Pro Football Focus’ College Football Preview has released its 2021 Preseason All-Sun Belt Team, headlined by cornerback Derrick Canteen earning first-team honors. In total, 12 different GS players were named to the squad.
“Georgia Southern returns a true ballhawk to its zone-heavy defense in Derrick Canteen,” PFF wrote of the 5-foot-11, 190-pound redshirt sophomore from Evans. “He came to the Eagles as a two-star recruit in 2019 and didn’t play a down at corner until he was thrust into a starting job in 2020. Last year, he finished with six interceptions and seven pass breakups en route to an 80.8 coverage grade, fourth in the Group of Five.”
Four running backs were honored with senior Amare Jones earning second-team accolades with redshirt senior Logan Wright being named to the third team and both fifth-year player J.D. King and redshirt sophomore Gerald Green earning honorable mention nods. Jones, a transfer from Tulane, also was named first team as a punt returner and third team as a kickoff return man.
Sixth-year player Aaron Dowdell and redshirt senior Brian Miller (Memorial Day School graduate) were named to the second team as offensive linemen, along with senior nose tackle C.J. Wright on second team.
Junior Khaleb Hood made third team as a punt returner. Sixth-year cornerback Darrell Baker Jr. and redshirt sophomore safety Anthony Wilson represented the defensive secondary on the third team, and redshirt senior nose tackle Gavin Adcock earned a spot on the honorable mention squad.
The 2021 PFF Preseason All-SBC Team was selected with the help of PFF grades and advanced statistics.
for Benedictine’s Holton
Honors continue to roll in for recent Benedictine graduate Carter Holton.
A star left-handed pitcher and slugger regarded as one of the top high school players in the MLB amateur draft July 11-13, Holton was selected to the 2021 MaxPreps All-America first team this week as a first baseman.
Holton was all-state and a three-time All-Greater Savannah selection by the Savannah Morning News, which did not have honors in 2020 due to the pandemic-shortened spring season.
Holton, who has signed to play for the powerhouse Vanderbilt program, posted a 9-2 record with 0.36 ERA and 137 strikeouts in 59 innings pitched. He also threw two perfect games and a no-hitter. At the plate, the 5-foot-11, 195-pounder batted .429 with 10 doubles, 12 home runs, 41 RBI and 42 runs scored.
Memorial Day hires
girls basketball coach
Memorial Day School has hired Emon Grayson as the girls basketball coach, joining recently hired boys basketball coach Dale Mock in the athletics program.
Grayson has more than 16 years of experience coaching basketball in the Coastal Empire. She was an assistant coach at Woodville-Tompkins since 2012, and was the program director and head coach for the Savannah Tigers AAU program for 16 years.
Athletic director Tyler Helmly said a press release that he was thrilled to have a coach with Grayson’s experience on the staff.
“She knows basketball and how to teach the skills needed for success,” Helmly said. “She comes from a background in our community where she developed great relationships with her players and their parents.
“With the addition of coach Grayson and coach Mock to our program, the future of our Matador basketball program looks to be very, very bright,” Helmly added.
brings in Ryan Smith
The Habersham School has announced Ryan Smith is replacing head baseball coach Tim Rowland, who is stepping away after a successful six-year tenure which he called “the time of his life.”
Rowland, along with assistant Chaston Hart, a fellow Savannah native, guided the Patriots to a region championship, a state title and produced four all-state players.
“I have truly enjoyed coaching the boys and watching them grow as baseball players and men,” Rowland said in a press release Thursday. “I will be handing the team over to Ryan Smith and believe that with his leadership Habersham baseball will be in great hands.”
After playing junior college ball in his native Oregon for first two years, Smith transferred to Armstrong State University in Savannah to finish out his career with the Pirates from 2009-10. Having some opportunities to play ball at the next level, Smith elected to put his physical education degree to work and started coaching baseball at Windsor Forest High School, and later at Richmond Hill High.
“I am very excited for this new opportunity to coach Habersham baseball alongside (assistant) coach Bill Fowler, ” Smith stated in the release. “I’m looking forward to being part of a great school and athletic program that is continuing to grow. My hope is that we can help these guys develop beyond athletics. We want them to love baseball and to work hard, but more importantly we want them to grow in their relationship with the Lord and be young men of good character.”
Athletic director Susan Berry said she was thrilled to have Smith and Fowler coach the baseball team, and thanked Rowland.
“We are so very thankful for coach Rowland and appreciate all he has given to these boys and to our school these last six years, building our program and leading us to a state championship,” Barry said.
City of Savannah
offers youth sports
The City of Savannah Recreation and Leisure Services Department, Athletics Division, has several announcements for upcoming meetings and events.
For more information or to register for an event, contact the athletics office at 912-351-3852.
There is an organizational meeting for youth football on July 22 at the Alee Temple at 6:30 p.m. Interested coaches are encouraged to attend.
A girls flag football camp and kicking camp at Morris Field at Daffin Park is set for July 12-16.
A fall baseball league for 8-and-under and 10-U age divisions begins in September. An organization meeting is planned for July 29 at the Alee Temple at 6:30 p.m.
A fall softball league begins in September. An organizational meeting is planned for Aug. 5 at the Alee Temple at 6:30 p.m.
Nathan Dominitz is the Sports Content Editor of the Savannah Morning News and savannahnow.com. Email him at email@example.com. Twitter: @NathanDominitz