Other Vols to watch:
—In a way, senior J.D. McNealy is the opposite of teammate Quentin Knight. Whereas Knight has majored in being a running back most of the season but showed his linebacker chops late, McNeely is a linebacker who also sees time in the backfield. Headed into last week’s semifinals, he led the Vols with 82 tackles. At 6-foot-0, 225 pounds, he has attracted college attention, including his visit to Auburn for Saturday’s Iron Bowl. Expect to hear his name called early and often over the Jordan-Hare Stadium public address when Pleasant Grove has the ball … and some, when Clay Central has it.
—Another playmaker for Clay Central’s defense is 6-2, 245-pound senior defensive end Davion Phillips. He’s approaching 20 tackles for loss on the season. Another of veteran coach Danny Horn’s guys who see action on both sides of the ball, he sees time at tight end. Horn: “He anchors our defensive line this year. He’s a good kid, too and works hard. His motor is running full speed all the time.”
—When Clay Central needs a play in the passing game, look for wide receiver Javon Wood. He has 40 catches for 900 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. The senior also handles returns and plays safety.
—Horn notes Pleasant Grove’s size, so Clay Central will need big play from its biggest guys. The Vols have three All-State-caliber offensive linemen in Drew Lightsey, Hugo Sandoval and Micah Harris. If Knight is having a big day, chances are Harris, Sandoval and Lightsey are winning battles up front.
Click here to read a separate story on Quentin Knight.