ContRoLLeD chaos of comPeti- tion. That’s the best — check that — the only way to describe a 7-on- 7 camp. These events are to football
what AAU tournaments are for high school basketball players.
Rapid-paced, high-intensity, round-robin style
affairs where touchdowns happen as frequently
as interceptions. It’s fun for everybody. Well,
unless you’re a defensive lineman like Clinch
County junior Chauncey Manac.
“I don’t get to do anything,” Manac.
The rules are simple, but unfortunately cut
out Manac and his brothers in the trenches.
Teams consist only of quarterbacks and skill
players, wearing shorts and helmets with no
“It’s really intense,” says Greater Atlanta
Christian senior Micah Abernathy. “You get the
chance to play a lot of games and the whole
thing is about competing.”
The camps usually involve dozens of schools
at a time. And since the games are shorter and
only seven players from each team are on the
field at a time, smaller schools can keep up with
While tackling is off the table, the benefits
“I’d say the biggest thing is the quarterbacks can
work on timing with the receivers,” says Savannah
Every Day is Competition
Country Day head coach Dennis Coyle. “You
start to see better routes and passes on time.”
While signal callers work to read defenses
and develop good chemistry with their targets,
defenders get in good work, too. Those guys
are reading defenses and learning how to cover
with a dramatically decreased chance for injury.
“It’s still all about winning,” Abernathy said.
– fletcher Page
“IT’S REALLY INTENSE. YOU GET THE CHANCE TO PLAY A LOT OF GAMES AND THE WHOLE THING IS ABOUT COMPETING.”
— GAC ATH MICAH ABERNATHY
Langston Hughes took home the trophy
after June’s 7-on- 7 tournament hosted by
the University of Georgia.
It was miD-maY anD Jonathan LeD- better had a secret. The Tucker star defen- sive lineman wasn’t afraid to share it either, as if telling it to even a stranger would
somehow lesson the burden of keeping it.
“Oh, I’m not committed anymore,” he said of
his apparently-now-former pledge to Alabama.
“Haven’t been for a month.”
What?! Ledbetter verbally committed to Ala-
bama in January. But it wasn’t like his recruit-
ment ended then. From there, Ledbetter visited
Georgia and Auburn multiple times. He hosted
coaches from the Bulldogs, Tigers and Crimson
Tide on a half dozen occasions, too.
When it became clear he wasn’t sure Alabama
was still the best place for him, he simply called
the coaches in Tuscaloosa and told them he
wanted to open back up. It wasn’t as if he wasn’t
already open, he just wanted to be upfront.
“They weren’t mad at me,” Ledbetter said. “They
said they were still going to come after me hard.”
So why not reveal the news to the starved,
niks that stalk the Internet for any breath of
“I don’t want to deal with the media,” he said.
“They call and text me all the time. Now, if I
don’t know the number, I don’t answer.”
So Ledbetter sat on the info, figuring a busy
holiday weekend, when hopefully distractions
were already in place, would be the best time
to break the news.
“I’ll just tweet it,” he said. “I’ll get some bad
responses from Alabama fans and good tweets
Being Recruited Heavily
Fine Line Between Fun and Hassle
Liberty County Meanwhile, while Ledbetter was sorting
through his decision, Liberty County rising
sophomore safety Richard LeCounte was
counting his offers. His very first came from the
Florida Gators in the fall.
“I know I have to keep working hard to get
more,” LeCounte said at the time.
Apparently hard work pays off. 20 more offers followed. What exactly did LeCounte do to
earn all the early interest?
“I don’t know - must be something,” he said.
Don’t let the young fella fool you, he’s really
good at football. That’s always the most important thing — the tape doesn’t lie, as any football
insider will tell you.
And where good football players show up, attention is soon to follow. For better or worse, it’s
apparent the process has sped up in recent years.
“It’s pretty cool, but I still have to work hard,”
LeCounte said, all smiles about his situation.
Fun today. A hassle tomorrow. It’s no wonder
guys like Ledbetter are taking cover by the time
their senior season rolls around.
– fletcher Page
“I DON’T WANT TO DEAL WITH THE MEDIA. THEY CALL AND TEXT ME ALL THE TIME. NOW, IF I DON’T KNOW THE
NUMBER, I DON’T ANSWER.” — TUCKER DL JONATHAN LEDBETTER
Liberty County’s Richard LeCounte earned nearly
two dozen offers before his freshman year ended,
a nod to a sped-up recruiting process.