SUWANEE, Ga. -- One of the most impressive things in Friday night's 17-12 win by North Gwinnett (Suwanee, Ga.) over Crenshaw (Los Angeles, Calif.) was QB C.J. Uzomah's leadership and poise.
Uzomah, who's 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, plays quarterback but lines up at receiver or in the slot about 40 percent of the time, especially with the emergence of junior QB Scotty Hosch. With Hosch struggling on Friday, Uzomah, an Auburn commit, ran the offense for most of the second half, playing ball control to keep the ball away from the speedy Cougars.
"I was hyper all game long," Uzomah said. "I calmed down in the second half because I knew we had to play two halves for us to win. We had to control the ball and I made some plays."
Uzomah moved the chains on quarterback runs and kept the clock moving. He's a three-star athlete who will play receiver for Auburn.
"I would get him the ball in space and match him with defensive backs because he is so big and fast," North Gwinnett coach Bob Sphire said. "I would use him in the Wildcat and catching the football. He's a hybrid like Antonio Gates and Kellen Winslow. He can play inside and outside."
Having made his decision to be a Tiger, Uzomah knows he's going to play for a coaching staff that has a lot of imagination on the offensive side of the football.
"I can't wait to get to Auburn and start working with their coaches," Uzomah said. "I will play receiver there and I have been working hard on those skills. I know I'm good after the catch and with my size I can pose problems. I can also play tight end or a hybrid. I know the Auburn coaches will put me in positions to help out that offense."
Bulldog senior linebacker steps up
One of the big heroes of North Gwinnett's win was senior linebacker Brandon McGowan. He scored the winning points for the Bulldogs in the third quarter, scooping up a fumble and returning it 60 yards.
"I didn't really see it," McGowan said of the fumble. "I was hustling and the ball popped right up to me so I took it to the house."
Of course, his coach isn't surprised that McGowan came up with the big play.
"That young man has had a great career here and he really played well out there," Sphire said. "Brandon McGowan leads the charge every time."
According to McGowan, he has scholarship offers from Memphis, South Alabama, Air Force, FIU, Buffalo and VMI.
"Georgia Tech, Vandy and schools like that are also recruiting me," he said. "I am looking for somewhere where I can go to school where I want to study. The atmosphere on campus is important. In the end, it's still about school, coaches and football."
Junior defensive end is one to watch
North Gwinnett's Jordan Washington is one of the top junior prospects in the Peach State for the Class of 2012. Washington is a massive 6-3, 263-pound defensive end.
"Jordan has really come on for us," Sphire said. "He had a great offseason for us and he has played well this season. Jordan is a BCS-caliber recruit that is getting better every day."
Washington has great size and uses that to his advantage.
"I am strong and fast for a guy my size," Washington said. "I just do my assignment and I feel like I get the job done. I know how to use my hands and I have good feet."
According to Washington, Georgia and Auburn are showing the most interest but it's another SEC school that piques his interest the most.
"I am hearing from those two schools the most, but personally I like Florida the best," he said. "But it's early, I have my options wide open. I am looking at the coaching staffs. I want to find a team that fits my personality."
Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting both in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.