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Uriah LeMay is next in line at Butler HS

The LeMays just keep getting better with time.

First, it was Christian LeMay, who signed with Georgia in February as the nation's fifth best quarterback. Now, it is his 6-foot-3, 195-pound younger brother, Uriah LeMay, who is quickly becoming one of the top receiver prospects in the Southeast -- if not the nation -- for the 2013 class.

The younger LeMay has scholarship offers from Virginia Tech, Georgia, Auburn, Florida State, Clemson and Kentucky, as well as strong interest from more than a dozen other schools.

"Of course he's a better athlete," Christian said of Uriah. "He's the one playing the actual skill position. I believe he's a great athlete, a whole lot bigger and stronger than I was at his age. He's also a whole lot wiser and more experienced about a lot of things. He's passionate about what he's doing. Every day we talk about how he can get better."

Christian maintains he's not just being humble nor trying to pump up his little brother. Probably not. Uriah surely doesn't need it. He's never been caught in Christian's shadow.

"Uriah is his own person," Christian said. "When we went to school together, everybody referred to me as Uriah's brother. Uriah is just a fun, outgoing person that loves to be around everybody. I'm more of an off-to-the-side kind of guy."

Uriah and the rest of his teammates are ready to make their own legacy after watching last year's seniors lead Butler High School to a 16-0 season and a state championship. They'll begin their own quest on Friday when they play another Charlotte-area powerhouse, Mallard Creek, in a highly anticipated matchup.

"Ready to go," Uriah said. "Get this first game out of the way. A lot of people are talking."

The LeMays' father, Stacey LeMay, will once again act as mentor and sounding board when the recruiting process heats up for Uriah. Admittedly, Stacey LeMay learned a lot after the last go round.

"Just being patient I think," he said of the lessons learned from Christian's recruitment. "Waiting it out and identifying what's important to you for that individual child as far as personality, physical ability, the moral aspects, the social aspects of the campus he's looking to select. Georgia was the school that fit Christian in all those aspects."

Obviously, there's a strong tie to Georgia, but don't immediately paint Uriah in red and black.

"I'd love to see him play with me but at the same time I know how the process is," Christian said. "I understand it. We've talked about it. I told him multiple times that he needs to go with his heart and go with what God's telling him to do."

While it would be nice to travel to just one school on fall Saturdays, Stacey LeMay realizes the brotherly bond is only one factor.

"They are very close but going to the same school is not mandatory for us," he said. "We want to find the best position for each child."

First-year coach Brian Hales will help Uriah as well. After being an offensive assistant at Butler, he was named head coach following Mike Newsome's departure to Kannapolis (N.C.) Brown.

Hales remembers being shocked last year when Christian, Butler's starting quarterback, faced a lengthy suspension for an on-campus incident and decided to finish his high school career via homeschooling before enrolling at Georgia in January. Because of Christian's recruiting stature, the suspension and subsequent withdrawal from Butler was big news and fueled Internet chat boards for weeks.

Hales, however, said there's no pressure on Uriah to improve the family name. He said the LeMays aren't bothered by gossip and that there's strong leadership from Stacey LeMay and his wife, who are both pastors.

"They know that's not the big picture," Hales said. "Uriah truly lives his life for God so he's not going to worry about what the world says or what outside people say. He's going to live the best way he knows how."

Chances are Uriah won't be the last LeMay recruitniks will be reading about. Just when two seemed like plenty, a third is working his way up the ranks: 5-9, 185-pound tailback Benjamin LeMay, who is in eighth grade.

"Man, I can't describe him really," Christian said. "He's a physical specimen, just seeing him on a daily basis and seeing how hard he works. Anytime I watch film, he's watching film with me. Anytime I'm working out, he's working out with me. His work ethic and just his physical build ... it's just something that is hard to be compared to."

Could young Benjamin actually be the most athletic LeMay?

"That's without a question," Christian said. "He's definitely the superior athlete out of the three."

Benjamin, however, can wait. 2016 is a long way away. Now is Uriah's time at Butler and he's ready.

"I'm just ready to come back in the spotlight," Uriah said. "Just got to carry the tradition that (Christian) left. Just trying to keep the cycle going and make this a dynasty."

Special connection

Riley Ferguson is genuinely taken aback that so many colleges are interested in him.

"It's unbelievable," the 6-2, 190-pound quarterback from Matthews (N.C.) Butler said. "Coming in as a freshman I didn't think I was going to get looks at all."

LSU was the first to offer Ferguson a scholarship. Michigan and Virginia Tech followed suit. Yet, unlike many other top quarterback prospects, Ferguson doesn't sound like he'll be an early commitment.

"It's special to me because LSU offered when I was so young," he said. "It's an exciting thing (to get early offers) ... but I'm letting all my offers come in then I'm going to make my decision in the end. Nobody's over anybody right now."

Still, Ferguson has already started mulling his options. He's visited Virginia Tech, Georgia and Clemson, and he's heard what recruiters think about his game.

"Probably my leadership," Ferguson said when asked about his strengths. "I'm a leader on the field and everybody can look at me and depend on me. When I get on the field, I'm going to work my hardest. I'm a winner. I love winning. I'm going to do anything it takes to win. ... Winning is such a big thing to me. I hate losing."

Ferguson didn't do any of that last year in his first season as a starter. As a sophomore, he helped Butler to a 16-0 record and a state title. He certainly had some help from LeMay.

Ferguson and LeMay have developed quite a bond that will strike fear against Butler's opponents' for the next two seasons. The chemistry is borne through spending time together on and off the field.

"We're always hanging out, doing stuff together," LeMay said. "He's a good quarterback, great arm, makes good decisions. I'm excited to play with him."

Whether it's playing video games, watching movies or practicing pass patterns, the two have been close friends since seventh grade when they started playing together in middle school.

"I've thrown to him so long," Ferguson said. "Our bond is just crazy now. I've thrown to him pretty much every day for the past four years. ... We know what the safeties and corners are going to do. He's going to run his route and I'm going to hit him on his break. And I already know he's going to catch it and get upfield."

Hales said the history between Ferguson and LeMay gives them special freedom on the football field, even if it sometimes keeps the boss in the dark.

"I can never tell what (pass patterns) they're going to run," Hales said. "I can tell based off defense what I think they'll run. They've got hand signals and all kinds of things going on. I have no idea. It's good. It works."

All too well.

Dave Hooker covers Southeast and Atlantic Coast recruiting. He has covered recruiting and college football for more than a decade. Email him at davehookerespn@gmail.com.