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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The first Alabama High School Athletic Association football state championships to be held at UAB's Protective Field won't soon be forgotten. 

All seven classifications capped the 2021 season from Wednesday through Friday evening and stunning performances were put in along the way. More than a dozen individual efforts caught Sports Illustrated's attention, worth noting before the transition to the collegiate level. 

(Players listed alphabetically)

DeAndre Coleman

Coleman hauls in a 66-yard touchdown pass

DeAndre Coleman, Hueytown, Wide Receiver

The big, physical wide receiver was easy to spot in warm-ups and he delivered thereafter -- making many prep and college coaches watching the game wonder why more top college football programs weren't beating down the door for his talents. Coleman, a Coastal Carolina verbal commitment, caught 15 passes for 149 yards including a 66-yard post-route over the top of the Clay-Chalkville defense. The Golden Gophers would fall in a shootout, 46-42, but not for lack of effort on Coleman's part. 

Listed at 6'4", 195 pounds, Coleman was also sporting duties in the return game and was utilized as a wildcat quarterback on short yardage, goal line and 2-point conversions -- adding two rushing scores to his evening. But what impressed most on Friday night was his physicality and effort when he didn't have the football. Often a knock on young pass catchers, it was hard to miss Coleman's blocks on the edge for his teammates and even on special teams, where he de-cleated an opponent while on kick return. The senior is raw in his technique, but the edge he plays with, a natural catching ability and immense size makes for one to watch ahead of National Signing Day.

Anez Cooper

Cooper works at right tackle

Anez Cooper, Pleasant Grove, Lineman

If there was a more workman-like performance at the Super 7 than Cooper's, it would be a surprise. Not only was he one of the biggest prospects to participate, at a listed 6'6", 355 pounds, but the lineman worked both sides of the football and found a way to flash on each -- and somehow in between -- while trying to cap his senior season with a state championship. He is a massive road grater in the run game, somewhat to be expected, and he backed it up with several pancakes but his footwork as a pass blocker turned heads relative to his size. 

Cooper did the best job on the state's top uncommitted pass rusher, Khurtiss Perry, among Spartan offensive linemen, getting enough depth in his kick slide to combat the shorter, quicker edge talent. It makes a casual guard position projection a bit more interesting depending on college fit, something programs like Georgia, Auburn and Colorado are considering late in the game. Cooper worked defensive line and was credited with six tackles, none more impressive than chasing down a defensive back for a stop after an interception. More of his character was revealed when, in between playing both ways, he lifted an injured teammate off his feet and carried him all the way to the bench for medical attention. 

Conner Harrell

North Carolina commitment in action

Conner Harrell, Thompson, Quarterback

Not only was Harrell looking to cap his career with back-to-back state title performances, he was trying to finish one out unlike 2020. After just two drives, it looked like it would be the same result, as the quarterback took a hit and held his ankle before medical staff would help him off the field. Already entering the game with a heavily-taped thumb on his throwing hand, it seemed like tough luck for the senior in his last prep game. But he came back later in the first half and made play after play. 

Harrell would finish the evening 10 for 16 for 271 yards passing, showcasing vertical passing prowess on the game-icing connection to Ryan Peppins on a 73-yard hook up just inside the numbers. Also an effective runner, the future North Carolina Tar Heel showed grit, play-making ability and showcased his signature anticipation and touch while protecting the football. Thompson High didn't lose a single game in which Harrell played all four quarters over the last two seasons, something Mack Brown and his staff at UNC surely are aware of. 

Quinshon Judkins

Judkins gets loose for a 43-yard touchdown

Quinshon Judkins, Pike Road, Running Back

The most explosive rushing attack showcased all week long came via Pike Road and the bell cow back was Judkins. His 33 carries for 173 yards, including three touchdowns, earned him Class 5A MVP honors and there wasn't much debate about the pick even beyond the numbers. The balanced back showed the ability to be tough and physical in between the tackles, yet swift and speedy when he was able to operate in some space. 

Committed to Ole Miss, Judkins got to work in front of his future coaches in person Thursday as Lane Kiffin and Kevin Smith were on hand for the performance. After the game he admitted the arc of his senior season was delayed because of a hamstring injury, but once he was back to full strength the power and pop he played with was tough for defenses to handle. The prevailing thought from onlookers with Judkins is that Kiffin came into the state and got a steal programs like Auburn may regret down the line. 

Anthony Mix

Mix spins it at the Super 7

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Anthony Mix, Vigor, Quarterback

One of the sleepers of the event from a recruiting attention standpoint, there are more questions than answers following Mix's performance to cap his prep career with a Class 4A state championship. The big, physical specimen has a control in the pocket and can get velocity on the football without much motion or time. But it was when he took something off of the football, hi-lowing a linebacker and safety combination or making plays on the move that impressed on Friday. His MVP performance, where he threw for 277 yards and three touchdowns, even included a hurdle over a defender for good measure.

Mix wrapped up his senior season right around 2,000 yards passing, 25 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He isn't known as a runner but can move the sticks with his athleticism when needed, and his 225-pound frame isn't exactly easy to bring down thereafter. He was a prospect who added early verbal offers as a high-ceiling projection, but most of those coaches have since lost contact. Mix reported a UT-Martin offer last week, however. 

Edward Osley

Osley crosses the goal line  for one of his five scores

Edward Osley, Clay-Chalkville, Running Back

Just one program had seen enough from Osley to come through with a scholarship offer, he says, in the Samford Bulldogs. No disrespect to the in-state program, but more programs are at least likely to make an inquiry to state champion coach Drew Gilmer following the season he put together. In the finale, all the senior did was score five critical touchdowns and take home MVP honors in the most anticipated championship matchup of the week. 

