Corner, much like many teams across the state, will be moving some guys into different roles this season.
Head coach Jon Clements enters his second season with the Yellow Jackets with a much better understanding of who on his roster can do what.
Rising senior Daniel Knowlton was primarily utilized as a linebacker last fall as Corner marched on to a record of 6-5, but Clements likes his upside on the offensive end.
“He’s going to move to an offensive role this year as our tight end,” said Clements of Knowlton. “He’s the x-factor for us on offense. If he can stay healthy and play the positions we need him to play, it will help us tremendously on offense.”
Likely throwing him the ball will be returning starter Colin Daniel, who assumed the starting role midway through last season as a freshman.
“Colin Daniel will come back as our starting quarterback,” said Clements. “He did not start the first five games last year, we didn’t really insert him until week 6 and that’s kind of when we hit our surge. I think our guys kind of feed off of Colin a little bit, he’s a little more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants-type guy sometimes which is good.”
According to Clements, it’s the little things his quarterback has focused on this offseason.
“The main thing we talk about is don’t get us beat. You don’t have to win the game for us, but don’t get us beat either and I think through some OTAs and some 7-on-7s this summer, he’s done a lot better job of taking care of the football,” said Clements. “If you look at games that we lost early last year, we had a lead on Northside, we had a lead against Russellville, we had a lead against Jasper and we turned all of them back into loses because we gave them the ball back. Once we made that change at quarterback, it seemed to shore up some things for us.”
When it comes to shoring up the opposite side of the ball, Corner looks to last year’s leading ball carrier—Nick Brashear—for answers at linebacker. The senior is expected to remain in the offensive game plan but, according to Clements, he will assume greater responsibility on defense this season.
The Yellow Jackets enters their second season of competition in Class 5A, Region 7:
- Jasper (11-2, 7-0)
- Russellville (9-2, 6-1)
- Corner (6-5, 4-3)
- Dora (5-6, 4-3)
- Hayden (4-6, 3-4)
- Hamilton (4-6, 2-5)
- Lawrence County (2-8, 2-5)
- West Point (3-7, 0-7)
Corner opens up league play on Week 2 (Sept. 6) at Russellville—a tough opener, considering the Jackets must replace four of the five starters on last year’s offensive front. Senior center Braylun Smith is the veteran of that group.
“Braylon is a three-year starter at center. He’s kind of our quarterback on offense without being the quarterback,” said Clements. “He’s the old guy up front. Last year we lost four seniors up front and we return Braylun and that’s it. He’s going to have four sophomores with him, so we put a lot of pressure on him and ask him to do a lot of stuff for us.”