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A pair of former Southwest DeKalb teammates are slated to start in the BCS National Championship game in Pasadena's Rose Bowl as Auburn takes on Florida State on January 6.
Jonathon Mincey, a 2010 graduate of Southwest, is a starting cornerback for Auburn which just clinched a birth in the championship game with a victory over Missouri in the Southeastern Conference Championship game in Atlanta last Saturday.
Across the field will be former teammate and 2011 graduate of Southwest, redshirt sophomore Terrence Smith, who starts at strong side linebacker for Florida State.
Mincey picked off eight passes in three years at Southwest DeKalb and totaled 140 tackles in his prep career. He is currently sixth on the Auburn team with 54 tackles including 1 interception, 1 tackle for a loss and 12 passes broken up. The two-year starter has career totals of 140 tackles, 5 tackles for a loss, 1 sack and 20 pass breakups.
Smith (6-4, 215) finished his career at Southwest with 250 tackles (111 as a junior), 23 sacks, and 27 tackles for a loss. As a starter on No. 1 ranked Florida State's defense this year he is third on the team with 55 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks, 1 interception, 3 passes broken up and 1 quarterback hurry.
The pair is not the lone DeKalb County standouts in the game as Stone Mountain's Ukeme Eliqwe (2012) shares time at linebacker with Smith for the Seminoles and Tucker's Justin Garrett (2011) plays linebacker for the Tigers.
Eliqwe (6-2, 240), a redshirt freshman, has contributed 27 tackles (13th on team), 3 tackles for a loss and 2 sacks in duty behind Smith at linebacker. Eliqwe finished his career at Stone Mountain with 246 tackles (121 as a junior), 8 sacks, 32 tackles for a loss, 6 fumbles caused and 6 fumbles recovered.
Garrett (6-1, 218), a junior, has one start in three seasons and saw limited action this season appearing in just two games. He was named the A-Game Defensive MVP after returning a fumble for a touchdown on the opening play. He collected 19 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss and 1 forced fumble.
The Tucker grad finished his prep career with 97 tackles (60 as a junior), 4 sacks, 8 tackles for a loss, 1 fumble caused and 1 fumble recovery.
Former Redan Raider baseball stats Brandon Phillips and Dominic Brown will be busy during Major League Baseball's All-Star break as their represent their respective teams on the National League All-Star team at the New York Mets' Citi Field on Sunday, July 16.
Phillips, the Cincinnati Reds second baseman, was elected the National League's starting second baseman by the fans. He is making his third appearance in the All-Star game and third in four seasons. He also was on the National League team in 2010 and 2011.
The 1999 graduate of Redan of high school is hitting .262 with 12 homeruns, 13 doubles and 64 RBIs in 90 games this season. He was a second round pick of the then Montreal Expos following a season senior at Redan in which he hit .605 and had 14 homeruns.
Phillips played parts of four seasons for the Cleveland Indians before moving to the Reds where he has been the past seven seasons. He won the Silver Slugger Award for second basemen in 2011. Also noted for his sometimes amazing defense he has won three Gold Gloves (2008, 2010-11).
Brown is a 2006 graduate of Redan and was taken in the 20th round by the Philadelphia Phillies where he has spent parts of the past four seasons at the major league level. Brown hit .455 with five homeruns and 12 doubles as a senior at Redan while going 7-1 on the mound with a county leading 1.09 earned run average.
The Phillies' outfielder was a manager's selection to the All-Star game due to his having a breakout season for the Philadelphia squad this season. Brown is hitting a career high .281 through 90 games this season including a National League leading 23 homeruns to go with 64 RBIs, 14 doubles and 4 triples (all career highs).
Brown has also been named the National League Player of the Week twice during the first half of the 2013 season.
The pair making the team is thought to mark the first time for two DeKalb County players to make the All-Star game in the same season and the first time for a pair of former Redan players.
Twenty-three senior DeKalb County School District athletes are receiving the highest academic honors in their classes as they graduate this spring.
There are fifty valedictorian and salutatorian honors at the 19 DeKalb County School District High Schools, including magnet programs at Chamblee, Columbia and Southwest DeKalb.
Ten athletes lead their 2013 classes as the valedictorians and 13 more earned salutatorian honors showing they could perform in the classroom as well as in athletics. These athletes account for 46 percent of the top academic awards for 2013.
Twelve of the 14 sports sponsored by DeKalb County were represented in this group. Tennis led the way with five representatives followed by soccer and cross country with four and volleyball and golf contributed three honorees each.
Seven athletes participated in two or more sports during the school year which is impressive due to the practice and competition time eating into the athletes' study windows.
Arabia Mountain's magnet program had three athletes earn top academic honors including valedictorian Charles Akin-David (soccer) and co-salutatorians Asier Isayas (soccer) and Tyrus Wheeler (tennis).
Senior golfer Sarah Kuranga earned top honors in the magnet program at Columbia. The valedictorian is a three-time DeKalb County girls' golf champion and earned three trips to the state tournament, including a top six finish in 2012.
