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Top 10 Recruits to Watch for in ESPN High School Football Kickoff Games

Andrew KulhaSenior Analyst IIIDecember 20, 2016

Top 10 Recruits to Watch for in ESPN High School Football Kickoff Games

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    Televised high school football kicks off in a big way this Saturday with the Geico ESPN High School Football Kickoff.

    Four teams will be featured, and plenty of top-notch recruits will be on the field. At 3:30 p.m. EST on ESPNLincoln (Fla.) will take on South Gwinnett of Georgia. At 7 p.m. EST, Booker T. Washington (Fla.) will square off with Norcross (Ga.).

    These are some marquee high school football programs, so the action is bound to be great.

    If you're a fan of college football recruiting, here are the 10 best recruits you'll be able to watch Saturday.

10. Coray Keel, 2-Star WR, South Gwinnett

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    Coray Keel is not ranked by 247Sports or the 247Sports composite rankings, but he is a 2-star recruit according to Rivals.com.

    Per Rivals, Keel is 6'2'' and 184 pounds, and he runs a 4.59 40. He's a big receiver with quick feet and good hands, and he runs crisp routes. In particular, Keel has a very effective stutter step. He also has good athleticism and can go up and high-point the ball over smaller defenders.

    According to Keel's 247Sports interest list, Georgia State, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas State and Minnesota are his leaders. 

9. Dennis Edwards, 3-Star OC, South Gwinnett

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    Per the 247Sports composite rankings, Dennis Edwards is the No. 24 center in the 2014 class, and he's committed to Western Kentucky.

    Western Kentucky fans, this is the guy you're going to want to watch Saturday.

     

8. Jeff Williams, 3-Star OLB, Lincoln

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    Louisville fans should try to tune in Saturday to watch Lincoln in action, as they'll get a chance to see the player who could potentially be their future outside linebacker. Jeff Williams committed to Louisville in April, per 247Sports.

    He's a long, lanky outside linebacker at 6'1'', 200 pounds, and he'll cause quarterbacks some trouble because of his length. He can drop back into coverage and get into passing lanes, but he's also quick and good in pursuit, and he can put a big hit on a ball-carrier.

    He projects to be a good outside linebacker who can be a force player on the edges.

7. Nigel Bethel II, 3-Star CB, Booker T. Washington

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    Nigel Bethel II is a 3-star cornerback who's committed to Miami, according to 247Sports. 

    He's the No. 38 corner nationally, per the 247Sports composite, which is pretty good considering the talent at the position this cycle. 

    Bethel has great reaction and vision when the ball is in the air. He has the speed to turn his hips and run on the vertical route, and he has good leaping ability and length. He'll get between the ball and the receiver.

    He has a quick break and isn't afraid to make an aggressive move, but he is disciplined and displays a knowledge of the scheme. He won't get beat deep much, and he'll be physical at the line. 

     

6. Kevin Mouhon, 3-Star ILB, Norcross

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    Per 247Sports, Kevin Mouhon is 6'2'', 225 pounds and runs a 4.60 40. That's a great combination of size and speed, especially for an inside linebacker, so he projects to be a good player for Tennessee, where he committed in late July of this year, according to 247Sports.

    Mouhon has a quick first step and gets downhill aggressively. He's not afraid to get physical with a lead blocker, rip off and make a play in the gap, and his speed will allow him to be a good pass-rusher in college. He'll be able to shoot the A-gaps and get after the quarterback.

    He's the type of linebacker who will win battles at the point of attack, and that's exactly what you look for in an inside linebacker. With that said, he's also terrific at dropping back into coverage and making plays.

     

5. Kendall Randolph, 4-Star S, Lincoln

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    You'll be able to see Kendall Randolph on the field in the first game of the day, representing Lincoln's defense. 

    Randolph is the No. 27 cornerback in the 2014 class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. 

    He's only 5'11'', 170 pounds, but he can play physically, and he's not afraid to come up to the line to make plays. He's fast enough to run vertically with receivers, and his length and athleticism allow him to go up and make plays on the ball. 

    Georgia is on top of his 247Sports interest list, followed by Florida State, Louisville and South Carolina. 

4. Myles Autry, 4-Star ATH, Norcross

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    Myles Autry is the No. 16 athlete in the nation, per the 247Sports composite, so he'll be a big-time recruit to watch Saturday. 

    Simply put, Autry is a playmaker. He's one of those guys a coach tries to get on the field as much as possible.

    He has good length and runs with long strides at 5'9'', 175, so he can cover a lot of ground and create separation. He is extremely elusive, has quick feet and makes sharp cuts. Autry can change direction on a dime, and he has the vision to see new running lanes open up. He's also hard to take down in a pile and somehow finds a way to keep his feet moving and escape trouble.

    He can play running back or wideout, or he can return punts. Florida State is at the top of Autry's 247Sports interest list, followed by Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Miami, Ohio State and Tennessee. 

3. Treon Harris, 4-Star ATH, Booker T. Washington

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    Treon Harris is going to be one of the stars on offense for Booker T. Washington, so it will be hard to miss him if you tune in Saturday night.

    Per the 247Sports composite, Harris is the No. 11 athlete nationally and is committed to Florida State. 

    He is 5'11", 180 pounds and runs a 4.58 40, per 247Sports. Harris has a strong arm and can be accurate both on the run or in the pocket, but he stands out most because of his ability to run.

    Harris is a patient runner who hits the hole hard once he sees the lane. He has good vision, cutting ability and elusiveness.

    Simply put, every time Harris touches the ball, he has the potential to make a big play.

    For the record, Florida State did recruit Harris as a quarterback

2. Chad Thomas, 4-Star WDE, Booker T. Washington

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    Chad Thomas is a big weak-side defensive end who will be good at the point of attack at the college level. He's 6'5'', 240 pounds, which is great for the weak-side position.

    He has ability to be physical with linemen, and he does a great job of ripping off and making plays. He should be able to set the edge because of his strength as a defensive end, but he also has great speed and playmaking ability.

    Thomas will be good in pursuit because of his 4.85 40 speed (per 247Sports). Combine that with his ability to get off blocks, and you've got one dangerous defensive end.

    Thomas is committed to Miami. He's the No. 3 weak-side defensive end, according to the 247Sports composite. 

1. Lorenzo Carter, 5-Star WDE, Norcross

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    Lorenzo Carter is one of the best recruits in the nation, so he's undoubtedly the player you'll want to keep an eye on if you watch Saturday.

    Carter is the No. 1 weak-side defensive end and the No. 5 player overall, per the 247Sports composite. 

    He's 6'5'', 232 pounds, so he's big and lanky enough to play with good leverage and set the edge at the line of scrimmage. That said, he makes the most plays when he's out in open space.

    He has 4.63 40 speed (per 247Sports) and utilizes it as a pass-rusher. He gets after the quarterback at a high clip, so offenses will always have to account for him.

    He can be a force player off the edge, and he can make plays in the flats or in open space, so he'll be able to excel in all three phases of defense—run defense, pass coverage and blitzing. 

    Carter could play with his hand on the ground in a 4-3 or as an outside linebacker in the 3-4. I personally think he fits best as an outside linebacker in college.

    His recently released top seven features Alabama, Georgia, Florida, LSU, Notre Dame, Oregon and Florida State. 

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