Donovan Williams: Press Sports Basketball Athlete of the Week

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Not many high school athletes are as exhilarating to watch as Donovan Williams from Northstar Highschool class of 2020. This 6’5, 175-pound Shooting Guard plays with such physical power and speed it’s easy to see why he got offers from 5 different universities. Like a young Austin Rivers, Donovan’s quickness and staggering athleticism allow him to get to the rim on demand. He’s strong in the paint and has the ability to finish with finesse. This, combined with his quick release and smooth stroke make him an offensive threat from all over the court. In games, he continuously proves himself to be a budding star ball player; scoring the game winning basket to go to state is just one of the ways Donovan has made himself a key player on the team. He also managed a double-double where he scored 48 points, got 12 assists and 8 rebounds. Since August 2018, Donovan has committed to playing basketball at Nebraska where he is sure to continue to impress. Although he has decided to pursue basketball, Donovan admits he is better at baseball, proving how diverse and purely athletic he is. 

Not only is Donovan extraordinarily athletic, but he’s also got a 3.2 GPA and a high sports IQ which make him extremely well rounded. When he’s not on the court, Donovan often enjoys beating his friends in Mario Cart, watching Law & Order, or listening to NBA Youngboy. Donovan also enjoys watching NBA basketball. His favorite player is Bradley Beal, who’s explosiveness on breaks and scoring prowess can often be seen in Donovan’s play. Donovan isn’t very superstitious, but he is always sure to stay comfy on game day. When he has time to relax, you can find him out on a lake or river fishing. In regards to family, Donovan’s biggest hope is to “just buy my momma a house.”

In order to accomplish this goal, Donovan combines athletic prowess with great grades and the use of recruiting tools. He often uses the Press Sports App to watch and post highlights and help him with the recruiting process. When asked about Press Sports, Donovan stated, “I like them because they are big supporters of me and they have the latest news.” To see him dominate in the paint and shoot buckets from deep, you can follow him on the Press Sports App and Instagram @D_willionairee and on Twitter @DonovanW_.

Article by Press Sports Analyst Adam Davault

Emma Rhodes: Volleyball Athlete of the Week

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On rare occasions, athletes have the potential to transform the performance of their entire team. Players of program-changing caliber are few and far between, so when they come around, fans and coaches alike can’t help but notice. Emma Rhodes, Temecula Valley High School’s class of 2022 star right-side hitter, encompasses the idea of putting the team on her back. As a high school freshman, she made 8 blocks and hit a .469 to lead her team to victory in the state championship. From then on she has continued to be a force to be reckoned with at the net. So much so that she earned the role of captain on the A1 Youth Girls Team USA squad.

Rhodes’ phenomenal play, combined with a 3.5 GPA, has garnered the attention of prestigious universities, such as UCLA, USC, and Oregon. Her athletic and intellectual prowess aren’t her only assets, though; during her interview, she humbly stated that “the secret to success is having good team chemistry and playing your heart out on each point.” This comes from advice given by Rhodes’ biggest mentor, Arizona University volleyball legend, Dana Burkholder, who “always reminds [Rhodes] to stay calm and focus on her technique.” Burkholder, who still ranks #1 in AU history in five statistical categories, will be Rhodes’ coach at her elite club team, Forza1. Evidently, Rhodes soaked up some of Burkholder’s sports IQ in order to earn the #20 spot in the national player rankings. 

Over the course of Rhode’s volleyball career, she’s picked up some superstitions. She has to eat Panera Bread and listen to music for at least 30 minutes before every game, and when she’s on the court, she has to wipe her shoes before each point. When she’s not on the volleyball court, Rhodes enjoys cooking and watching ‘The 100’. She also uses the Press Sports App because she “loves having sports in [her] feed as motivation” to succeed. Rhodes separates herself from most players through this motivation. No matter how difficult or tedious the drill, she always “has a good work ethic and loves feedback.” With talent like Rhodes’, fans can hope to see phenomenal blocks and booming spikes for years to come. To watch her highlight tape and keep up with her progress, follow her on Press Sports @11_Emmarhodes and on twitter @Emma_rhodes1vb.

