County’s top prospects Four Warriors in this year’s signing class

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Thompson High School’s Tony Bell is expected to sign a national letter of intent today, ending speculation about where the linebacker will play college football.

As signing day approached and many players began to verbally committ to various schools, Bell spent his time pondering over an impressive list of interested schools including LSU, Tennessee, Auburn and Georgia.

Bell (6-3, 215) is widely considered one of the best prospects in the state and is even ranked among the nation’s elite by several recruiting services.

He is expected to sign his official letter of intent sometime today, national signing day for high school seniors.

The senior, who may be asked to play safety at the college level, recorded 76 tackles for the Warriors this year, despite being hampered by injury much of the season.

At presstime, Bell had not made his final decision. Bell had reportedly been considering Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee and LSU.

Several Shelby County players are expected to sign with various schools today. Most made nonbinding verbal commitments to play for a particular school and will solidify their commitments today by signing national letters of intent.

Bell’s Thompson teammate Eric Bogan had verbally committed to UAB during the recruiting process. The running back is expected to sign with the Blazers.

Bogan (6-0, 185) rushed for 1,022 yards on 152 carries and scored 11 touchdowns this season.

Also expected to sign from Thompson were quarterback/defensive back Tony Myers (6-3, 205), who had committed to the Citadel, and defensive end Darious Sheffield, who was undecided at presstime Tuesday. Sheffield (6-2, 235) had received offers from several schools including West Alabama and Tuskegee.

Myers rushed for 652 yards and eight touchdowns while passing for 419 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, he recorded

31 tackles and two interceptions.

Sheffield made 54 tackles and four sacks this season for Thompson.

The four Warriors in this year’s signing class mark the most Thompson football players to sign in a single year in the school’s history, said Thompson coach Ricky Seale.

Briarwood Christian’s Simeon Castille (6-1, 185) verbally committed to Alabama in December after considering a host of schools including LSU, Auburn, Virginia, Louisville and others.

Castille’s brother, Tim, will be a sophomore running back for the Crimson Tide, and his father, Jeremiah, was an All-American defensive back under coach Paul &uot;Bear&uot; Bryant.

Castille finished the year with nine interceptions and more than 100 tackles. On offense, he rushed for 538 yards and six touchdowns.

Joe Craddock (5-11, 180) led the Lions to a class 5A state title at quarterback. He is expected to sign with Middle Tennessee State after passing for 2,218 yards and 21 touchdowns in his senior year at Briarwood. Craddock also rushed for 740 yards and 11 touchdowns and averaged nearly 42 yards per punt with a season long of 72 yards.

The U.S. Naval Academy is expected to ink offensive lineman T.J. Claud (6-2, 277) who had previously announced his intentions to play for the Midshipmen. Claud anchored the Briarwood offensive line that opened holes for Craddock, Castille and running back Andy Davis.

Coosa Valley Academy’s Brandon Nix (6-4, 285) made a verbal commitment to coach Jackie Sherrill at Mississippi State before the season started. But Sherrill- retired in the middle of the Bulldogs’ season and was replaced in December by Sylvester Croom.

In the wake of the coaching change, Nix transferred his verbal commitment to Middle Tennessee State where he is expected join Craddock as a Blue Raider.

Nix, a four-year starter for CVA, recorded 84 tackles as a defensive lineman in his senior year. He was also credited with five sacks and three blocked field goals for the Rebels