Blogs > Burney's Bytes

Burney's Bytes will focus primarily on the local preps sports scene, but will also touch on some college and pro athletics, mostly in regards to athletes who hail and have played high school sports in Oakland County. My goal for the blog is to be conversational and anecdotal, a more relaxed and free formal take on high school athletics than you see in regular game day coverage.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Training Camp Report - Blue Crush

The 2011 Southfield Bluejays football team could wind up being one of the best teams in school history. In addition to a pair of high-profile transfers, the Bluejays return 17 starters from last year – a number of which are college recruits – and expect to seriously challenge runaway state title favorite Farmington Hills Harrison in the race for the OAA White league title.
"We have a lot of talent in the fold this year," said Southfield head coach Tim Conley, entering his seventh season at the helm for the Bluejays this fall. "We're going to be very versatile. There are a bunch of kids on this team that can do a lot of different things really well."
At the forefront of the Southfield attack is Leviticus Payne, one of the best two-way players in the state and Ron Thompson (6-4, 240), a big-play tight end who transferred into the district last winter from East Detroit and has close to a half- dozen BCS offers. Thompson caught 40 balls for 808 yards and 12 touchdowns at East Detroit last season in his first year of organized football.
Payne, a standout cornerback and wide receiver, verbally committed to the University of Cincinnati of the Big East Conference last week. As a junior in 2010, Payne topped 1500 total yards from scrimmage and scored 16 touchdowns.
Flanking Payne and Thompson in the Bluejays' stacked offensive arsenal will be quarterback Justin Danzy and running back Brandon Watkins, another pair of college prospects under Conley's mentorship.
Danzy will be starting under center for the third consecutive year at Southfield and he's gotten better each campaign. During his sophomore campaign in 2009, he helped spark the team to a district championship. Last season, he threw for over 1500 yards and 20 touchdowns. Also an ace pitcher on the school's baseball team, Danzy is getting interest at the college level from several Ivy and Patriot League teams.
Watkins was a significant contributor as a sophomore on the '09 team, however missed a great deal of last season with an injury. While he spent most of his sophomore year playing receiver, Conley and his staff will use him as their featured tailback this fall. With a number of MAC schools eyeing him for his prowess on both sides of the ball - he plays safety as well - Watkins' re-emergence as a central figure in the Bluejays gameplan could be a major 'X-Factor' in the team's recipe for success.
Junior wide receivers Trey Walton and Brandon Bean are also starting to get looks from college programs. Bean is the son of former Bluejays' great and University of Michigan wide receiver Vince Bean.
Returning on the offensive line for Southfield are Caleph Thomas, Antonio Echols, DaJohn Raheem and Mikael Leath.
Defensively, Thompson's fellow East Detroit transfer, Jeff Madison, will headline a speedy and ferocious linebacking corps, which also includes returning starters Willie Duncan and Kevin Hines. The powerful Hines will spell the slick and evasive Watkins in the Southfield backfield, providing a change of pace option for the team's coaches.
Raphael Braceyfull and Antar Otis are the squad's best pass rushers and will anchor the Bluejays along the defensive line. Senior Cedrick Hill, a fast and hard-hitting safety, is a first-year starter that stands to be a real sleeper on defense.
Track standouts Thomas Kolleh and John Heard are possible sleepers on offense, as Conley expects to give the duo some time on the end running fly routes in certain sets.
"I think we have the chance to be very dangerous," Conley said of his team. "If everything falls into place, we'll give opposing teams some headaches and give ourselves a chance to do some definite damage come playoff time."
Back in 2008, Conley took Southfield to the Division 2 final four. Battling the injury bug all last season, the Bluejays finished their schedule with a final record of 5-4, just missing out on the playoffs.
Southfield opens the 2011 season against Detroit Northwestern.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home