1. Byrnes at Northwestern: This one will be a big one as Northwestern looks to rebuild after losing quite a bit of talent to graduation and continue their undefeated winning streak from last season. WR Dupree Hart will be depended upon heavily and QB Harper Woods and RB Julian Shockley will look to help pick up some of the load as well. Mason Rudolph's younger brother 2017 WR Logan Rudolph looked very impressive in 7on7 action at 6'2 195 pounds. Defensively the Trojans have a prospect to watch for in 2016 LB Trae'von Hinton. The Trojans checked in at #35 in the Scout.com Top 50 Poll that was released earlier this week.
Byrnes will be under the leadership of new head coach Brian Lane and the Rebels faithful are waiting to see how Lane's team opens things up with a tough challenge. Junior QB Micah Young will have weapons galore at his disposal in RB Isaiah Hill, RB Najee Bowens, WR Tavin Richardson, WR Braylin Collins, WR Jaylan Foster, and we hear freshman WR Demarcus Gregory will get some reps tonight as well. The Byrnes defense should see improved play with DC Phil Magdic also having quite a bit of talent on that side of the ball in DE Noah Dawkins, CB/S Lyrics Klugh, and company.
It should be a high scoring affair in Rock Hill tonight between Kyle Richardson's and Brian Lane's teams. Don't expect to get a ticket if you didn't buy one in advance, you can still enjoy it at home on the flat screen on ESPNU if you didn't as it'll be nationally televised.
2. Greenwood at Dutch Fork: This one should be a great matchup as well pitting last year's AAAA Division 1 state champs Dutch Fork against perennial powers Greenwood. Dutch Fork is loaded again and brings a potent offense featuring RB Matt Colburn as well as a stout defense featuring junior S/LB Stephen Davis Jr. and S Lane Ecton. All 3 have committed verbally already and are looking to defend their state title.
For Greenwood they come to town with a new offense in the mix and it should be key to WR Markeyvious Adams landing quite a few more offers as the 6'5 wideout's stats sort of suffered in the wing-T the past few seasons. He's one of the state's best and if they find some timing and chemistry they should be on their way back to prominence again.
3. Fort Dorchester at South Florence: South Florence will come into this one fired up as they went undefeated during the regular season last year and they have weapons in their backfield with QB Nick Jones and RB's and Michael Grimsley.
Fort Dorchester comes in as an underdog but they boast a nice group of prospects we've been hearing from our LowCountry friends. Their defensive line boasts 2015 prospects DE Myles White and DT Eurndraus Bryant. They won't make things easy for the Bruins offensively but the showpiece for Fort D is 2018 QB Dakereon Joyner who already holds a scholarship offer from South Carolina and has interest from some of the country's top colleges already. We'll have a feature on Joyner soon so stay tuned. We're looking forward to seeing how this battle unfolds!
4. How many yards will Tavien Feaster run for? The state's #1 prospect in 2016 faces Eastern Christian Academy (MD) and he's gotten stronger and reportedly faster. Cringe opposing defenses...cringe! ECA out of Maryland won't be a pushover though as they come with a pretty stacked squad lead by QB David Sills who's already committed to West Virginia.
Spartanburg junior QB Austin Scott isn't a slouch either as he's hearing from a number of schools in the ACC, Big Ten, and SEC early on. He'll have a tough opponent tonight and we'll see if his line can give him enough time to make plays when Feaster isn't toting the rock.
Feaster is currently rated the #2 running back in the country according to Scout.com but I challenge that due to his ability not only to run but also catch the ball. His gamebreaking speed in my opinion along with the ability to catch out of the backfield makes him my #1 running back in the nation, maybe I'm biased. Watch Feaster for yourself and see...
5. Dorman at Wade Hampton: Word is 2016 3-star QB Collin Hill may not play tonight against the Generals. The Cavaliers still have the state's #1 wide receiver in J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and they'll look to get the ball into his hands. We're still pushing for him to land his 4th star as we feel he's underrated here on Scout.com. Expect a big season statistically for the 2015 prospect who's already committed to Stanford even though teams will try to double team and gimmick defense him. We'll see how things unfold in Greenville for this one.
6. Gaffney at Union County: Okay Gaffney has been a perennial AAAA power here in South Carolina for years. Union County has been strong in AAA and with coach Steve Tanneyhill in charge the Yellow Jackets offense is well oiled featuring 2017 WR Shi Smith, 2016 WR's Roscoe Crosby, and Montrey Feaster after a disappointing 2-8 season last year.
We saw Gaffney a couple of times in 7on7 play this off season and they will be hard pressed to replace the production of both Shaq Davidson and Hyleck Foster from last season. Don't get me wrong they'll field a solid team but they'll need some new players to step up and emerge.
Don't be surprised to see Union County pull a mild upset here. Their offense is that potent especially with Shi Smith's ability to run by defenders and extra gear whenever he gets the ball in his hands. Things are looking up in Union.
7. Which prospects will be the next to step up and emerge on the recruiting radar with strong performances these first few weeks? It happens every season and we look forward to seeing some of the up and comers in 2016, 2017, and 2018 that play on Friday nights. 2018 guys like Byrnes WR Demarcus Gregory and Pelion ATH Dayrun Keith are already on the radar. Who's next?
As always football fans be safe and enjoy tonight's games...be sure to follow us on Twitter as we'll either be at Byrnes vs Northwestern or Dorman at Wade Hampton.
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