High School Football

The Palmetto State’s top high school football recruits headed into 2016

Even with limited game experience, Lewisville junior defensive tackle Josh Belk has pulled in scholarship offers from some of the best football programs in the country.
Even with limited game experience, Lewisville junior defensive tackle Josh Belk has pulled in scholarship offers from some of the best football programs in the country.

Class of 2017 (listed alphabetically)

▪ Savalas Cann, Andrew Jackson Academy – younger brother of former Gamecock and NFL lineman A.J. Cann, Savalas, probably a safety in college football, will play his senior year at a new school after transferring from Bamberg-Ehrhardt.

▪ Austin Connor, Dutch Fork – 6-foot receiver has a nice list of high major scholarship offers, as well as two from Ivy League schools.

▪ Brad Johnson, Pendleton – 6-foot-3 defensive end has a bunch of juicy offers to choose from but really likes South Carolina and Georgia.

▪ Tre Lawson, North Augusta – big-bodied 6-foot-7 defensive end committed to Tennessee.

▪ Will Register, Chapin – 6-foot-4 tight end committed to South Carolina is ranked 14th nationally at his position.

▪ Davondre Robinson, Lake Marion – 5-foot-11 safety packs a punch and has offers from college football’s top programs, including Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan and Clemson.

▪ Logan Rudolph, Northwestern – full-tilt edge rusher is committed to Clemson.

▪ OrTre Smith, Wando – big-bodied receiver is ranked by many as the state’s top recruit in the senior class. Smith has Clemson and South Carolina in his top-five schools.

▪ Shi Smith, Union County – slick pass-catcher committed to South Carolina in early June.

▪ Damani Staley, Ridge View – linebacker and son of NFL running back Deuce Staley committed to South Carolina in the spring.

▪ Malik Williams, Chester – quarterback that will play receiver at the next level committed to Appalachian State in July. He had offers from Duke, Georgia Southern and Coastal Carolina.

▪ Lummie Young, Westside – 6-foot-2 safety is committed to Duke.

Local seniors to watch: Xi Simpson, Chester; Jene Thompson, Lewisville; Lee Massey, Indian Land; Desmond Ricks, Lancaster; Alex Stennett, Nation Ford; Jerry Howard, Northwestern; Gage Moloney, Northwestern; Caliph Brice, Northwestern; Kendrick Hicks, Rock Hill; Jae’vion Matthews, York.

Class of 2018

▪ Eli Adams, South Pointe – junior edge rusher/linebacker picked up his first offer earlier this year from South Carolina.

▪ Josh Belk, Lewisville – another top-30 national prospect in the 2018 class from The Herald’s coverage area, Belk is a dominant defensive tackle despite limited varsity game action the last two seasons. Belk is big on South Carolina, Clemson, Florida State and LSU, schools that have all offered 6-foot-3, 280-pounder.

▪ Demarcus Gregory, Byrnes – 6-foot-3 receiver has offers from the ACC and SEC, including South Carolina.

▪ Dakereon Joyner, Fort Dorchester – athletic, 6-foot-1 QB led Fort Dorchester to a state title last fall and has offers from SEC, ACC and Big 12 schools.

▪ Derion Kendrick, South Pointe – Kendrick will play QB for South Pointe this fall, but probably projects as a defensive back in college. The top-30 national recruit has offers from many FBS powers, and seems to like Clemson and Florida the most.

▪ Kavesz Sherard, T.L. Hanna – one of a number of emerging prospects at Hanna, not one of the state’s traditional football powerhouses, Sherard is a nice-sized offensive tackle with early offers from Clemson, South Carolina, Duke, North Carolina and Tennessee.

▪ Xavier Thomas, Wilson – defensive end is one of the top-ranked rising juniors in the country. He has offers from all of the top programs in the country, but South Carolina and Clemson both appear to have good shots at landing the Florence product.

▪ Jake Venables, Daniel – 6-foot-1 linebacker has offers from Clemson – his dad Brent is the defensive coordinator – and a couple of schools in Texas.

▪ Stephon Wynn, T.L. Hanna – already 20-plus offers for 6-foot-4 defensive end whose stock is rising quickly.

Local juniors to watch: Quay Hardin, Chester; Jake Locklear, Indian Land; Markees Watts, Lancaster; Justin Reese, South Pointe; Jordan Starkes, Northwestern; Eric Stroud, Rock Hill.

Class of 2019

Pha’Leak Brown, Chester; Jamario Holley, Northwestern; Zacch Pickens, T.L. Hanna; Jacoby Pinckney, Dorman.