The 2018 MetroPCS Corky Kell Classic will kick off the GHSA high school football season with a 3-day lineup that starts with double-headers at Rome's Barron Stadium (Aug. 16) and Georgia State Stadium (Aug. 17) and concludes with a five-game slate at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 18. Adding to the massive scale of this year's Corky Kell, and its ever-growing spotlight, will be some of the most talented prospects in the state. These elite playmakers will be setting the tone for the 2018 season, and after thorough consideration, we've narrowed down a list that features the top player to watch for each of the 18 teams participating in this year's event.
Ridgeland: Frederick Norman Jr.
Norman is a talented offensive tackle (6-foot-6, 295 pounds) that starred in Elite Junior Classic game this past December and will play a big role this season as the Panthers offense transitions from the Wing-T to a more modern passing attack. Look for Norman's leadership, physicality and athleticism to be Ridgeland's anchor in the trenches.
Calhoun: Davis Allen
Allen is a linebacker and tight end (6-foot-5, 220 pounds) that was recruited at both positions, but committed to Clemson as a tight end. In addition to his versatility on the gridiron, Allen is also a starter on Calhoun's basketball team and a left-handed pitcher on the baseball team. Listed as a three-star recruit by 247Sports, Allen is rated as the No. 46 inside linebacker in the country for the 2019 class.
Rome: Jamious Griffin
Griffin is Rome's feature running back (5-foot-10, 205 pounds) and is committed to N.C. State. He rushed for 1,276 yards and 28 touchdowns last season and has accounted for 60 total touchdowns over the last two seasons. The three-star recruit is rated as the No. 36 rated running back in the nation for the 2019 class.
Marietta: Arik Gilbert
Gilbert is two-way starter, 6-foot-5, 248-pound five-star and the No. 1 ranked Athlete in the nation for the Class of 2020. Gilbert plays tight end and defensive line and finished his sophomore season with seven touchdown receptions, six sacks and 62 tackles. At this summer's Corky Kell 7-on-7 Tournament, Gilbert and his quarterback Harrison Bailey were an unstoppable duo, helping the Blue Devils earn the No. 1 seed and taking a flawless record all the way to the tournament title.
Buford: Derrian Brown
Brown is a running back (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) and four-star recruit with more than 30 offers including Auburn, Alabama, Florida State, Florida, Georgia Tech and Michigan. Brown is the No. 14 ranked running back prospect in the nation for the Class of 2019 and will be the feature back behind a stout Buford offensive line this year after splitting carries with a loaded rotation last season that included Florida State signee Anthony Grant and Michigan signee Christian Turner.
Tucker: Derrick McLendon
McLendon is a 6-foot-3, 228-pound defensive end and the No. 44 overall prospect in the state for the Class of 2019. The physical and dominant McLendon committed to Florida State on June 28 and is rated as the No. 30 WDE in the nation for his class.
Archer: Andrew Booth
Booth is a cornerback (6-foot-1, 188 pounds) and five-star prospect that is the No. 3 ranked cornerback in the nation and the nation's No. 32ranked overall prospect for the Class of 2019. He is listed as the No. 7 overall recruit in the state of Georgia for his class and committed to Clemson on July 30 to join former Gwinnett County stars like Justin Mascoll of South Gwinnett and Kyler McMichael of Greater Atlanta Christian.
Milton: Joseph Charleston
Charleston is a safety (6-foot-2, 190 pounds) and four-star prospect that is listed as the No. 11 ranked safety in the nation and the No. 20 overall recruit for the Class of 2019. Charleston, who committed to Clemson on Oct. 10, 2017, will share the field at this year's Corky Kell Classic and play against his future teammate, Archer's Booth.
Kell: Evan Conley
Conley is Kell's returning leader and starting quarterback (6-foot-1, 205 pounds). The three-star Class of 2019 prospect committed to Appalachian State on June 13. Conley passed for 2,240 yards and 22 touchdowns last season while adding four rushing touchdowns in coach Brett Sloan's first year leading the Longhorns.
East Coweta: Gerald Green
Green is a running Back, (5-foot-9, 183 pounds) and three-star Class of 2019 prospect that is committed to Georgia Southern. Green rushed for more than 900 yards last season and accounted for 20 touchdowns, including three kickoff return touchdowns. Green could be leaned on more heavily this season following the graduation of quarterback Christian Reid.
Mill Creek: Jonathan Leech
Leech plays offensive tackle, (6-foot-5, 275 pounds) and is a three-star Class of 2019 prospect that is committed to Virginia. Leech is an incredibly physical run blocker with an explosive get off and will be joining former teammate, Cavalier center Tyler Fannin, in Charlottesville next fall.
Walton: Dominick Blaylock
Blaylock has been on top of the recruiting boards since he was in middle school and plays primarily wide receiver (6-foot-1, 187 pounds) for the Raiders. He is a five-star Class of 2019 prospect and No. 27 ranked prospect in the nation that is committed to Georgia. Blaylock, who has started all four years for Walton, rushed for 10 touchdowns and caught seven scores last season.
McEachern: Javon Baker
Baker is an explosive wide receiver (6-foot-1, 175 pounds) and four-star recruit listed as the No. 18 ranked prospect in the state for the Class of 2020. He's rated the No. 20 recruit nationally at the wide receiver position. Baker holds offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Florida State among others. Last year as a sophomore, Baker played behind seniors Genuine Potts and Jaron Hull and is expected to have a big junior season.
Colquitt County: Daijun Edwards/Ty Leggett
Edwards along with senior running back Ty Leggett give Colquitt County arguably the most talented backfield in the state. Edwards (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) is a four-star and the No. 27 ranked prospect in the state for the Class of 2020; he is also listed as the No. 20 running back in the nation for his class. Edwards rushed for 1,092 yards on 187 carries with a team-high 14 touchdowns as a sophomore last season. Leggett had a team-high 1,343 yards on 217 carries with 12 touchdowns.
Brookwood: Aidan Perkins
Perkins is the Broncos' center (6-foot-2, 285 pounds) and also happens to be the only starter returning on the offensive side of the ball from last year's Brookwood team that made a run to the state semifinals.
North Gwinnett: Tyler Goodson
Goodson is a running Back (5-foot-10, 192 pounds) and 3-star Class of 2019 prospect that committed to Iowa on July 3, 2018. Goodson rushed for 1,315 yards and 20 touchdowns and caught four touchdowns last season with 305 receiving yards. Goodson racked up 80 receiving yards and a touchdown and rushed for 57 yards and a touchdown at last year's Corky Kell. Goodson will be joining former teammate Jayden McDonald in Iowa City.
Norcross: Christian Wright
Wright is a linebacker (5-foot-10, 213 pounds) and is the leading tackler returning to the Norcross defense after finishing the 2017 season with 120 total tackles, 19 tackles for loss and three sacks.
Mays: Jahquez Evans
Evans is a quarterback (6-foot-2, 180 pounds), 3-star prospect and the No. 22 ranked dual threat quarterback in the nation for the Class of 2019. Evans committed to the University of South Florida on July 5, 2018 and had offers from Georgia Tech, Kentucky, West Virginia and Pitt to name a few.