Article by Press Sports Analyst Adam Davault 

Phillip Webb: Football Athlete of the Week

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“Defense wins championships”— one of the oldest adages in football remains true to this day. As football’s defensive greats age, and their play diminishes, new talent is needed to fill the ranks. Currently, one of the strongest defensive contenders in the race to the NFL is Phillip Webb.  Webb, an outside linebacker (OLB) from the Lanier High School graduating class of 2020, is a force to be reckoned with. As the fourth ranked in the nation at OLB, Webb has received offers from over 45 colleges. His top choices include prestigious universities, such as Oklahoma, Florida, Florida State, LSU, and Texas A&M. Webb’s athletic prowess is not his only strength: he sports a 3.8 GPA and aims to study biology. Despite the numerous opportunities in front of him, Webb has remained humble and recognizes that “the secret to success is hard work and determination.” 

Webb gives everything he’s got in his relentless pursuit of the quarterback, and he has the stats to show for it; after last season’s playoff run, he finished the year with 86 tackles and 11 sacks. With a pass rushing ability comparable to a young Von Miller, Webb’s “first step on pass rush is the most distinctive thing in his game.” Like Miller, Webb’s impact on the field is powerful. In a single game, he managed to make 13 tackles, 2 sacks, and forced a fumble. Quarterbacks tend to remember getting hit by this 225 lb. beast. Webb’s versatility as an OLB also allows him to drop back into zone coverage and play in space when he’s needed. His coverage ability is bolstered by his long 6’4” frame and explosive athleticism — his quick hands and aggressive play earned him 7 pass break ups last season. Running backs must also be wary when Webb is on the field. Last season, he managed to make 20 tackles for loss and forced 4 fumbles. The stats alone don’t do Webb’s tackling power justice. In the weight room, he is about to join the 1000-pound club, with a combined 970 lb. bench, clean, and squat. When Webb connects with his target, onlookers are forced to wonder if they are going get up again. Phillip Webb clearly has all the skills he needs to make a great outside defender. 

Although football is Webb’s main focus, he also has other hobbies. Like many others his age, he enjoys watching Adam Sandler movies, listening to Drake, and playing 2K. Webb doesn’t allow these pastimes to distract him from what’s important, though. He is dedicated to football, doing his best to get recruited and go to the school of his dreams. Webb uses the Press Sports app to post highlight videos for coaches to see because “Press Sports provides a platform for athletes to showcase their talent.” Webb sets himself apart from other blue chips his age through relentless effort on the field. No matter the stakes, whether it’s a practice scrimmage, or the championship game, Webb “finishes every play until the whistle is blown.” With enormous growth potential and an incredible amount of raw talent, fans will likely see Phillip Webb making big hits for many years to come. To watch him grow as an athlete and see his highlight tape follow him on Press Sports @phillip.webb and twitter @_phillipwebb_. 

Article by Press Sports intern Adam Davault 

Kaden Martin: Baseball & Football Athlete of the Week

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Legendary Tennessee QB and coach, Tee Martin, left behind big shoes to fill after leading the Vols to win the 1998 National Championship and beating out Tom Brady in the NFL draft. His son Kaden Martin, has been stepping up to the plate proving that he can not only fill those shoes, but possibly achieve more. Kaden is crushing records as a Quarterback while making waves in the baseball world as a lefty pitcher and outfielder — and scouts have noticed. Right now, the star athlete of the Knoxville Catholic class of 2022 has several D1 offers for both sports. USC, Alabama, FAU, Duke, and Kentucky have all shown interest in his arm and running ability as a quarterback. But the offers don’t stop there: Missouri, Coastal Carolina, Troy, and Western Kentucky have also been recruiting him to play baseball. Kaden’s athletic prowess is not the only thing that sets him apart in the eyes of scouts, though. He’s smart on and off the field, and has a 3.4 GPA to show for it. 

