Ogletrees' coach says ability was obvious early

Newnan High School football players Alec and Alexander Ogletree are arguably the state’s most famous twins. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Alec is rated as one of the nation’s top college prospects at safety, while Alexander -- nicknamed "Zander" as a toddler -- is 5-10 and 205 pounds and an All-State candidate at linebacker. The twins have both accepted scholarship offers from UGA.

This season, AJC reporter Michael Carvell and photographer Jason Getz followed the twins as they dealt with the pressures of the recruiting process, newfound stardom, and Newnan's pursuit of a state championship that ended in the Class AAAAA semifinals.

Newnan coach Mike McDonald spoke about the twins:

This was my first year as head coach at Newnan, but I was defensive coordinator the previous two years.

When I got there in 2007, the twins were starters from the first day on defense. It was very evident to me that they both were very good football players, passionate about the game, and loved to compete. We had a good season that year, making it to the state quarterfinals. Those two were a big reason why. They sure didn't play like sophomores.

We had a highlight tape for Alec after the season, and the first three plays were big-time hits against Griffin, South Gwinnett and Carrollton. Alec came up and blew those guys up. When the college scouts stopped by the school and watched film, those three plays were about all they needed to see before offering a scholarship. I wasn't surprised. You could always tell the sky was the limit for Alec and that he was a major [Division 1] guy.

I just think it's funny that when Alec showed up at the school as a freshman, our defensive backs coach told him to come over with his group. Alec had wanted to play wide receiver, and it was about three weeks before our offensive coaches had realized what happened. It all worked out for the best, though.

However, there's no doubt that if Alec had played on offense for all four years, he'd be one of the top prospects in the country at wide receiver. We needed him on offense this year, and he had a one-handed touchdown catch against No. 1-ranked Grayson to give us the lead. Of course, he also blocked a field goal with nine seconds left to preserve the win [in the quarterfinals].

With Zander, I'll never forget one day at practice during his sophomore year. ... He was supposed to cover an offensive player who went into motion. But Zander lost his focus, and the guy caught the ball around the 15-yard line in the flat. Zander never gave up on the play, though. He dove at the 1 with everything he had and went head-first into a fence post about three yards off the side of the practice field.

It knocked his helmet off, and we thought he had just about killed himself. Zander had to get about 10 stitches. This was on a Wednesday, and two days later on Friday, he played in the game and didn't miss a single play or tackle. I'll never forget that.

They both are super kids, and they never let all the recruiting or hype go to their heads. They are hard workers and deserve everything they are getting. They have great parents, and it has been a real blessing for me to coach those two. You don't get to coach two like that very often.

I'm going to miss them but also enjoy seeing them do good things at the University of Georgia.