As expected, the top names in attendance provided most of the highlights with a few up and comers also flashing some skill during the evening's games.
A.J. Brown of Starkville High certainly lived up to his lofty billing. Brown nabbed a pair of touchdown catches against Carver and then used some solid ball skills to pull in the game winner over South Panola. Brown is going to get everybody's best shot and he saw a lot of attention from South Panola. Brown drew the Tiger's most talented corner who did his best to get physical with the talented four star. South Panola also shaded a safety over to Brown's side of the field to prevent him from getting deep. Starkville has some difficulty getting him the ball in the early going, but eventually got him involved in the game and ultimately got him the ball near the pylon where he simply beat his man for the score.
Kobe Jones of Starkville looked as good as I have seen him. Jones was in on a handful of tackles due to some solid back side pursuit. Jones plays with a tremendous amount of effort and looks good in the uniform. He has the frame to add some serious mass without hurting his quickness. He can play weakside defensive end or defensive tackle on the next level. I believe the slid inside is likely inevitable once Jones gets into a college strength and conditioning program. On Friday night, he was very good and looks to be stepping up as a leader for this team now that he is a senior.
Louisiana Tech verbal Lorenzo Dantzler is a hard worker. He is a bit of a tweener, but he is strong at the point of attack and is able to get off of blocks and in on tackles. He finds a way to make plays. Projected as a defensive end, Dantzler could end up playing any number of positions depending on his growth pattern. He could be a stand up backer in a 3-4 or play with his hand on the ground depending on the scheme utilized by his college team.
Drelan Porter of South Panola is also a guy with some solid potential and versatility. The Tigers like to move him around and give him room to operate. Porter lines up at defense end, but could play linebacker on the next level. Quickness is the name of the game for Porter. He gets out of his stance and up field with ease thanks to a very solid first step. He appears to enjoy a physical brand of football and when he identifies the ball carrier, he closes out the play. He will need to add some mass before taking on the college game, but he should be able to do so without hurting his overall athleticism.
O'Bryan Goodson is a name to remember for the 2017 class. The South Panola standout lined up some at linebacker, but seems destined for a spot as a defensive tackle on the next level. Goodson spent some time in the four point stance on Friday and he looks most natural playing on the interior. Goodson is still growing and could benefit from a couple of inches height wise, but he is already a handful on the inside. He plays hard and has a real blue collar appeal to him.
West Point four star offensive tackle Scott Lashley did not dress for the game, but was on hand to support his teammates. Lashley is recovering from a very minor injury and will be full go again as the summer workouts begin. He was held out of action as a precautionary measure.
Raekwon Davis of Meridian served double duty for the Wildcats sporting jersey numbers #74 on offense and #99 on defense. Davis was very active early on, but pad level became an issue for him due to his size. The West Point offensive linemen ran some double teams and forced Davis to play high, but he was still able to get in on some plays. He looked very, very good on the offensive line and his college and potential professional career may involve him making blocks rather than shedding them. Davis is a tremendous looking football player who simply has the God given size and athleticism that set him apart from many others.
Mississippi State verbal Zaire Jones looks like a college football player already. Jones has clearly dedicated himself to the weight room and it shows. Jones can play the deep third and is willing to come up in run support to make the play. Jones looks more physical this go around. He has been a known commodity throughout his high school career. Now a senior, Jones looks the part and showed some real effort last night. This Meridian defense should be one of the top ones in 6A and Jones should be the captain of that ship.
Bulldog commitment Quincy Lenton continues to impress. He is very, very active for a safety. Lenton can walk up into the box and make plays or he can play deep and then clean things up on the perimeter. He is very versatile and eager to get in on the action. He is a very big hitter considering his size. He plays bigger than his listed height and weight. Looking at Lenton's ability to flip his hips and run he could possibly play corner on the next level, but he is awfully good getting off the hash and into the fray as a safety.
Ole Miss commitment Daniel Crowell had a very good game against West Point. Crowell is a max effort guy who laid out for a slightly over thrown ball and nearly reeled it in. Crowell was able to beat his man and make plays outside the numbers including a long catch and run that set up the first Meridian score. He is a slot receiver on the next level who can use his quickness to create mismatches in the middle of the field and on the perimeter. There are some very good receivers in Mississippi and Crowell is certainly one of them.
Defensive tackle Julius Turner is a little on the short side, but he is active and much stronger than one would expect. Turner is able to get into gaps and be disruptive. He finds a way to knife through and make plays. If Turner is not able to make the play he creates a mess of things and provides an opportunity for one of his teammates to make the tackle.
Tray Warren is a name fans may want to familiarize themselves with. Warren played the past two seasons as a receiver, but is making the move to quarterback in an effort to replace Louisiana Tech signee J-Mar Smith at quarterback. Warren made some nice throws especially in the vertical passing game. He also moved back out to receiver in the second half and reeled in some passes as the underclassmen quarterbacks took over under center. Warren has the athleticism to surprise some people and should play his way into some college options as a senior.