We were at a handful of games around the Southeast this past weekend including games in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.
Chad Simmons, National Recruiting Analyst
Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Blackman vs Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Oakland
This was No. 2 vs. No. 3 in Tennessee's highest classification and it was a defensive struggle. There was a lot of big hits, some big turnovers, and the team that turned the ball over the least won that game.
Oakland moved to 9-0 with a 9-3 win over Blackman. Emmanuel Smith picked off a Jauan Jennings pass late in the game and that sealed the deal. Smith is a 2014 safety committed to Vanderbilt and the Commodores are getting a good one. Smith has great size and he is a very instinctive player. He should see the field early in Nashville. His brother, Josh Smith is a junior linebacker and he is a four-star on Scout. He is athletic, he has great length, and he moved well in space in this game. Another junior for Oakland is Tennessee commitment Jack Jones. He lined up at right tackle and did his job all night. He led the running backs, he was solid in protection, and he is only going to get better as he fills out his frame.
The top prospect on Blackman's team is athlete Jauan Jennings. At quarterback he finished with 112 yards passing and he had three turnovers in this game. He made some big throws and showed good athleticism when the play broke down. He also played safety and he may have more upside as a free safety on the next level. He has around 10 scholarships at this time and he visited Ohio State over the weekend.
Thomaston (Ga.) Upson Lee vs Griffin (Ga.)
Griffin entered this game undefeated and one of only nine teams in all of Georgia that had won each game by at least 21 points this season. That didn't change Friday night. Griffin cruised to a 43-13 victory and the Bears impressed. The star of the night was junior athlete Keyston Fuller. He finished with 219 all-purpose yards and he had a touchdown receiving and on a kick-off return. He has an offer from North Carolina and he will add others. He is very quick, he is great in space, and he can help on offense and special teams. Another couple of juniors had strong nights too and they were linebacker Jordan Colbert and Georgia commitment Christian Owens. Owens had over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown while Colbert delivered a couple of big hits and stayed around the ball on defense. Expect Colbert's recruitment to pick up as more schools see him. Senior quarterback Jaquez Parks threw three touchdown passes and although he may not have elite size or the strongest arm, he is a legit prospect. He sees the field well, he is a dual-threat quarterback, and he will be successful on the next level.
Upson Lee is a young team and their top prospect is 2016 defensive tackle David Marshall. He was in the backfield often, he is athletic, and he is the type of player that schools offer early. Expect Marshall to pick up offer one in the near future. Another sophomore to keep an eye on is Kenderius Pennyman. He is a physical running back who had a big year as a freshman, but he looks more like an inside linebacker on the college level. He had a nice kick return and some nice stops at linebacker in this game.
Pat Burnham, Florida Recruiting Analyst
St. Johns (Fla.) Bartram Trail High School vs Palm Coast (Fla.) Matanzas High School
Bartram Trial took a 7-0 lead early midway thru the first quarter and never looked back on it's way to a 41-14 win over Matanzas on the road Friday night. Senior quarterback P. J. Blazejowski and sophomore running back David Coleman were the stars offensively for Bartram Trail. Blazejowski, who is committed to Furman, completed 13 of 24 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 54 yards on eight carries most of which were scramble plays when pass protection broke down. The signal-caller was inconsistent early missing on his first four throws but settled in and was more effective passing as the game went on. If it had not been for a handful of drops Blazejowski would have had a much better night throwing the ball. Coleman only touched the ball five times but ran for an eye-popping 24 yard average to finish with 123 yards including a 89-yard touchdown run. Coleman is small at 5-foot-6 but has great balance and is not afraid to run between the tackles. On his 89-yard gallop, Coleman burst through the middle of line, bounced off three would-be defenders leaving the rest to try and chase him down.
Bartram Trail offensive tackle Jesse Burkett, who is committed to Vanderbilt, was impressive despite playing with his left hand and wrist in a cast that made it impossible to lock up on a defender with both hands. Burkett, who is now receiving attention from Florida, has outstanding pass protection fundamentals and was effective but not dominant run blocking in large part because of the cast. Matanzas junior quarterback Jeremiah Wilson showed flashes of being solid passer when he had time to set his feet and find his receiver, which unfortunately for him was not the case most of the night.
Amy Campbell, Southeast Field Reporter
Friday: Bartow (Fla.) vs Haines City (Fla.) a
Haines City took out Bartow 36-11 Friday night and it was the move of running back Dacorious Law to quarterback that really sparked the offense. Law, a Utah
commitment, ran for 157-yards on 14 carries and a touchdown, and added two passing touchdowns. Haines City struggled with penalties throughout the night and lost more than 250-yards on more than 20 penalties. Safety Derwin James
continued to show why he is one of the nation's best in 2015. The Florida State
commitment ran a fumble recovery back 52-yards which lead to another Haines City touchdown.
The stars did what they were expected to do in this back-and-fourth battle, and Auburn held on for a 21-14 win despite a late drive by Alabama commitment
and Opelika, which drove down to the Tigers' 12-yard line with only seconds left to play. On the other side,
lived up to his four-star billing by taking care of his side of the field with an elite pass-rush and strong contain against the Bulldogs' run-heavy attack led by Roberts. The four-star ran well with patience and good burst despite moving to quarterback just a week ago because of an injury, but he struggled as a passer including on a pick sick returned by
Several underclassmen standouts held their own in the game like sophomore Auburn running back Tyus Flakes, who flashed speed and good balance at times. Opelika junior defensive end Quandeski Whitlow made some flash plays as well, with good range and raw talent at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds. But the top underclassmen talent in a star-studded game was 2015 three-star Jared Gentry, who lived in the Auburn backfield. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive tackle was able to use quickness and power all night long and even into the latter stages of the game. He has early SEC interest that should only pickup going forward.