Donovan Stewart’s Class 6A Spring Top 10

Donovan Stewart’s Class 6A Spring Top 10

Under first year coach Derek Hunt, Maryville won their fifth Class 6A state title in 2017 (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2017) since the TSSAA went to six Division I classes back in 2009.

The Rebels are currently tied with Blount county rival Alcoa for the most football state titles won with 16 and despite returning just three starters on offense and nine overall, expect the Rebels to be in the mix again for a return to Cookeville and the state championship game in 2018.

The Rebels by virtue of being the defending state 6A champion will start the Class 6A spring top 10 as the number one ranked team.

Other programs will have a say in determining who will play in Cookeville for the state title as 2017 runner up Cane Ridge return seven starters on offense and will start at number two.

Blackman and Whitehaven return key starters and have both been bolstered by key transfers to their programs which explains their number three and four spring ranking.

Another Rutherford county program in Oakland return 14 starters after making a semifinal run and going 13-1 in 2017 and because of that, they round out the top five.

For the seventh straight year, I will offer my Spring Top 10 teams in each classification as Class 6A will be looked at this week.

My Top 10s are based on conversations with coaches in 6A across the state as well as returning personnel that the teams have back in 2018.


10. Science Hill Hilltoppers
Last Year’s Record- 7-4, lost to Bradley Central in first round
Head Coach- Stacy Carter (130-42 overall, 67-27 in eight years at Science Hill)
Offensive Coordinator- Stacy Carter
Defensive Coordinator- Ralph Nelson
Region- 1-6A
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 12 (7 Off/5 Def)
Offense- Spread
Defense- 3-4
Key Returnees- Drew Morrison (RB, Sr.), Stephen Grant (OL, Sr.), Ryan Miles (OL, Sr.), Blake Austin (OL, Sr.), Kendrick Fain (OL, Jr.), Chris Thomas (RB, Sr.), Shane Austin (WR/S, Sr.), Mathew Levi (LB, Jr.), Jack Tevis (DT, Sr.), Jacob Abram (DE, Sr.), Nick Copenhaver (S, Jr.), A.J. Stewart (QB, Jr.)
Key Losses- Jaylan Adams (QB), Aundre Butler (WR), T.J. Patton (WR/DB), Zach Colvin (OL), Trey Gasteiger (OL), Denzel Medina (TE/LB), Tristan McPeak (LB), Jesse Cross (DL)
Spring Practice- April 30-May 11
Spring Optimism- The Hilltoppers return four starters on the offensive line led by seniors Blake Austin, Stephen Grant and Ryan Miles and junior Kendrick Fain
Spring Concerns- Science Hill is looking for depth at the wide receiver and linebacker but the biggest question is how will junior A.J. Stewart handle starting at quarterback this year



9. Ravenwood Raptors
Last Year’s Record- 10-3, lost to Cane Ridge in Quarterfinals
Head Coach- Matt Daniels (10-3 in one year at Ravenwood)
Offensive Coordinator- Matt Daniels
Defensive Coordinator- Ryan Fowler
Region- 6-6A
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 10 (6 Off/4 Def)
Offense- Multiple Spread
Defense- 4-3
Key Returnees- Brian Garcia (QB, Jr.), Gabriel Sleenhof (OL/DL, Jr.), Graham Barton (OL/DL, Jr.), Brandon Carver (DL/OL, Sr.), Reagan Carlson (DL/OL, Sr.), Luke Shouse (DL, Jr.), Bryan Rice (DL, Jr.), Anthony Holmes (RB/WR, Sr.), Andrew Mason (WR, Jr.), Jordan Smith (RB, Jr.), Avery Miller (LS/LB, Jr.)
Key Losses- Drew Harmon (OL/DL), Isaac Happel (OL/DL) Mason Stauffer (LB/TE), Cole Carteaux (DB), Ramez Ibrahim (DB), Seth Erickson (DB), Nick Stallcup (QB/DB), Brandon Huff (LB/DL), Miller Powell (WR), Connor Holland (DL/OL), Mason Dills (OL/DL), Darius Harper (DB), Jared McArthur (TE/LB), Parker Nash (WR), Sam French (K/P)
Spring Practice- April 30-May 11
Spring Optimism- The Raptors only return four starters on defense but all of them are on the defensive line as seniors Reagan Carlson, Brandon Carver along with juniors Luke Shouse and Bryan Rice will return to wreck havoc
Spring Concerns- Ravenwood will have to find seven starters on defense including three starters at linebacker and four in the secondary



