Velez scores, Forristall starts in college football opening weekend

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It was the first weekend of NCAA college football and several former Bartow County and high school players showed up and showed out in their season debuts.

Former Tiger Hiram Velez had a big game in his Division I debut after spending two years at the junior college level.

Fellow Adairsville grad and JUCO product DeAndre Applin also has had a strong start to the season for Georgia Military College. He already has at least one Division I offer with several more on the way if he can continue his strong play.

Former Cartersville Canes also had impressive season debuts. Upperclassmen and former Cane receivers Hayes Linn and T.L. Ford started and made an impact on their teams in the opening week of Division I football.

Miller Forristall, meanwhile, just nine months removed from a touchdown catch in the state championship game at the Georgia Dome, started for Alabama in its opener at AT&T Stadium.

Tyler Reed did not start in his debut for Austin Peay, but did have a strong game, racking up tackles as he did with the Canes. Like Reed, another former Daily Tribune News Defensive Player of the Year, Isaiah Ross, has had double-digit tackle games in each of his first two at NAIA Point.

For Cass, offensive lineman Lucas Johnson saw action for Georgia State, while Da’Kelin Wells stuffed the stat sheet for Maryville.

Quadre Allen (Tusculum So., Woodland) — Allen had one tackle Thursday in a 13-10 overtime loss to Virginia-Wise.

DeAndre Applin (Georgia Military So., Adairsville) — Applin and GMC have played two games this season. The hard-hitting safety had five solo tackles in his first game. He also had a diving interception and a pass breakup near the goal line in his second game.

T.L. Ford (UNC Charlotte Jr., Cartersville) — Ford had two receptions for 53 yards, second on the team, including a long of 39 and a 14-yard first-down reception in UNC Charlotte’s 70-14 loss at Louisville Thursday.

Miller Forristall (Alabama Fr., Cartersville) — Forristall started his first collegiate game in a two-tight end set opposite O.J. Howard in Alabama’s big 52-6 win over USC Saturday.

Kalin Heath (UAB Fr., Cartersville) — While UAB is not playing this season, the team had its green and gold game on Aug. 29 as it prepares for the 2017 season. Heath ran for 74 yards on just five carries in the game.

Lucas Johnson (Georgia State So., Cass) — Johnson played in five games at offensive tackle off the bench last year, and saw action in Georgia State’s 31-21 loss to Ball State on Friday.

Hayes Linn (Air Force Academy Sr., Cartersville) — Linn had three tackles, two solo and a pass breakup in his first start at cornerback for Air Force after playing safety his first three years. Air Force defeated Abilene Christian Saturday at home, 37-21.

Jamar Posey (Birmingham Southern Jr., Woodland) — Posey saw action Saturday in Birmingham Southern’s 47-27 home loss to LaGrange.

Mark Quattlebaum (UNC Charlotte So., Cartersville) — Quattlebaum had one reception for six yards in UNC Charlotte’s 70-14 loss at Louisville Thursday.

Tyler Reed (Austin Peay Fr., Cartersville) — The 2014 and 2015 DTN Defensive Player of the Year, making his collegiate debut, made three tackles, two solo, and had a tackle for loss off the bench at linebacker in Austin Peay’s 57-17 loss at Troy.

Chaz Rokins (Maryville Jr., Cass) — Rokins was second on the team with five carries, but ran for negative-two yards in a 34-33 loss at Berry College Saturday.

Isaiah Ross (Point Jr., Woodland) — The 2013 DTN Defensive Player of the Year, Ross has started the season as a standout on Point’s defense. He led the team with 13 tackles, nine solo, and forced a fumble in his first game against No. 11-ranked Reinhardt. He then had 11 tackles, nine solo, with one tackle for loss against Mississippi College in Point’s second game of the year.

Brandon Thompson (Tusculum Sr., Woodland) — Thompson saw action Thursday in a 13-10 overtime loss to Virginia-Wise.

Shelby Townsend (Georgia Southern So., Woodland) — Townsend saw action in Georgia Southern’s 54-0 win over Savannah State.

Hiram Velez (Troy Jr., Adairsville) — Velez made a big play in his debut for Troy. He caught a 47-yard touchdown pass with Troy trailing in the second quarter when he beat his man on a deep fly route. He finished the game as Troy’s second-leading receiver with two receptions for 53 yards

Da’Kelin Wells (Maryville Jr., Cass) — Wells made three tackles, forced a fumble and broke up a pass in Maryville’s 34-33 loss to Berry College Saturday.