Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton vs. Snellville (Ga.) South Gwinnett
There was plenty of prospects in this game, but the top ones really stepped up, and made plays in the first round of the playoffs. Milton lost the game 27-20, but four-star defensive end Carl Lawson (Auburn commitment) made an impact. He had a couple of sacks and he hurried the quarterback a few times. He was not a real factor against the run, but in passing situations, he showed his speed off the ball, his ability to dip the shoulder, get around the corner, and attack the quarterback. Ole Miss commitment Peyton Barber was very impressive in the run and passing game. He is a very strong runner, he runs with good balance, but the most impressive thing about him in this game may have been his hands. He has the best hands on the team. He is not a blazer, but very strong, durable, and productive. The Eagles have a quarter of D1 offensive linemen, but the one that played the best in this game and may have the most upside is TCU commitment Eason Fromayan. He has a very good frame, he moves his feet the best, and he could be a tackle or guard on the next level. Treyvon Paulk split time with Barber and the 2014 running back was impressive. He is a slasher that runs with speed and quickness.
South Gwinnett got off to a hot start offensively and quarterback Jordan Ramey was a big part of that. He is a 6-foot-4, 180 pound gunslinger at quarterback and although he needs to really work on his mechanics, he showed a live arm, he made some big throws, and showed the ability to really scan the field. His top target was junior wide receiver Coray Keel. His one to really watch. I expect him to emerge as a high level D1 target in the coming months. He scored an 80 yard touchdown after catching a short pass and turning up the field and showing that burst and speed. He was open all night, especially deep, and with his size, speed, and hands, he is a legit prospect. Reggie Carter closed the game out for the Comets with a sack and that was his second in this game. He was moved around from linebacker to end all night depending on the down and distance. He was effective at each. He looks like an ideal inside linebacker with his 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame to add good weight at Georgia. He really attacks the ball and he showed good instincts in this game.
Jamie Newberg, National Recruiting Analyst
Lake Wales (Fla.) vs Bradenton (Fla.) Southeast
Courtney Allen is an ultra-smooth junior running back prospect from Southeast. He's a diminutive back (5-8/185) but that runs bigger than his size. Allen is not afraid to lower his shoulder and run through you. He'll run between the tackles but is most effective getting to and around the perimeter because of his outstanding speed. In the open field Allen is dangerous because of his quickness as well. I would have loved to have seen Allen get more touches. He had around ten, including a touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.
Lake Wales has a talented senior defensive linemen in Bobby Leath. Leath, 6-foot-3 and 290-pounds, plays defensive end for the Highlanders. On this night he started a little slow but then really picked things up with several nice plays against Southeast, including a second half sack and perhaps a touchdown saving tackle on a kick return. This kid is pretty athletic. Look for him to slide inside and play defensive tackle in college. Sophomore center Luke Hiers is very impressive, especially in the run game. He's already has good size (6-4/260) and terrific feet. Hiers has time to develop his pass pro game. 2015 safety Marcus Walker had a good night with six or so open field tackles. Meanwhile, junior tight end Dav'ion Riley had a quiet night. He was only targeted on one play and finished with no receptions.
John Garcia, Southeast Recruiting Analyst
Moultrie (Ga.) Colquitt County vs Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern
In a thrilling game in which Colquitt County narrowly pulled it out to advance to the second round of the 6A playoffs, some offensive players stole the show. CC quarterback Cole Seagraves isn't the flashiest passer or most elusive runner, but he's efficient in both regards and paced the tempo all night long en route to a win. Seagraves was 22 of 28 passing on the evening, and he proved tough as a runner on a pair of scores despite limited space. He made the right decisions more times than not and executed completion after completion with accuracy and enough touch. 11 of his connections were with Ole Miss commit Bobby Hill, who is a crafty receiver in open space. He may project best in the slot, but his route-running and speed is good enough to play on the outside at the next level. The 6-foot-0, 165-pounder is one of the smoothest players in the Peach State in terms of how easy he makes routine catches look.
McEachern didn't throw the ball nearly as well as Colquitt County did, but that doesn't mean the quarterback wasn't excellent. Ty Griffin, a senior who doesn't get the pub compared to his teammates, was a nightmare for the Pack's defense. He constantly brought the Indians back when it seemed like the game was getting out of reach - and he did it as a runner, passer and receiver. Griffin is more quick than fast with the ball in his hands, but he has good enough speed to break big gains. It showed en route to 176 yards on the ground, 40 through the air and another 35 as a pass-catcher. His position may not be settled when projecting him to the next level, but Griffin has the tools to play FBS football.