8. Mt. Juliet Bears
Last Year’s Record- 10-1, lost to Riverdale in first round
Head Coach- Trey Perry (34-22 in five years at Mt. Juliet)
Offensive Coordinator- Zach White
Defensive Coordinator- Greg Abner
Region- 4-6A
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 11 (5 Off/6 Def)
Offense- Multiple
Defense- 3-4
Key Returnees- Marcello Walton (RB/LB, Sr.), Michael Ruttlen (RB/DB, Sr.), Conner Ruzek (RB/FS, Sr.), Reggie Grimes (RB/LB, Jr.), Malik Bowen (WR, Jr.), Zach Delfendahl (OL/DL, Jr.), Ronnie Kramer (OL/DL, Sr.), Tristan Kilmon (DL, Sr.), Sage Brawner (TE/DE, Jr.), Colby Martin (RB/DB, Sr.), Alvin Mixon (QB, Sr.), Justin Harrigan (RB/LB, Sr.), Jayce Pardue (LB, Sr.), Cage Ellis (WR/DB, Sr.), Robbie Brewington (PK, Sr.), Matt Pewitt (P, Sr.), Tyler Johnson (PK, Jr.), Preston Lopez (OL, Sr.), Britain Steele (LB, Sr.), Bryan Aiken (ATH/DL, Sr.), Hunter Love (OL/DL, Jr.)
Key Losses- Aidan Raines (RB), Tony Thompson (LB), Lawson Rich (WR), Tyreece Stone (OG), Cade Hoppe (OG/DL), Evan Angle (DE), Chris Humphreys (LB), Jesyah White (FS), Colton Reeder (LB), Keaton Mang (SS), Jeremiah Birdsong (DB), Braden Costley (DE)
Spring Practice- April 30-May 18
Spring Optimism- This Mt. Juliet team has the most depth and speed at the skill positions in coach Trey Perry’s six year tenure as Marcello Walton, Michael Ruttlen, Conner Ruzek, Reggie Grimes, Colby Martin and Bryan Aiken all will get opportunities to make big plays on offense
Spring Concerns- Mt. Juliet used spring practice to identify starters along both the offensive and defensive lines as they had to find three starters along the offensive line and two defensive ends on defense



7. Farragut Admirals
Last Year’s Record- 9-3, lost to Maryville in second round
Head Coach- Eddie Courtney (161-93 in 22 years at Farrgut)
Offensive Coordinator- Geoff Courtney
Defensive Coordinator- David Hawkins
Region- 1-6A
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 10 (5 Off/5 Def)
Offense- Spread Option
Defense- 3-4
Key Returnees- Jaden Gibbs (WR, Sr.), Kyle Carter (RB, Sr.), Gavin Wilkinson (QB, Jr.), Isaiah Gibbs (RB, Sr.), Neyland Harmon (LB, Sr.), Caleb Kuhn (LB, Sr.), Wyatt Lucas (WR/DB, Sr.), Tanner Corum (WR, Sr.), Cooper Mashburn (OL, Sr.) Alec Keathley (TE/LB, Jr.), Hunter Shopovich (WR, Jr.), Matt White (WR, Soph.), Eli Purcell (LB, Soph.)
Key Losses- Max Travis (QB/DB), Drew Butler (LB), Jacob Warren (TE), Braden Collins (WR), Andrew Maxey (OL), Jonathan Buchanan (OL), Jackson Powers (OL), Nnamdi Mcswine (DE), Cade Burkey (LB), Alex Williams (LB), Grayson Utterback (DB), Griffen Swicegood (DB)
Spring Practice- April 27-May 11
Spring Optimism- The Admirals return a lot of talent at the skill positions starting with junior Gavin Wilkinson (2,130 passing yards, 17 TDs) and senior Isaiah Gibbs returning at running back after rushing for 1,101 yards and 12 touchdowns last season
Spring Concerns- Farragut will have to rebuild the offensive line after losing three starters to graduation



