While the preseason Super 25 football rankings won’t come out until late July, this is one of a series on teams that could contend in the Super 25 high school football rankings next season. We previously looked at De La Salle (Concord, Calif.), South Panola (Batesville, Miss.), Colquitt County (Moultrie, Ga.), Miami (Fla.) Central, Chandler, Ariz, DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.), Allen, Texas; Cedar Hill, Texas and Webb City, Mo.
Team: Clay-Chalkville, Pinson, Ala.
2014 finish: The Cougars went 15-0, won the state 6A title and finished the season as the No. 19 team in the Super 25 football rankings.
Tradition: Cougars have won two state titles and are 64-11 in the past six seasons, including 40-3 at home.
2015 schedule: Aug. 22 at Tennessee 6A quarterfinalist Blackman (Murfreesboro, Tenn.); Sept. 18 vs. Pinson Valley (Pinson), which lost 45-35 to Clay-Chalkville last season.
Top returnees (years listed are for next school year): Senior QB Ty Pigrome was responsible for 61 touchdowns (36 passing, 24 rushing, one receiving) last season and just picked up an offer by Missouri; junior WR Nico Collins is getting offers from ACC and SEC schools after catching 15 touchdown passes last season; senior WR T.J. Simmons is an Alabama commit who caught 43 passes for 965 yards and scored 20 all-purpose touchdowns last season.
Top newcomers: DB C.J. Toney, who transferred from Shades Valley (Birmingham), WR Desmond Williams, who transferred from Pinson Valley.
Toughest to replace: All-State DL Nick McDaniel; RB Terrelle West; and CB Kameron Prewitt.
Outlook: The Cougars set a state 6A record with 731 points last season, outscoring foes by an average of 27 points a game and they return most of the prime players from that offensive juggernaut, led by Pigrome and elite receivers Collins and Simmons. Pigrome is being recruited by schools as a defensive back or quarterback.
“They think he can play receiver or defensive back or maybe even quarterback in the SEC,” Hood told AL.com.
Though LB Terry Brown and DB Nick Battle are the only returning starters on defense, that unit looked solid in the team’s spring game, a 7-0 defeat of Bessemer City.
The Cougars will look to get some run production from senior Brandon Berry, who stepped up last year when West went down with an injury.
“Brandon Berry certainly has some of the things we like at that spot, but he’s going to have to prove that to us,” Cougars coach Jerry Hood told the Trussville Tribune. “If he can hold on to the ball, be a good receiver, do the little things right, he’ll get a whole bunch of carries.”