NORTH FULTON/FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Nearly 50 North Fulton and Forsyth County graduates competed in the NCCA FBS bowl games this season, including in Monday’s National Championship.
Seventeen of the 19 North Fulton and Forsyth County schools were represented during this year’s bowl games. Roswell and Milton had the most graduates on rosters, each with eight in the 40-game bowl schedule. Georgia State had the highest number of local grads with nine, followed by Wake Forest with four.
The national title game between Alabama and Georgia on Monday featured six local graduates from five different North Fulton schools.
Josh Moran of Milton, Blessed Trinity’s Jake Skole and Northview grad Turner Fortin were on the roster for Georgia in the playoff finals. All underclassmen, the trio of North Fulton products are still vying for playing time.
For Alabama, Roswell’s Xavier McKinney, Hunter Bryant of Fellowship Christian and Scott Meyer of Blessed Trinity all sought the championship ring. McKinney, a freshman safety, appeared in five games for the Crimson Tide this year and had eight total tackles. Senior walk-on tight end Meyer earned his first playing time earlier this season against Mercer.
McKinney’s Tide beat Clemson in the semifinals of the College Football Playoff, ending two of his former Roswell teammates’ seasons. Freshman cornerback LeAnthony Williams and sophomore linebacker Tre Lamar both play for the Tigers. Lamar earned multiple starts this season, accounting for 52 total tackles, four sacks and a forced fumble, before an injury sidelined him late in the season.
Perhaps the biggest bowl performance from a local was that of West Forsyth alum A.J. Erdely. The UAB junior quarterback threw for 2,331 yards this season with 16 touchdowns. He was 24-45 for 254 yards in the Blazers’ 41-6 loss to Ohio in the Bahamas Bowl. Four of those completed passes went to Chattahoochee graduate Collin Lisa, who accounted for 55 yards receiving.
North Forsyth grad Colby Gossett ended his collegiate career with Appalachian State in the Dollar General Bowl on Dec. 23. Gossett, an offensive lineman, was named All-Sun Belt for the second consecutive season this year.
University of Central Florida junior linebacker and Blessed Trinity alum Pat Jasinski led the Knights in tackles this season on their way to a perfect 13-0 season with their win over Auburn in the Peach Bowl.
Auburn had two former North Fulton players on its roster, including Cambridge’s Craig Carter and Malik Willis of Roswell. Willis, a freshman, appeared in five games for the Tigers this season accounting for 45 yards passing, 221 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
The Alamo Bowl pitting Stanford against TCU included two former North Fulton rivals facing off again. Milton graduate and junior offensive lineman Nick Wilson lined up against Alpharetta alum Michael Downing, Jr. Each saw playing time in the thrilling game. Downing, a safety, had two tackles while Wilson powered the Cardinal to 369 yards of total offense.
King’s Ridge graduate Penny Hart had another standout season as a receiver with Georgia State. Hart compiled 74 receptions for 1,121 yards with eight touchdowns. He had one reception for 27 yards against Western Kentucky in the Panthers’ first-ever bowl win in the Autonation Cure Bowl Dec. 16.
He was joined on the Panthers’ sideline by seven other former local standouts, including fellow King’s Ridge grad Remy Lazarus and Forsyth Central’s Jacob Nesmith.