6. Germantown Red Devils
Last Year’s Record- 11-1, lost to White Station in second round
Head Coach- Chris Smith (19-13 in three years at Germantown)
Offensive Coordinator- Chris Smith
Defensive Coordinator- Logan Rebstock
Region- 8-6A
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 13 (6 Off/7 Def)
Offense- Spread
Defense- 3-4
Key Returnees- Henry Castillo (OL, Sr.), Michael Goodwin (OL, Sr.), Nick Ferri (OL, Sr.), Ethan Payne (QB, Sr.), Cameron Baker (WR, Sr.), Jalon Greer (WR/DB, Sr.), Shomar Michael (OLB/RB, Sr.), Duke Hill (DL, Sr.), Trey Boyd (DL, Sr.) Tyrec Collins (OLB/DB, Sr.), Marshall Ware (K/P, Sr.), Orlando Hairston (ATH, Sr.), Keveon Ware (DB, Sr.), BJ Gardner (RB, Sr.)
Key Losses- Ted Lyons (FB/LB), Max Martini (OL), Tyler Boyd (OL), Isaiah Hayden (OL), Jaylin Williams (WR/DB), Reggie Sanders (WR), Devin Wright (TE/DE), James Collins (LB)
Spring Practice- April 30-May 18
Spring Optimism- The Red Devils are coming off their best season with 11 wins in 2017, since winning the Class 5A state title back in 2003 and with the return of quarterback Ethan Payne (2,223 passing yards, 24 TDs), they are poised to make another deep run in 2018
Spring Concerns- Germantown will have to find multiple starters and develop depth along the offensive line to replicate their undefeated regular season of 2017



5. Oakland Patriots
Last Year’s Record- 13-1, lost to Maryville in semifinals
Head Coach- Kevin Creasy (118-16 overall, 39-4 in three years at Oakland)
Offensive Coordinator- Kevin Creasy
Defensive Coordinator- Stephen Jackson
Region- 3-6A
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 14 (8 Off/6 Def)
Offense- Wing T
Defense- 3-4
Key Returnees- Woodi Washington (DB/WR, Sr.), Lionel Patterson (OL, Sr.), Christian Cantrell (DE/TE, Sr.), Mookie Wilson (FB/RB, Sr.), Brevin Linnell (QB, Sr.), Jalen Locklayer (FS, Sr.), Tekoy Randolph (DE/TE, Sr.), Malik Sibert (DB/WR, Sr.), Justin Jefferson (ATH, Sr.), Charlie Jones (OL, Sr.), Kameron Goodrich (DB, Sr.), Ethan Ellis (OL, Sr.), Garrett Taylor (K/P, Sr.), Ameer Gray (DB/RB, Sr.), Aaron Moore (DE, Jr.), Jackson Riley (OL/DL, Jr.), De’Arre McDonald (DB/WR, Jr.), Dorian Anderson (DB/WR, Jr.), Mikhael Holman (DE, Jr.)
Key Losses- Aaron Sears (K), Branson Boone (OL), Colton Chapman (OL), Blake Spencer (DT), Jeron Rooks (RB/LB), Malik Marshall (RB), Robert Murphy (RB), Cameron Snelling (FB), Ryder Gebhardt (FB/LB), B.J. Rulikera (WR), Tanner Popovich (WR), Thadd Chapman (OL)
Spring Practice- May 1-18
Spring Optimism- The Oakland defense should be downright nasty in 2018 as top tacklers Jalen Locklayer (106 tackles), Christian Cantrell (98 tackles, 16.5 for loss), Justin Jefferson (94 tackles, 13 for loss), Aaron Moore (93 tackles, 22.5 for loss, eight sacks), Tekoy Randolph (92 tackles, 16 for loss) and shut down corner back Woodi Washington (41 tackles and five interceptions) return
Spring Concerns- The Patriots will use spring practice to identify their next talented all purpose running back after Jeron Rooks had a big year in 2017



