 40 tackle season, including 7.5 tackles for loss.
"Tevin has really gotten a lot stronger and gained a lot of size," Coach Vasilchek said. "His big thing going into his senior year is to see if he can really step up as the leader of the team, play with high energy, and to basically write his ticket to play wherever he wants to go."
Cornerback Aaron Davis has already received scholarship offers from Furman and Clemson, while also garnering great interest from Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern, Florida International, Indiana, Missouri, Middle Tennessee, Georgia State and Tulane. After sitting out his junior season due to an ACL injury, Davis will be looking to prove his value as a senior and gather more potential major conference offers. During the 2010 season, he tallied three interceptions along with 39 tackles as a sophomore. Davis spent the spring running track and competing at the Nike Sparq Combine to help get himself back into shape for the upcoming season. "Performing well at the Sparq Combine in Atlanta really got people back on board with him," Vasilchek said.
Dual-threat running back and linebacker Gabrien Smith is coming off a season where he carried the ball 92 times for 429 yards and seven touchdowns. He will primarily be featured on the defensive side as junior Trae Bonner will be the main ball carrier for Luella. Smith is being looked at by Alabama A&M, Ball State, Bucknell, Elon and several schools in the Ivy league.
Not to be outdone by the senior class are Luella's junior players. The previously-mentioned Bonner, who will become the featured running back for the team, has already been pursued by top programs such as Clemson and Georgia Tech. According to Coach Vasilchek, Bonner is "one of those rare athletes that has the potential to be really, really good." Being the primary ball carrier for Luella will give him the opportunity to shine and make the most out of his potential to find himself at a top program in the future.
Another junior generating a buzz at Luella is defensive back Steve Osondu, who tallied 74 tackles for the team last season to go along with two fumble recoveries. Osondu is getting attention from Vanderbilt, Tulane and Georgia Tech, and is looking to once again find himself among the team's leading tacklers. "His mindset is to go out there as a junior and prove last season wasn't a fluke," Coach Vasilchek said. "He thinks with our leading tackler gone, he could be our leading tackler and break the school record for tackles."
With several impact players coming out of Luella, the school is becoming a haven for future stars at the next level. Coach Vasilchek hopes to continue his success in putting out top prospects and preparing them for success wherever they are fortunate enough to play.