Geoff Vogt, Florida Recruiting Analyst
Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) Dwyer vs Oakland Park (Fla.) Northeast
The first round of playoffs kicked off Friday night and this was perhaps the most intriguing game in the 7A classification. Dwyer won 25-3 behind a stifling defense and the strong play from junior wide receiver's Johnnie Dixon and Ezra Saffold. Dixon (5-10/180) is a burner, but he really did most of his damage working underneath. We liked the way that he caught the football and he could easily project to either side of the football at the next level as a wide receiver or cornerback. Dixon already sports some major BCS offers including UF and FSU. Saffold (5-8/165) is very explosive with Roscoe Parrish type moves in the open field. He will likely be recruited as a slot receiver and he has the attributes to be a BCS level prospect. A beautiful TD catch was his highlight of the night.
Northeast will likely be kicking themselves for not getting the football to all-everything wide receiver Stacy Coley. Coley (6-1/180) was open all night, but the Northeast quarterback struggled mightily all evening. NE recovered a fumble on The Opening kickoff inside the Dwyer 10 yard line, but did not go to Coley who was manned up on the wide side of the field. In hindsight that was a mistake as Coley is just about unstoppable in one on one situations. Coley is still considering FSU, Tennessee, Miami, Oklahoma State among others. All was not lost for NE as senior running back Jamaal Wallace had a strong night with many clutch runs. He's not the biggest running back in the country (5-8/165), but has good speed and vision and flat out made things happen.
Dwyer advances to host Boyd Anderson in round two. Interestingly both district champs (Northeast and Atlantic) lost to the runner-ups (Dwyer and Boyd Anderson) in the first round.
Mike Bakas, Florida Recruiting Analyst
Winter Haven (Fla.) vs New Smyrna Beach (Fla.)
It was a battle of two very good football teams, as Winter Haven advanced to 10-1 on the season. The Cudas finished their season at 9-1. Both teams featured a talented playmaker, and they were the two best players on the field in this game.
Winter Haven running back Adam Lane ran for over 150 yards and a touchdown. He showed some pretty good speed on a long first half touchdown. However, his game is best suited between the tackles. He doesn't make a lot of people miss and isn't much of a threat as a pass-catcher but he can flat out get you the tough yards inside. He's a downhill runner who breaks a lot of tackles at the high school level. It'll be interesting to see how well his game will translate to the college level since breaking tackles won't be quite so easy. However, he has good running instincts and the three-star prospect is already committed to Florida.
For NSB, their top prospect is senior wide receiver James Clark, and he was the best player on the field for the Cudas. The game's top receiver, Clark lacks ideal height at just under 6-feet but has the speed to be an outside receiver in college. He has tremendous straight ahead speed and flashes good ball skills. He caught eight or nine passes for over 100 yards in this game. He lacks ideal quickness to play in the slot and the size to be an ideal X receiver so that's probably why he doesn't have even bigger offers. He can fly, however, and he's a playmaker. He's already visited Purdue and has plans to see a few more mid-range BCS schools in the coming weeks and months.
Yancy Porter, Mississippi Recruiting Analyst
Noxubee County (Miss.) vs Itawamba AHS (Miss.)
Ashton Shumpert (Itawamba AHS) sustained leg cramps in the first half. This took away his explosiveness while playing tailback but he was still in on several tackles while manning the safety position. The 6-foot-2 and 210-pound athlete finished the season with over 1,800 yards rushing despite missing the first four games with mono. Charles Moore for Itawamba also had several nice plays on defense while also being a focal point on offense this year with over 1,300 yards rushing.
Dylan Bradley (Noxubee County) helped shut down the Indians offense and limited them to three points. He had two sacks and four additional tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Defensive end Javancy Jones for the Tigers helped solidify the other end of the defensive line and stayed in the Indians backfield as well. Darrell Robinson added a touchdown on the offensive side of the ball and is now five touchdowns short of setting the state season record.
Noxubee County faces their old head coach Friday against Louisville for the North Half Championship.
Kristen Ledlow, Florida Recruiting Analyst
Lovejoy (Ga.) vs East Point (Ga.) Tri-Cities
Lovejoy High School notched its first-round playoff win in an unexpectedly decisive win over Tri-Cities High School Friday night. Tri-Cities' Shamire DeVine, currently committed to Georgia Tech, did not play. He says he's feeling good after 'going to hard in practice' and will be able to train again in the coming days. He also admits that his commitment to Georgia Tech is '100%' solid. Lovejoy's A.J. Jackson, currently committed to Auburn University, is not as solid. Jackson, a 6-foot-5 and 240-pound tight end, admits that his commitment could be swayed by a possible coaching change at Auburn. He will visit others, including Florida State, Tennessee and Ole Miss.
Amy Campbell, Florida Field Reporter
Perry (Fla.) Taylor County vs Yulee (Fla.)
Derrick Henry made history Friday night when he broke a record that had been in place since 1953. The Yulee running back topped Ken Hall's 11,232 all-time high school rushing yards record and now sits on the top of the list with 11,612-yards. Henry broke the record at the beginning of the second quarter when he broke loose on a 52-yard touchdown run. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Alabama commitment finished the game with 482-yards on 58 carries and 6 touchdowns in Yulee's 41-26 win over Taylor County.