Roll Tide: IMG-Duncanville Looks Like A Miniature 'A-Day'

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Nick Saban should consider temporary residency in Bradenton, Fla., with as many inroads to IMG Academy as he’s built from Alabama. 

Saturday’s national prep football showcase pitting America’s top-ranked IMG against No. 6-ranked Duncanville functions almost as a Crimson Tide preview. Three members of IMG Academy’s historically excellent senior class — offensive lineman JC Latham, defensive end Dallas Turner and wide receiver Jacorey Brooks — are committed to the Tide’s 2021 group of signees. 

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Another, linebacker Xavian Sorey, is entertaining a host of SEC offers. 247Sports’ predictions have Alabama a 100 percent favorite among the group. 

Saban and his staff are also courting Ascenders 2022 prospects like running back Kaytron Allen and offensive tackle Dayne Shor. 

The pipeline from Bradenton into Tuscaloosa isn’t a new development, either. Alabama’s 2020 roster features five IMG products: Stephon Wynn Jr., Evan Neal, Thomas Fletcher, Dylan Moses and Trey Sanders, and current Detroit Lion Bo Scarborough’s path to the NFL took him through both schools. 

As the foremost dynasty of the era in college football, Alabama’s consistent recruiting of IMG Academy prospects is a reflection of the Ascenders’ own prep dynasty. The 2020 football season may be unprecedented, but IMG Academy’s No. 1 national ranking and inside track for a national championship provides some normalcy.

In the case of both Alabama and IMG Academy, championship pursuits build from the lines. Small wonder, then, that the Crimson Tide have pinpointed Ascenders recruits in the trenches. 

Latham is the centerpiece in 2021. Ranked No. 1 in the state of Florida and seventh nationally, Latham anchors the stacked IMG offensive line at tackle, and has drawn comparisons to some of the most elite playing the position at higher levels. 

Ascenders line coach George Hegamin told 247Sports this summer Latham’s play is reminiscent of Tyron Smith, among others — including Alabama star Alex Leatherwood. 

Having another blue-chip blocker ready to follow in the line of succession after Leatherwood leaves for a likely first-day selection in next spring’s NFL draft speaks directly to the Tide’s success under Saban. It becomes self-perpetuating, and IMG is helping to feed that. 

Case in point, Evan Neal blasted out the following before Latham’s commitment: 

Roots run deep, and they’ll produce some new branches Saturday in IMG’s highly anticipated showdown with No. 6-ranked Duncanville

The second-ranked team in Texas comes to Globe Life Park in Arlington without the same distinguished past contributing at Alabama — but not because Duncanville isn’t rich with its own top-flight prospects. 

On the contrary, one of the nation’s other top-ranked tackles, Savion Byrd, lines up for the Panthers. His battles with IMG’s pass-rushers, including Dallas Turner, will be one of the most important pieces to shaping Saturday’s contest. 

Flip side, Latham gets to clash with a future member of the Crimson Tide in Duncanville linebacker Kendrick Blackshire. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Blackshire has a frame similar to IMG Academy-turned-Alabama star Dylan Moses. 

The more fierce the competition between Blackshire and the Latham-led Ascenders offensive line, the better for Crimson Tide fans. It’s like an A-Day come early.

The CAA Coaching Cradle Has Established A Significant NFL Presence

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Just call the Colonial Athletic Association the new Cradle of Coaches.

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Michigan-Bound JJ McCarthy Leads IMG Into Showdown With Duncanville

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Big Ten football doesn’t kick off for another few weeks, but the entirety of the Michigan football fan base will want to keep its eyes on the gridiron on Oct. 10. 

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Duncanville Poses Biggest Threat To IMG's Undefeated Title Run

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For all you've seen and heard about IMG Academy, the sixth-ranked team in the country may feel like an afterthought. But if you're writing off Duncanville based on paper depth charts, that's a mistake. 

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IMG's Senior Class Is Arguably The Best Of All-Time

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The senior class at IMG Academy has — and I stress, this is not a typo — 18 players rated at three stars-or-better. Eighteen. 

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How To Watch: No. 1 IMG Academy vs. No. 6 Duncanville

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The stage is set for what figures to be the game of the year at the high school level, as top-ranked IMG Academy (FL) prepares to make the trip west to Arlington, Texas, to take on No. 6 Duncanville (TX) at Globe Life Park.

Top-Ranked IMG, No. 6 Duncanville Set To Face Off In Game Of The Year

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The stage is set for what figures to be the game of the year at the high school level, as top-ranked IMG Academy (FL) prepares to make the trip west to Arlington, Texas, to take on No. 6 Duncanville (TX) at Globe Life Park.

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The Spring FCS Playoff Race Will Be A Sprint, Not A Marathon

Colonial Time: Tom Flacco

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The scene just before James Madison kicked off its national championship encounter with North Dakota State in January, where a thin layer of snow covered the Toyota Stadium turf, will not repeat itself this season — not with Frisco’s average temperatures in the low-to-mid 80s during the month of May. 

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CAA Announces Scheduling Format For Spring 2021 Football Season

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The CAA is making plans to play a six-game conference schedule that includes the option for institutions to add up to two non-conference contests during the spring 2021 season.

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West Florida, Valdosta State Embrace Budding Rivalry

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The process of building a rivalry often takes years and years of classic games with high stakes. 

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