Top 10 Countdown: No. 1 West Point

West Point senior Jaquarius Thomas. (Photo by Chris Brooks)

West Point will open the season ranked as the No. 1 team in our preseason Top 10. After four straight 5A championships and more talent returning, they’ve earned it. This won’t be the most experienced Green Wave team, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The defense, however, returns six starters and should be one of the state’s best. The junior class is particularly deep in defensive talent. Three returning starters on the offensive line will give a young backfield time to gain experience and prepare for another championship run.

No. 1: West Point Green Wave

Head Coach: Chris Chambless

2019 Record: 15-1 (Class 5A State Champion)

Starters Returning: Offense: 5 Defense: 6

Players to Watch: QB Corbin Kelley; RB Cameron Young; RB Chris Ivy; OL Jamarr Davis; OL Jaekwon Bradshaw; OL Frank Bean; LB Keon Cunningham; LB Davian Rise; DE Jaquarius Thomas; DL Jaylin Rush; DB Joqwan Young; DB Jacoby McQuiller; DB Fred McMillian.

Coach Speak: “Like always our season is based on how we’ve been doing in the offseason and we’ve had a great offseason. Our kids have been working hard and I’m excited about the competition. Everybody in our division is going to be better, so we’re expecting  everybody’s best shot and we know we have a big target on our back. Offensively we will do what we do running the football and with three offensive linemen back, that will be a big help. Defensively we have the entire secondary back, so we’re excited about having a veteran group in the back end.  The front seven will have guys we are really high on.”

Outlook: There are very high expectations again in West Point as the Green Wave are on a quest for five straight 5A state championships. Offensively the Green Wave will once again lean on a strong running game that averaged 261.1 yards per game in 2019, however there will be an entire new backfield in 2020. Cameron Young and Chris Ivy will be the running backs after the departure of Brandon Harris and Jimothy Mays, who combined rushed for over 3,000 yards with 32 touchdowns. Corbin Kelley will be the new starting quarterback for West Point, with Trey Ryland being the top receiver returning for the Green Wave. Three offensive linemen are back to help lead the rushing attack led by Jamarr Davis. Defensively the Green Wave return six starters, and that includes the entire secondary. Joqwan Young, Jacoby McQuiller, Chris Dean and Fred McMillian all return to lead the back end of the defense. Defensive end Jaquarius Thomas (80 tackles, 6 sacks) along with defensive tackle Jaylin Rush and linebackers Keon Cunningham and Davian Rise return to lead the front seven.

Season Opener: Sept. 4 at Starkville.