Gus Parrish stands 6 feet 4. He weighs 302 pounds. He can bench-press more than 300 pounds. But when he talks about his strength, Potomac's senior lineman is most proud of his lower body after spending the summer doing curls, squats and other exercises to build his leg muscles.
"They've got to be strong, not just big," said Parrish, who hopes the extra work will help him avoid the minor knee injuries that bothered him last season. "You've got to be able to push."
Parrish figures to do plenty of pushing this season for the Wolverines, who reached the Maryland 2A final a year ago and are expected to contend in the postseason again in the fall. Potomac likes to run a spread formation, and Coach Eric Knight thinks one of team's biggest assets is its offensive line. In addition to Parrish, the Wolverines also feature tackle Brandon Jackson (6-8, 320) and center Reggie Berry (6-2, 266), who joined Parrish with their commitments to the weight room this summer.
"Everybody likes to see what they look like from the waist up," Knight said, remembering a 1995 playoff loss to Linganore that he believes was partly due to the Lancers having better lower body strength than Potomac's players. "That's where they judge a lot of their power. But the power comes from the waist down."
Shifting his focus to lifting with the lower body was quite a change for Parrish, who this season will move from tackle to guard after Potomac added junior Terrell Poe (6-4, 340).
"Legs, it just wasn't the thing," Parrish said. "But when you go to camps and see these big country boys, they got legs. They've got [great] leg strength, you've got upper body strength. But some dudes with a lot of upper body strength were getting beaten off the ball by guys because they had leg strength."
Others to Watch:
* Anthony Perkins and Robert Norris, DeMatha: Stags duo have committed to Syracuse and Virginia Tech, respectively. Perkins and Norris will be counted on to deliver for high-powered offense that averaged 33.7 points per game last season.
* Thomas Claggett and Patrick Mimms, Douglass: Mimms transferred from Parkdale, giving Eagles perhaps the most imposing defensive line in the county.
* Phillip Taylor, Gwynn Park: Penn State and Maryland are among the schools interested in the 6-5, 340-pound junior who is the Yellow Jackets' only returning starter on the offensive line.
* Antonio Logan-El and Rashad Maybin, Forestville: Logan-El, a junior who committed to Maryland, plays tackle. Maybin is a three-year starter at guard.
-- JOSH BARR