Flowery Branch gears up for the 2024 football season

Flowery Branch is entering the 2024 season with many questions, as the team looks to replace many of its starters from the 2023 season. However, the Falcons’ 2024 spring scrimmage answered many of those questions and highlighted the next group of Falcon stars.

The quarterback position is one where the team has consistently produced, with three of the last four Falcons quarterbacks playing Division I football with Elijah Gainey playing at South Alabama, David Renard playing at Furman, and Brody Jordan playing at West Georgia.

Tristen Radford appears to be the next Flowery Branch quarterback. The 6-foot-1, 155-pound player did everything the coaching staff asked of him on Wednesday, showing good zip on his passes and being highly accurate.

Running back has been another strong position for Flowery Branch. The Falcons lost their top two running backs from 2023, with star back Malik Dryden heading to D-I FCS Stetson University. Junior Griffin Harper got the start at running back, and the third-year starter at linebacker had a good day with multiple long runs, including a 20-plus yard rushing touchdown. Harper, at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds showed explosiveness and power as a rusher, despite playing behind only half of his offensive line.

The wide receiver room has seen significant changes over the past year, losing its top six pass catchers. The receiving corps is also seeing a change in size. Last year, the team’s largest wide receiver was Camo Campbell at 6-0 and 170 pounds. This coming season, the projected top pass catchers are 6-4, 180-pound Brooks Recinella, 6-4, 170-pound Tanner Renard, and 6-1, 165-pound Clay Connell.

Recinella is the most physical receiver on the team, being hard to cover and even harder to bring down, requiring two or more defenders to tackle him on every catch Wednesday. Tanner Renard is the smoothest athlete of the three, being a fluid route runner who effortlessly created space separating from smaller defenders. Connell is a physical wideout who showed the ability to create yards after the catch, taking multiple screens for good gains, rounding out what could be an elite receiving corps.

The defensive line was another question mark heading into Wednesday, with all three starting defensive linemen from last year no longer on the roster. While not every question about them was answered, players like JT Cummings at defensive end and Caige Loggins at defensive tackle showed the ability to be disruptive.

Cummings, a long defensive end, was able to get into the backfield on multiple plays with several standout reps, while still having a lot of potential. Caige Loggins, at 6-1 and 265 pounds, is a large sophomore who has added a lot of good size in the past year, growing an inch and adding 20 plus pounds. He was disruptive in the middle of the Falcons’ D-line, taking on double teams and spending significant time in the backfield.

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