Greer is coming off a season in which it went 9-3, earned a share of the Peach Blossom AAA Region championship and reached the second round of the playoffs.
In other words, the Yellow Jackets came up short of their goal.
The expectations never change, and Greer begins 2013 fully intent on chasing a state title.
“I think this will be the strongest team we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said senior running back Quez Nesbitt. “I think we can get it done this year.”
“The depth across the board’s not great, particularly on defense,” Jackets coach Will Young said.
As for those who will take the field first for the Jackets?
“Our first group’s probably as good as anybody you’ll see,” Young said.
Beginning with Nesbitt, who, as a junior rushed for 2,310 yards, scored 30 touchdowns and was chosen Greenville County Offensive Player of the Year.
Nesbitt always attracts the most attention from opponents, but he said he’s confident that won’t be as big a factor this season.
“Teams started to load the box on me last year,” he said. “This year, we’ve got a lot of receivers that can get open and make big plays for us. If teams load the box, they’ll have a hard time stopping the pass.”
With the graduation of Josh Gentry, the Jackets had a void at quarterback. Sophomore Dorian Lindsey, a starting wideout as a freshman, was moved to quarterback in December, and Young said Lindsey has really grown into the position.
“He’s more confident,” Young said. “He’s a tough kid. He’s smart. He’s smart in class. And he can throw.”
And he’ll have plenty of targets, including senior Emanuel Kelly, whom Young said is “probably one of the best wideouts in the area,” and sophomore Zach Glidden, who started as a freshman.
The talent rolls on at receiver with Tay Woods, Deondre Moren, Zeke Whiteside and Xavier Wright.
“All of those kids can catch the ball really well and run really well,” Young said.
Up front, the anchor is left tackle Rolland Nall, a 6-foot-5, 265-pound senior who maintains a 4.8 grade-point average and, according to Young, can be “a Southern Conference-type player.”
The other returning starter is right tackle Cole Henderson. Garrett Poole and Jordan Hawthorne have moved in at the guards, and the center is freshman Noah Hannon.
“It’s a good group,” Young said. “They really work hard with each other and for each other. They all can move. They’ve all got good feet.”
The strength of the defense should be the secondary, where Moren and Malek Johnson are back at the corners and Whiteside and Jackson Tipton are back at the safeties.
The biggest surprise has been the defensive line, with returning starter Ty Campbell and Raymond Booker at the tackles and Nakeem Hoke and Bradley Styles at the ends.
“They’ve really come along, and we needed them to,” Young said. “We were a little scared in the spring.”
Tyler Wright is the only returning starter at inside linebacker. The other could be Kelly or Jake Purvis. Kelly also could be on the outside, as could Taghai Mack.
Nick Roberson is back to handle kickoffs, field goals and point-after attempts. Either Jake Arrowood or Adam Burgess will do the punting.