TOP RETURNING STARTERS
Aaron Berry, 5’11” 240 lbs., OL/DL, Senior, 53
Last Season: 93 tackles (48 solo), 16 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, and 1 caused fumble.
˝ Tough, hard-working player in the middle of it all. Had a superb year last season from the defensive tackle position with 93 tackles (2nd most on team) with 16 of those going for a loss (most on team in 2008). Most likely will be the leader for this year’s Rocket defense considering he is a 4-year starter. Pressuring the QB is his forte. On offense, Berry will be a mainstay on the line.
J.D. Gray, 5’10” 170 lbs., QB/DB, Senior, 14
Last Season: 871 passing yards (9th most in a single season), 66 passing completions (7th most in a single season), 10 touchdowns (5th most in a single season), 160 rushing attempts, 1,129 rushing yards (8th most in a single season), 14 rushing touchdowns (8th most in a single season).
˝ Currently, a 2-year starter at QB and will be the team’s leading returning offensive threat. The ability to replace RB Rodney Robertson on the 2009 squad may be the factor that affects Gray’s season the most but expect him to climb the ranks in the record books this season.
Dyllan Thornton, 5’7” 170 lbs., OL/LB, Senior, 61
Last Season: 80 tackles (38 solo), 5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 3 caused fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, and an interception.
˝ Just another example of a player that had a breakout 2008 season for the Rockets. Thornton grew several inches and trimmed down to a lean 170 pounds before the start of last season, one reason for his improvement on the field. At Fulton County in 2008, Thornton returned a fumble 19 yards for his first career touchdown. Thornton looks to be a major defensive force in the Rockets linebacker corps in 2009.
Dylan Clark, 6’0” 200 lbs., TE/DE, Senior, 56
Last Season: 83 tackles (37 solo), 12 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 2 caused fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery.
˝ Experienced and non-stopped. His motor and mind are always running. Clark has played a major role the past two seasons and he looks to be one of the primary leaders on the team in 2009. After having 12 tackles for loss in 2008, Clark will look to increase those numbers and stabilize the defensive line. On offense, look for him to catch some passes at the tight end position.
Andrew Freeman, 5’10” 180 lbs., RB/NG, Junior, 31
Last Season: 35 rushing attempts, 71 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 29 receiving yards, 72 tackles (33 solo), 7 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 3 caused fumbles, 5 fumble recoveries.
˝ Freeman became a force defensively as the season progressed last year and will be another reliable presence this time. In the playoffs against Kentucky Country Day, Freeman recovered a fumble in the end zone and returned another fumble 21 yards for a touchdown. The bigger issue is that Freeman could have one of the biggest impacts on the Rocket offense this season. Looking to replace former Rocket RB Rodney Robertson, the coaching staff is keying in on Freeman as the heir apparent. Of the returning ballcarriers, Freeman had the second most rushes last season.
J.R. Adams, 5’9” 165 lbs., K, Senior, 2
Last Season: 36 extra points made (2nd most in a single season), 50 extra points attempted (most in a single season).
˝ Adams is another success story from last season. Adams transferred into the school, never having played football before and was actually a soccer player until the coaching staff converted him into a kicker. Through Adams hard work and determination, he had one of the greatest seasons kicking in school history. Look for him to be high in the ranks of the career kicking leaders after the 2009 season is over. Adams was 36 for 50 in extra points last season. At one point in 2008, he kicked 11 straight extra points, which is the fourth longest streak in school history.
Brian Berry, 5’10” 160 lbs., RB/WR/LB, Junior, 3
Last Season: 31 rushing attempts, 158 yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, 5 passing completions, 8 passing attempts, 23 passing yards, 11 receptions, 78 receiving yards, 75 tackles (31 solo), 2 tackles for loss, 2 fumble recoveries.
˝ Used as a utility man in 2008 playing QB, RB, WR, LB, DL and OL for the Rockets, but settled in at running back and linebacker as the season progressed. Berry will play a major role in the success of the Rockets this season as he will look to add strength and speed at RB and LB. He may also be called upon to fill varying roles again.
Terry Werne, 6’1” 205 lbs., OL/LB, Junior, 57
Last Season: 65 tackles (30 solo), 2 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 blocked kick.
˝ Werne (pronounced Wer-nee) received valuable minutes last year and was an important part of the Rocket defense. Werne will be an upper classman this year and looks to be the other solid bookend of the defensive line to go with Dylan Clark.