The Columbia resident valedictorian was Shykeena Blanton who was part of the Lady Eagles' volleyball team. A third athlete took the resident salutatorian as football player Xavier Howard was one of two DeKalb football athletes to earn top academic accolades.
Athletes swept the honors at Druid Hills as Anna Dowling was named valedictorian and Jason Terry earned salutatorian recognition. Dowling participated in the Class AAAAAA Cross Country State Championships, the state sectionals in track and also on the Druid Hills' swim team. Terry did double duty competing on the cross country team that made the state meet and on the soccer team which advanced to the Sweet 16.
A pair of tennis players was at the top of their class at Lakeside in valedictorian Stephanie Pham and salutatorian Paul Choi. The pair helped their respective teams to state tournament appearances this spring.
Another sweep of top honors came in the Southwest DeKalb magnet program in the form of valedictorian Brittany Williams (lacrosse/cheerleading) and salutatorian Kristen Peagler (soccer). Williams was part of a Southwest lacrosse team competing on the varsity level for the first time. The team just missed out on reaching the state playoffs in its first season.
Peagler is a record setting performer on the soccer field as she scored a DeKalb County record 55 goals this season to break her own record of 50 from a year ago.
Valedictorian Brittany Burnett (tennis/volleyball) and salutatorian Maiya Smith (cheerleading) are being recognized as the top two honorees at Stephenson.
Tucker High also boasts a pair of athletes at the top of the academic ladder in the graduating class in valedictorian Andrew Melissas (cross country) and salutatorian Aniya Hamilton (basketball/volleyball). Hamilton was part of the volleyball team in the fall that reached the Sweet 16 with a 29-15 record and then over the winter was the second leading rebounder for the 25-5 girls' basketball team that reached the Elite Eight.
Miller Grove's James Moody tied for 12th in highest batting average for DeKalb County during the regular season hitting at a .441 clip. He also kept up with academics as he will step to the podium as the Wolverines' valedictorian.
Other honorees include Cedar Grove co-salutatorian Joshua Heard (football), Chamblee resident Kevin Reagan (golf), Cross Keys valedictorian Ranulfo Ramos-Santos (cross country/track), Lithonia salutatorian Ashlee Gutheridge (tennis), McNair salutatorian Terrence Dixon (baseball), and Towers salutatorian Jasmine Carruth (swimming).
Arabia Mountain Magnet - Charles Akin-David, soccer
Columbia Magnet - Sarah Kuranga, golf
Columbia Resident - Shykeena Blanton, volleyball
Cross Keys - Ranulfo Ramos-Santos, cross country/track
Druid Hills - Anna Dowling, cross country/swimming/track
Lakeside - Stephanie Pham, tennis
Miller Grove - James Moody, baseball
SW DeKalb Magnet - Brittany Williams, lacrosse/cheerleading
Stephenson - Brittany Burnett, tennis/volleyball
Tucker - Andrew Melissas, cross country
Arabia Mountain Magnet - Asier Isayas, soccer; Tyrus Wheeler, tennis
Cedar Grove - Joshua Heard, football/golf
Chamblee Resident - Kevin Reagan, golf
Columbia Resident - Xavier Howard, football
Druid Hills - Jason Terry, cross country/soccer
Lakeside - Paul Choi, tennis
Lithonia - Ashlee Gutheridge, tennis
McNair - Terrence Dixon, baseball
SW DeKalb Magnet - Kristen Peagler, soccer
Stephenson - Maiya Smith, cheerleading
Towers - Jasmine Carruth, swimming
Tucker - Aniya Hamilton, volleyball/basketball
DeKalb County Schools Athletics hosted the annual Football Recruiting Video Forum on Wednesday at the East DeKalb Campus bringing in 59 colleges and prep schools to recruit DeKalb County football players.
The colleges are invited each year to sit down with the DeKalb County football coaches at one site and gather information on prospective student athletes to help fill the needs of their football programs without spending their entire recruiting budgets trying to get to each individual school.
This years forum drew 53 four-year colleges from the NCAAs Football Championship Division, Division II, Division III and the NAIA. Five junior colleges were represented along with one prep school to bring the total to 59. This was shy of last years record of 64 schools attending the event.
The schools came from 20 different states and Washington D.C. led by Georgia with 10 schools represented followed by nine from North Carolina, seven from Tennessee, four from Alabama, South Carolina and Virginia.
Coaches as far away as New Hampshire, Ohio, Massachusetts, Delaware, New York, Illinois, Kansas and Arizona made the trip to DeKalb County for the day along with many schools from the Southeastern section of the U.S. to sit down and discuss scholarship possibilities for DeKalb student athletes.
The 59 schools were represented by a total of 89 coaches this year as compared to 106 a year ago.
The video forum plays a key role in helping athletes who are not being recruiting by the FBC schools to get scholarship offers to continue their educations and playing careers on the next level.
DeKalb had over 140 football players sign on for scholarships last February and spring to set a record for the number of football signees for the school district.