Stars of Tomorrow: You can't predict the future. We really don't know who will be the stars of tomorrow. Some peak at an early age (watch the Cody Webster documentary from ESPN).
There have been many great players to come through these parts. When you're in the moment it's rare to say, 'That guy's going to be the next great one."
Most times, expectations are too high. That's our fault.
I just returned from a state baseball tournament featuring a bunch of 13-year-old all-stars. Maybe the next Babe Ruth was out there at this Alabama Babe Ruth League Championship.
One of the coaches was a 13-year-old phenom once. He actually made it to the next level and played in the pinstripes for the same team Ruth did. Yes, he was a Yankee.
Former Alabama infielder and New York Yankee Andy Phillips was the skipper of the West Alabama team that squeaked by Tallassee 9-8 in the state title game. I heard Jim Wells was in their dugout. Wells was Phillips' coach at Alabama.
It was back in 2017 when Tallassee played UMS-Wright in the state baseball quarterfinals in Mobile. The Bulldogs beat our Tigers in a great series that went three games. Tanner Allen was an all-state player at UMS who had already committed to Mississippi State.
Allen told Tallassee catcher Reid Whitaker, who also made it to the college ranks - 'Good pitch' on a Dee Williams' fastball. 'I wouldn't throw it again.' Dee did, and Allen hit one off of the outfield wall. (By the way, Williams also made it to the next level).
Allen was good. But little did we know that he'd become the SEC Player of the Year. His team is now playing for the College World Series championship.
We got to watch one of the highest-ranked players on the basketball floor earlier this year. There has never been a prospect as highly touted to walk through Stumberg Gymansium as JD Davison. Davison is regarded as a top ten player nationally.
The Calhoun grad will be headed to Tuscaloosa to play for Nate Oats next season. If he's as good as advertised, he'll be a one-and-done player and in the NBA the following season. Again - high expectations.
Central Coosa has a good story. The small school in the middle of nowhere had two players in Super Bowl XLII. Justin Tuck and Adalius Thomas are cousins and met as opponents in the big game in 2008.
I saw Justin Tuck firsthand during a Tallassee/Coosa game in 1999.
The Cougars were not all that good that year. They went 5-6, but they may have been Tallassee's toughest challenge during a perfect regular season. The Tigers struggled to a 16-14 win and finished 13-1 in '99.
Tuck led Central to a 10-2 record the next year as a senior. He went on to Notre Dame before his time in the NFL.
We just don't know who the stars of tomorrow are today. Watch closely. The next great one might be closer than you think.