The starting Offensive Line for the Sprayberry Varsity Yellow Jackets may average 250 pounds, yet – at 6’0”, 300 pounds – Center/Guard Kyle "Big Tex" Thomas is clearly the biggest asset on the line of scrimmage. Thomas will start his 22nd Varsity (and 32nd overall Prep) game in Sprayberry's 7th contest against the Kennesaw Mountain Mustangs this Friday night at 7:30 pm in the "California Dreaming Bowl", played annually in Kennesaw. A starter as a Sophomore in 2010, Thomas played only seven games of an injury-shortened Junior season in 2011, missing the chance for playoff action. He is back for 2012, and stronger than ever, intent on doing more than simply getting back to the playoffs.
Frantzlou Daphnis, 6’1”, 285 pounds, patrols the Yellow Jackets’ flank as Offensive Tackle. He has started 23 Prep games overall (2 Varsity, 14 Junior Varsity, and 7 Freshmen), the most recent of which was against the Wheeler Wildcats in the 2012 season opener. His size and bulk make him look every bit the Offensive Tackle. Playing behind All-State Offensive Tackle Jibrin Linge (now playing for D1-FCS Tennessee Tech University) during all of 2011, Daphnis is out to prove his meddle as he makes the position his own in 2012.
Malik Young, 6’2”, 240 pounds, is a presence on the Defensive Line. Young, a returning starter, led all Varsity defensive linemen with 55 total tackles and 11 tackles for loss – and co-led the team with 2 fumbles recovered – in 2011 as a Junior. In the first two games of 2012, Young has 9 total tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. Young is also a standout on the track and field stage, competiting in the shot put and the discus throw (finishing 1st in both events at various meets as a Junior during the Spring 2012 Outdoor Track and Field Season).
Alex Grover, 5'10”, 240 pounds, plays both Offensive and Defensive Line positions. Like Offensive Line teammate Daphnis, Grover has played behind older starters for the past few years, so he is eager to establish himself.
So, as you visit Jim Frazier Stadium (or any of the other fine venues in which the Jackets play) this Fall, pay attention to the linemen and recognize their Herculean efforts. It’s okay if you don’t, though. These often underappreciated players don’t seek recognition or glory… only honor.