4. Whitehaven Tigers
Last Year’s Record-11-3, lost to Cane Ridge in semifinals
Head Coach- Rodney Saulsberry (147-33 in 14 years at Whitehaven)
Offensive Coordinator- Clarence Dillard
Defensive Coordinator- Errol Harmon
Region- 8-6A
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 11 (5 Off/6 Def)
Offense- Multiple
Defense- 50
Key Returnees- Cormontae Hamilton (TE/LB, Sr.), Tyler Hunter (DL/LB/FB, Sr.), Bryson Eason (LB, Jr.), Mamadou Anne (K, Sr.), Vincent Guy (QB/ATH, Sr.), Melvin McBride (OL/DL, Sr.), Martavius French (LB, Jr.), Paul Turner (DB/RB, Sr.), Cameron Sneed (RB, Jr.), Jacobi Rice (DL/OL, Sr.), Sean Wilder (DB, Sr.), Jeremiah James (OL, Sr.), Keveon Mullins (WR/DB, Sr., Memphis East transfer, Memphis commitment), Devin Boddie (WR/DB, Sr., Lausanne transfer), Joseph Barrett (FB/DT, Sr.)
Key Losses- Devon Robinson (LB/TE), Chris Witherspoon (RB), Rayshad Williams (DB ), William Jackson (WR), Draper Redmond (OL/DL), Keyshaun Lewis (RB/SS), Marquis Traylor (LB), Joseph Pegues (OL), Ricardo Clark (LB/FB)
Spring Practice- April 26-May 11
Spring Optimism- The Tiger defense should be stacked led by junior linebacker Bryson Eason (111 tackles) and Tyler Hunter (58 tackles) as well as mixing in two star transfers in Memphis commitment Keveon Mullins and Devin Boddie at both wide receiver and defensive back, Whitehaven has the talent to make another run at a state championship
Spring Concerns- Whitehaven will use spring to have a quarterback competition as returning starter Vincent Guy (1,006 passing yards, 10 TDs) will have to hold off rising junior Keyshawn Harris



3. Blackman Blaze
Last Year’s Record- 9-3, lost to Oakland in second round
Head Coach- Kit Hartsfield (0-0 in first year at Blackman)
Offensive Coordinator- Joe Moos
Defensive Coordinator- Aaron Pitts
Region- 3-6A
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 9 (5 Off/4 Def)
Offense- Multiple
Defense- 3-4
Key Returnees- Adonis Otey (QB/WR/DB, Sr.), Trey Knox (WR, Sr.), Jordan Brown (RB, Jr.), Micaleous Elder (WR/DB, Sr., Cleveland transfer), Ta’micus Napier (RB, Sr., McGavock transfer), Michael Brown (OL, Sr.), Khori Williams (LB, Sr.), Jesi Sampson (LB/DE/TE, Sr.), Kolby Alexander (TE/LB, Sr.), Kameron Phililom (OL, Sr.), Matt Hall (LB, Sr.), Alec Patton (DE, Sr.), Conner Murphy (RB/LB, Sr.)
Key Losses- Master Teague (RB/DB), Thomas Burks (K), Ibrahim Qadir (SS), Conner Mitchell (QB) Jamis Carson (DB), Cordell Braxton (RB/ATH), Ben Kalu (DE) Treven Brown (DT),
Spring Practice- April 30-May 18
Spring Optimism- The Blaze under first year coach Kit Hartsfield will have several skill players to display in running backs Jordan Brown, McGavock transfer Ta’micus Napier and wide receivers Trey Knox (52 catches for 667 yards, 5 TDs) and Cleveland transfer Micaleous Elder (42 catches for 714 yards, 12 TDs)
Spring Concerns- The Blaze will have to find the trigger man for their multiple set offense with seniors Adonis Otey, Mathew James and sophomore Drew Beam battling for the job



