Other Golden Eagles to watch:
—Jacksonville playing in the Super 7, the state’s biggest stage for high school football, will also put statewide eyes on the guy Golden Eagles watchers simply call “Peanut.” Pound for pound, linebacker Omarion Adams just might be Jacksonville’s best overall football player. Jacksonville coach Clint Smith has packages that use Adams on offense, when needed. That could come up in a game where Smith comes ready to fire all of his bullets for a state championship, but Adams’ athleticism and instincts matter as much to Jacksonville’s defense as Rontarius Wiggins’ talents mean to the offense. Come ready to watch No. 1, not just No. 4.
—Speaking of valuable players on Jacksonville's defense, Yessman Green is one of the top cornerbacks in Calhoun County. At 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, he already has a prototypical frame. The son of Jacksonville State assistant coach William Green, he can cover with the best of them. He doesn't get thrown at much, which makes him able to shut down an opponent's top passing-catching threat. He also plays receiver, with seven touchdowns this season.
—Quarterback Luke Jackson makes it hard for defenses to key on Wiggins and has for two seasons now. A first-team 4A-6A All-Calhoun County quarterback in 2018, he’s thrown for more than 1,600 yards each of his two years as the starter. Wide receiver Jaeden Barksdale has been one of his go-to receivers for both seasons and more so this year, after Jewels Gray graduated. Barksdale is having a stellar season.
—Another player to watch comes with both name recognition and common-season appeal. Hey, somebody has to be blocking for Wiggins, right? Omaurion Pope, younger brother of Los Angeles Chargers running back Troymaine Pope, leads an offensive line that had to be rebuilt after four of five starters graduated. The elder Pope made his name as an all-state running back at Anniston and FCS All-American at Jacksonville State. The younger Pope is helping Wiggins do the same.
Click here to read a separate story on Ron Wiggins.