Gordon County will be well-represented this fall whenever the Berry College and Shorter University football teams take the field.
Both of those schools start their 2021 schedules Saturday, each playing home games — the Hawks hosting Brevard College while the Vikings entertain Maryville College.
Former standout Calhoun quarterback Gavin Grey is now the Berry starter, while former Sonoraville standout wide receiver Blade Bryant is also a Viking.
Shorter has seven local graduates on the roster — six Jackets and one Phoenix alumnus.
SU apparently keeps an eye on Calhoun defensive backs, with four former Jackets in the secondary — redshirt junior defensive back Kolby Reynolds, sophomore safety Reece Poe, freshman cornerback Ethan Tibbs, and freshman Cooper Harmon.
It is quite conceivable that the Hawks’ entire secondary could eventually be filled by former Calhoun talent, although they do have a large number of DBs listed on the roster.
The other two CHS graduates now playing for the Hawks are junior J.C. Fuller at tight end and freshman Reed Randall on the offensive line. Sherrod Agee went to Sonoraville and is a Shorter graduate student playing on the defensive line.
At Berry, Gray was the starting quarterback for the Vikings shortened winter schedule earlier this year after the global pandemic kept the team from playing the 2020 regular season last fall.
And it was an awesome span earlier this year from Feb. 13 to March 13, when the Vikings went 4-0 and won the Southern Athletic Association championship with a 21-20 victory over Hendrix College in Little Rock.
In his team’s four games last winter, Gray completed 71-of-121 pass attempts for 940 yards with nine touchdown passes and three interceptions.
Gray’s best game came in the opener against Birmingham-Southern University when he threw for 322 yard on a 19-of-40 effort that saw him also throw three touchdown passes. Gray, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound junior, was also an Second team All-Conference selection after being named the league’s Newcomer of the Year in 2019.
Reynolds and Tibbs at cornerback and Poe and Harmon at the safeties would fill the bill as all four of those players vie for playing time. Tibbs and Harmon are true freshmen whose chance to get on the field may still be in front of them, but it would be something to see if Shorter’s secondary is suddenly the same Calhoun secondary from just a couple of years ago.
Offensively, Fuller is looking for a breakout year with the Hawks as he has changed back to the tight end position. He played in that spot as a freshman, but was switched to fullback his sophomore season. Last year, though, he was moved back to tight end and that is what he is presently listed as on the team’s current roster on their website.