2. Cane Ridge Ravens
Last Year’s Record- 13-2, lost to Maryville in state title game
Head Coach- Eddie Woods (49-23 overall, 33-6 in three years at Cane Ridge)
Offensive Coordinator- Eddie Woods
Defensive Coordinator- Mose Phillips
Region- 5-6A
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 11 (7 Off/4 Def)
Offense- Spread
Defense- 3-4
Key Returnees- Joy Kebelu (DT, Sr.), Devon Starling (RB, Sr.), Odannie Hall (ATH, Sr.), Korey Andrews (QB, Sr.), Quenton Barnes (WR, Soph.), Dominic Davis (WR, Sr.), Michael Reese (OL, Jr.), Devin Turner (OL, Sr.), Zachariah Fowler (DL, Jr.), Alexander Wickliff (DB, Sr.)
Key Losses- Jared McCray (ATH), Jarad McCray (ATH), Jahsun Bryant (LB), Dewayne Johnson (LB), Desmond Goodloe (DT),James Reese IV (DB), Rashad Burleson (LB), Brandon Majors (TE), Hunter Dukes (OL)
Spring Practice- May 1-14
Spring Optimism- The Ravens are coming off their best season in school history as they were the 6A runner up last year. They return seven starters on offense led by quarterback Korey Andrews (2,482 passing yards, 25 TDs) and running back Devon Starling (2,296 rushing yards, 25 TDs)
Spring Concerns- The Ravens will have to reload the defense as they have to replace seven starters including several linebackers and several in the secondary




1. Maryville Rebels
Last Year’s Record- 14-1, beat Cane Ridge for 6A state title
Head Coach- Derek Hunt (14-1 in one year at Maryville)
Offensive Coordinator- Derek Hunt
Co-Defensive Coordinators- Jeremy Russell and Nick White
Region- 2-6A
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 9 (3 Off/6 Def)
Offense- Multiple
Defense- 4-3
Key Returnees- Davon Kimble (WR/DB, Sr.), A.J. Davis (WR, Jr.), Graham Shelley (OL, Sr.), Luke Walker (DE, Jr.), Matthew Walker (DT, Sr.), Logan Justice (DT, Sr.), Garrett Everett (DE, Sr.), Seth Orren (LB, Jr.), Michael Buchanan (DB, Sr.), Michael Jones (S, Sr.), Jack Cone (K, Sr.), Ashton Maples (WR, Jr.), Cade Chambers (QB, Jr.), Braden Carnes (QB, Jr.), Tee Hodge (RB, Jr.) Bryson Teffeteller (RB, Sr)
Key Losses- Dylan Hopkins (QB), Christian Markham (WR), Isaiah Cobb (RB), Blake Watson (TE), Tommy Smith (LB), Will Orren (DB), Riley Gennoe (LB), Mason Gann (OG), Jack Williams (OT), Byron Brown (WR/DB),
Spring Practice- Already completed Spring Practice
Spring Optimism- The Rebels return six starters on defense including all four on the defensive line: Luke Walker and Garrett Everett at defensive end and Matthew Walker and Logan Justice at defensive tackle
Spring Concerns- Junior Cade Chambers and Braden Carnes are both very capable of handling the quarterback position but will have a lot to live up to the loss of three year starter Dylan Hopkins


Six More Teams To Keep Your Eye On In Alphabetical Order– Brentwood, Bradley Central, Hendersonville, Independence, Memphis Central and Riverdale

Contact Donovan at and follow him on Twitter at Examine_Stew

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