Athletes with Kaden’s dual-sport versatility don’t come around often, but when they do, it’s hard not to reminisce about all-time greats such as Bo Jackson and Deon Sanders. It takes a special kind of player to not only excel in multiple sports, but to reach the milestones that Kaden has surpassed. When this 5’11’’, 205 pounder, with a play style similar to Mookie Betts steps up to the plate, the outfielders start to pay more attention. As a rising sophomore, Kaden has already hit for the cycle on the diamond following a game where he notched more than 150 yards both in the air and on the ground. Any football or baseball fan knows how hard these accomplishments are to do alone, but to be able to do both takes an incredibly adaptable player. Kaden’s dream is to “make it to league in both sports”, and although it’s an ambitious task, his skillset and work ethic have put him on the right track to do so. 

When Kaden is away from the field, he uses his sports IQ against his friends in Madden and MLB: The Show. He’s a big fan of the show Stranger Things and his favorite rapper is J.Cole. Like many athletes, Kaden is superstitious; he wears USA socks during every baseball game, and for football games he writes the names of his late cousin and uncle on his wrist after taping up. Kaden has been greatly influenced by his dad, who he says is his “greatest mentor and favorite athlete.” From a young age, his dad taught him “the value of hard work and to respect the game.” Clearly, Tee Martin has coached him well. Even if there are obstacles on his path to success, Kaden knows that “failure is only feedback” and is equipped to overcome any bumps in the road that he encounters. 

With Kaden’s athleticism, intelligence, and work ethic, sports fans can expect big things from this young man. Kaden posts his highlights on the Press Sports App because “it’s a nice platform for athletes to share their sports clips and get exposure.” To keep up with his progress and see some crazy highlights, follow him on Press Sports @Kaden.7K. 

Article by Press Sports intern Adam Davault

Jackson Burkhalter: Football Athlete of the Week

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When people think of high school football, they most immediately shift their focus to Texas.  Recently, the southern state of Alabama has given the Lone Star State a run for its money. The Crimson Tide aren’t the only team in the state that features talented athletes, Spanish Fort High School features a plethora of Division One talents led by quarterback Jackson Burkhalter.  Jackson is a 2020 graduate and one of the best quarterbacks in the state. His current top three schools are all southern programs: UAB, Murray State, and Eastern Kentucky. It is clear that athletic prowess flows in the Burkhalter family as his younger brother is a nationally ranked tight end and has an offer from Ohio State.  Burkhalter came on the radar after an impressive last season including a game where he tallied 380 yards and four touchdowns, a performance he considers to be his most impressive.  

In the landscape of college recruiting, it is always vital to have unique skills that can separate you from your peers.  In Jackson’s case, he has both tangible and intangible qualities that have led college recruiters to venture to Spanish Fort.  He believes his vision, playmaking ability, arm strength and leadership are the biggest contributors to his success. With these skills in mind, it is no surprise his favorite athlete is Tom Brady but should be noted that his style of play is most similar to Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.  Although Jackson is already an accomplished athlete, he still remains a high school student and that is shown through in his love for music and Youngboy NBA, watching Breaking Bad, and playing NBA 2K.  

Burkhalter also understands the importance of education and the role it plays in the life of a student-athlete.  He has earned a 3.2 GPA throughout his time in high school and has enjoyed English the most out of all his coursework.  In addition to athletics and academics, Jackson likes to fish and has taken a keen interest in the business world. In his post-football life, he hopes to be able to own stock in either an NBA or NFL team.  Prior to a game, he prefers to listen to country music leading up to getting to the field where he then will switch to gospel music during the final preparation. As mentioned earlier, Jackson’s brother is also a football star and so it is unsurprising that his biggest mentor is from within the family.  Jackson named his dad as his biggest mentor and noted how he always reminds him to keep persisting through any and all adversity. Like almost all of the athletes we have honored at Press, Jackson’s ultimate goal is to make it to the NFL. But, unlike many other athletes at his age he has a clear plan to get himself there and to continue to succeed in life after football.

Christian Soto: Baseball Athlete of the Week

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FIU baseball coach Mervyl Melendez has been able to take different collegiate programs to new and considerable heights.  He has made the NCAA tournament and challenged the nation’s elite teams previously at Alabama State and Bethune Cookman. In his current role at FIU, located in the center of Miami, Melendez has put a premium on the importance of recruiting and specifically recruiting Florida’s fertile young talent.  One example of this initiative is the recent commitment of Central Pointe Christian Academy’s star infielder Christian Soto. Soto is a gifted athlete in the Class of 2022 from Kissimmee who currently plays for the well-respected FTB Tucci Cleveland 15U travel team. Although he is only entering his sophomore season, Christian attracted the interests of many programs before making his commitment to the Panthers. 

