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Norcross looks to build off of 'exciting' spring ahead of summer workouts

The Norcross Blue Devils will wrap up their spring practice a spring game against Buford on Thursday

The start of the 2024 Georgia High School Association football season is just over three months away, however team across the state will have the next two weeks for spring practices leading up to spring games. For the Norcross Blue Devils head coach, Keith Maloof, when the official calendar year begins for next season, he will embark on his 26th season has the the Blue Devils head coach.

"It's always exciting to watch the young kids through spring practice," Maloof said of being able to see how players have developed since walking off the field back in December at season's end and putting in work over the past few months.

"It's exciting to see the young kids step up and accept a tough role when they may have been a backup the year before," Maloof added as he and his staff have been able to identify players that will be able to step in and fill need roles and the focus these last few days will be for the Blue Devils to "stay healthy through the rest of spring and get into the summer," which Maloof says the mindset of his players needs to locked in on getting ready for the season as they will get things started with a scrimmage against Grayson.

"That will give a good idea going into the season what we have," Maloof said, noting that Norcross will then open their regular season a week later against the Lanier Longhorns, coached by his son Tyler Maloof, followed by Mill Creek, who won the Georgia High School Association Class 7A state title in 2022 and then Walton, who played in the 7A title game last season.

Indeed "tough" non-region opponents lined up for the Blue Devils once the season begins, however Maloof notes that the early schedule will only prepare them for facing off against just as tough region opponents. "That's why I like to do it, because it will get us prepared for later on down the road against our region teams and for the playoffs hopefully," Maloof said.

And as far as key Norcross players the Blue Devils will rely on to have productive seasons, quarterback Dillion Mohammed, who will be heading into his final senior season, will take over at quarterback, replacing Arrington "AJ" Watkins and Maloof says the rising senior "has done a really good job. He played a good bit last year so we were able to get him under center so I feel good about his experience coming back, Maloof said, noting that Mohammed through close to 1,000 yards last season.

The Blue Devils will enter the season with a young offensive line led by rising junior, Cole Hilsmier and Maloof says he and his staff believe that in order for Norcross to have a successful season, it has to start with the guys up front and they feel good about that group. And with wide receivers Jahsaun Clarke, Alex Garnett and Jamari Harold returning along with Kevin Maven and Kobe Robinson in the backfield, Maloof says the Blue Devils are in a good spot, but he would like to see "a little more depth" in their positions.

Defensively, Maloof noted the return of several key players including cornerbacks, Lionel Burns III and Kenneth Clark as well as linebackers Ezekiel Theodoris, who Maloof described as "a man amongst himself" and Esias Tompkins and once again stating that he believes the Blue Devils are in a good space, however, Thursday when they take on Buford for their spring, "we'll find out a good bit about this group,".


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