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Media Day notebook: Oxford's Higgins, Taylor talk recruiting

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Oxford coach Keith Etheredge with players Trey Higgins and Roc Taylor. The Calhoun County Quarterback Club hosted the High School Football Media Day Friday at the Anniston Country Club. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)

This and that from Friday’s second annual Calhoun County Quarterback Club media day at Anniston Country Club:

While COVID-19 and the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s decision to start fall sports on time dominated discussion, recruiting and football came up.

Oxford quarterback Trey Higgins, a Mississippi State baseball commit, and wide receiver Roc Taylor, a Tennessee football commit, reaffirmed their commitments Friday but acknowledged lurking temptations.

Higgins’ football stock rose last season, as he produced more than 3,500 yards in total offense in helping Oxford to a 6A state title. With Oxford coach Keith Etheredge acknowledging Friday that the Yellow Jackets could pass “35 times” some games this season, Higgins’ football stock could rise more.

Higgins said he likes the idea of getting a chance to be a two-sport athlete in college.

“I’ve always said I want to play both as long as I can,” Higgins said. “I just believe that God’s going to put me where I need to be, when I need to be there, so I’m just going to leave it in his hands and enjoy it while I can and not worry about it.”

As for Taylor, he committed to Tennessee in the spring. That was before in-state offers started rolling in, with Auburn joining the fray for the guy who starred against elite competition in both victories over Pinson Valley last season.

How will Taylor approach things?

“I’m getting in-state offers, but it takes a different type of person to play in state and out of state,” he said. “Right now, I’m just looking to play my season.”

In other recruiting news at Oxford, sophomore offensive lineman Bradyn Joiner’s offer list expanded to include Virginia Tech this week. His other offers: Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Indiana, Cincinnati, Florida Atlantic, Jacksonville State and Miles.

MCELDERRY ON RADAR: Anniston offensive lineman Ryqueze McElderry did enough as a freshman to land offers from South Carolina and UAB.

The 6-foot-3, 280-pounder, not yet rated by 247sports, is taking it all in.

“I’ve just got to give it all to my coaches and God, the man above,” he said. “He’s the reason why I’m here today, and I worked hard, really, really hard last season to get where I am now.

“I’ve got to extend my progression and my techniques at my position and make sure we can win this year.”

SOMEWHERE ELSTON: Rod Elston was one of the biggest names to change schools in the county during the offseason. The second-team 1A all-state running back/safety transferred from Donoho to Saks in the spring semester, and Saks coach Jonathan Miller said he expects Elston to play offense and defense. Elston spoke about his transfer Friday.

“I changed schools back in March, I think, and it was my parents’ decision,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to play for Coach Miller. I went to Saks from my kindergarten through my sixth-grade year, and I’ve always watched Coach Miller coach, and I’ve always wanted to play for him.”

HAYES’ DAY: The quarterback club paused Friday’s media-day activities to recognize referee Steve Hayes, who reached 50 years in officiating last season.

Hayes accepted a plaque. Wife Jenny, standing to his right, received flowers.

“You have to have a passion, a love for the kids, the coaches and the schools,” Hayes said. “We’ve got some of the greatest administrators and coaches and young men that play this sport.

“If you don’t love it, then you can’t be around it. That’s why the kids play. They love what they do. We love what we do. We enjoy serving them, and I thank God that He’s given me the ability to serve such fine people.”

Sports Writer Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.