 Soto has an ultimate goal to make it to the major leagues and he certainly has a good role model to look up to.  Christian lists Javier Baez as his favorite athlete and revels in how he “plays the game lose and just has fun”. Of course, many high school baseball players have a similar dream about reaching the professional ranks but Christian’s work ethic and dedication separates him from his peers.  In this day and age, strength training has become a vital part of baseball development. Understanding this, Soto focuses on squats and deadlifts and is always eager to figure out new ways to help improve not only his skills on the field but his strength and stamina. On the diamond, Christian believes his hitting and his overall enthusiasm for the game are his best assets.  

Although baseball is Christian’s only competitive sport, he continues to play other sports for fun.  In fact, he lists his most impressive athletic moment as an instance combining multiple achievements.  Before a game, he dunked on his baseball coach during a 1 v 1 basketball game. Carrying that same energy into his game, he got a hit off future Cleveland Indians first round pick and flamethrower Daniel Espino.  This story encapsulates Christian’s enthusiasm and raw talent that makes him one of the best high school prospects in the state of Florida. Of course, Christian still is only a high school student and enjoys things such as playing Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and riding jet skis.  Something extremely interesting about him is that although he lives and grew up in Central Florida: home of Disney and Universal, he has never been on a rollercoaster. Coach Melendez and FIU have succeeded in bringing in talented Floridians to help bring the Panthers to the upper echelon of college baseball and should he not choose to go in the draft, Christian Soto is someone that fans in Miami need to be very excited about watching in the coming years.

Lyndi Rae Davis: Softball Athlete of the Week

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Odds were Lyndi Rae Davis was going to be big-time in the sports world. Born into a football family, she has made her own name for herself by playing softball. The football blood runs deep in her family, with her father and uncle coaching football at her high school, her other uncle, Bobby Lamb, is the head football coach at Mercer University, her cousin is a graduate assistant at South Carolina, and her grandfather is in the Georgia Coaches Hall of Fame. While football and softball have their obvious differences, Lyndi Rae claims the competitive drive of her family has helped her to accel in the sport she loves. The class of 2021 star has used that competitive edge to accumulate offers from some of the nation’s top schools such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and LSU. Ultimately, Lyndi Rae will be spending her four years after high school at the University of Georgia. 

While Lyndi Rae’s athleticism is unquestionably impressive, she gets things done in the classroom, too. She currently sports a 4.0 GPA at Calhoun High School in Georgia and her favorite subject is history. When she’s not on the diamond or in school, she enjoys hanging out with her friends and cooking. Also, she loves to fish, but with the demands of being a student-athlete, she doesn’t get too much time to do so. Lyndi Rae has big dreams for her softball career, which we at Press Sports believe she can achieve with her abilities. First, Lyndi Rae wants to win the Women’s College World Series, which is something that Georgia has never done. Second, she wants to play for the USA Olympic Team. She has already led her high school team to the Georiga 3A State Championship in 2017 and with her hard work, faith, and dedication, we believe Lyndi Rae will be the one to get this done. 

Lyndi Rae is also a huge fan of the MLB and an even bigger supporter of her hometown Braves. Her favorite athlete is Charlie Culberson, partly because she believes he is the most underrated player in baseball and because her father used to coach him. Also, she models her swing after the Braves superstar, Freddie Freeman, and we at Press Sports agree with this comparison. We are excited to watch Lyndi Rae dominate her remaining high school seasons, and even more excited to follow her collegiate career. You, too, can follow her hard work, commitment, and success on the Press Sports App @lyndiraedavis0!

Kobe Head: Baseball Athlete of the Week

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Throwing a no-hitter is something every young pitcher dreams about their whole life. Kobe Head has already turned that dream into a reality. In only his sophomore season at the Community Christian School in Georgia, he pitched a 13-strikeout no-hitter, while going ⅔ at the plate on the day. In that same year, he finished the season with a 1.2 ERA, and 35K’s in 30 innings of work. While pitching is his passion, he is not to be taken likely when he steps up to the plate. Kobe once hit 2 home runs and went 7 for 8 in the Elite 8 baseball tournament. On top of that, he batted an astounding .523 in his sophomore season.

Kobe graduates in 2020 and playing ball in college is his dream. Currently, he is juggling offers from Alabama A&M and Claflin University, but he is talking to several other coaches and not in a rush to make the right choice. Kobe’s college decision will not be purely based on athletics, as he is stellar student-athlete sporting a 3.7 GPA, consistently on Honor Roll, and is a First Team Academic All-American. He enjoys the subjects of math and science and also plays basketball for his high school. 

While it is no question that Kobe is dedicated to his game, he also likes to have a good time with his friends in his little free time. When he’s not on the diamond, he is either playing PlayStation and listening to music or even rapping himself. His favorite artists are Lil Keed and BabyTayRose, and his favorite movie is Friday. Kobe aspires to make it to the MLB, but would also be happy with playing overseas as he loves the game so much. At Press Sports, we are excited to see where Kobe attends college and are looking forward to following his promising future.

You can stay up to date Kobe’s achievements on the Press Sports App @kobehead2

Drew Burress: Baseball Athlete of the Week

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Drew Burress, like his favorite artist, Kodak Black, has tunnel vision. The 14-year-old IMG Academy outfielder aspires to be a first-round draft pick and prides himself on his confidence and swagger. He’s already ranked within the Top 1000 players in the nation, according to Perfect Game, and he will continue to climb up that list with his relentless work ethic. After taking a trip to Cooperstown with his father, Drew knew he wanted to be amongst the legends there and will not stop working until the mission is accomplished.

While Drew touts himself on his hard work and dedication to the game, the supernatural may play a factor into his success. For instance, he must wear more than one chain around his neck, and he doesn’t eat seeds or chew gum during a game. Also, his bat, glove, and helmet are always placed first on the bench. Say what you want, but it works. Superstition has made this young baller into a young superstar. 

When Drew is not on the diamond, you can find him in the woods. Drew, alongside with his father, loves to hunt deer, doves, and ducks. Drew has a very tight relationship with his father and one of his favorite memories is being playing on his Dad’s team in Cooperstown. Drew also enjoys playing MLB the Show during his free time. He loves Bryce Harper and Mike Trout and tries to model his game after these icons. If Drew continues to work as hard as he does with his given abilities, he can reach any goal he wants. At Press Sports we’re excited to see his promising career unfold and can’t wait to see where he goes to school or who he gets drafted by. You too can track Drew’s success by following him on the Press Sports App @DrewBurress8.

Chooch Carroll: Softball Athlete of the Week

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Two, Four, Six, Eight, Chooch Carroll only knows one thing; dominate. The superstitious superstar completes everything in her life, even her workout reps, solely in even numbers. Say what you want about it, but it works…really really works. Sporting a .997 fielding percentage and a .560 batting average, Chooch earned herself a multitude of college offers from some of the nation’s best schools such as the University of South Carolina, Auburn University, and Virginia Tech. Ultimately, South Carolina will get the honor of having Chooch on their squad.

Chooch Carroll’s stats are almost unbelievable. As a freshman at Cambridge High School, she was batting .720 with 12 home runs and was 32-0 on the mound when she called her own pitches. Chooch loves everything about playing softball and is grateful for getting to do what she loves every day, and even more thankful to continue her career at a premier softball university. On the slight occasions where she’s not playing or practicing softball, Chooch likes to sing, draw, and enjoy the outdoors. Also, Chooch wears jersey number 42 and it is no coincidence that her favorite movie is the Jackie Robinson Story, “42.” 

Chooch is more than just an athlete and is very motivated in every aspect of life. She claims to love the Press Sports App as it, “Gives players a voice to speak out about what [they] believe in and what [they] stand for.” Chooch wants to become president of the Free World and with her leadership skills, we at Press Sports will not be surprised to see her name on the 2036 ballot. She wants to be on the United States Olympic Softball team and one day make softball as popular as Major League Baseball. To follow her collegiate career (and maybe her presidential campaign) find her on the Press Sports App @gamecocks42!