Osley is listed at 6', 195 pounds but runs even bigger than that with a low center of gravity and plenty of power. There is a counter to his game, too, with a suddenness to redirect and make an initial cut. Following the MVP, five-score effort, the senior's season total on the ground capped at 2,085 yards and 33 touchdowns. That type of production against the competitive 6A schedule, combined with the trust to hand Osley the ball over four other Power 5 prospects among skill talent on the offense, tells us late college interest is on the way. 

Ryan Peppins

Peppins gains extra yardage after the catch

Ryan Peppins, Thompson, Wide Receiver

All season long, and really dating back to 2020, folks around the Thompson program displayed curiosity when the production, speed and sheer play-making ability of Peppins wasn't translating into scholarship offers. All he has done is lead the state's top program in receiving yards and scores when it mattered most, and the Wednesday evening state title game was no exception. It was Peppins who would take home MVP honors with a stunning seven-catch, 203-yard performance that included a pair of touchdowns. 

Peppins, now committed to Utah and locked in despite advances from other programs, caps his prep career with 80 catches for 1,378 yards and 23 touchdowns as a senior. He can run by most defensive backs with sheer speed, like he showed on a 73-yard TD in the title game, or work underneath well, like he did while breaking on an out route for his other score. Of course the quickness Peppins shows is dynamic after the catch and in the return game, something the Pac-12 will soon realize. 

Khurtiss Perry

Perry celebrating one of his three sacks Thursday 

Khurtiss Perry, Pike Road, Defensive End

Covering the game close to the sidelines, among college coaches, it was hard for most to keep relatively quiet when Perry turned the corner en route to the quarterback. It was evident on the first snap of the game, where Perry darted inside a blocker to force an incompletion. He would live in the backfield thereafter, registering three sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery to help bring Pike Road its first state championship. 

Perry finished a monster senior season with 23 sacks and nearly 40 quarterback hurries. He is known to come off the edge but showed some power in holding the point inside against a massive Pleasant Grove offensive line, the benefit-of-the-doubt type floor that college coaches at Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and UCF see plenty from. A decision awaits on December 15 and Perry told SI he hasn't locked in the call just yet, privately.

White bails out his quarterback on a 50/50 ball

White bails out his quarterback on a 50/50 ball

Marquarious 'Squirrel' White, Clay-Chalkville, Wide Receiver

One of the most fascinating late recruitments in the state of Alabama, as Georgia and Auburn work on flipping the Tennessee commitment, White showed us why on Friday night. The speed has long been apparent, but the polish and route-running commanded its own attention. Extremely quick out of his breaks, White makes defenders commit early because of the long threat and it creates a lot of room for him to operate in the intermediate passing game. After the catch he can make plays, too. 

White had six catches for 81 yards and added a two-point conversion on a crisp route (video below) in the shootout win. His season totals capped at 55 catches for 1,293 yards and 16 touchdowns, pacing a Clay-Chalkville attack that had defenses on skates all season long. It isn't just a speed thing for White, though, as his ball skills were noticeable Friday. On a true 50/50 ball against a bigger defender, the 5'11" senior went up and got it despite considerable contact at the catch point.

Peter Woods

Woods makes a stop near the line of scrimmage

Peter Woods (2023), Thompson, Defensive Line

When we planned this feature, it was going to be a senior focus, but the Thompson junior forced our hand because he was just too impressive on Wednesday evening. Active was an understatement against a very good Central-Phenix City team that couldn't really get the run game going. Woods was a big reason why, not only in breaking through the line of scrimmage, but coming down the line and showing a lateral ability few at 270 pounds or so could duplicate. 

Woods ended his night, officially, with six tackles, one sack and a tackle for loss, but seemingly was in on a dozen more stops. The energy he brings to a defensive line, working inside and out, is tough for bigger blockers to contend with. Throw in true bend and power in short areas, and it makes sense he has every offer he could want. Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, Clemson and others are in the mix for one of the top juniors in America.  

Five More Who Shined

Mario Craver (2024) - When White departs the Clay-Chalkville roster, it will be plenty fine on the outside with Craver and Jaylen Mbakwe on the outside. The sophomore actually led the Cougars in receiving in the state title game with six catches for 126 yards, thanks to his head-turning acceleration and ball skills. Auburn just offered and plenty more will follow. 

Trequon Fegans - Not only did the Alabama commitment look pretty good in coverage against a talented junior wide receiver in Karmello English, but he snagged an interception on the evening. Showing some physicality, the senior led Thompson in tackles for the title, too. 

Khalib Johnson - The Louisville quarterback commitment, who impressed with his physical build at 6'2", 215 pounds, also spun it well on Friday. His 3,000-yard season ended with a 15 for 19 performance for 251 yards and two touchdowns. Accuracy on deep balls to White and Craver were as good as one could hope for.

Anthony Rogers (2025) - Remember this name, folks. Judkins is the primary skill player on the Pike Road roster but that post belongs to Rogers the next three years. The freshman was a big play waiting to happen all season and it showed up again Thursday. He totaled 23 touchdowns in 2021, including two more in the state title game. Georgia, Auburn and Penn State are already in with offers to the speedy athlete. 

Earl Woods (2023) - Woods had some of the best numbers of 2021 as the quarterback at Hueytown, capping the season with more than 3,000 yards passing and 2,000 rushing. In Friday night's shootout he was simply special with the ball in his hands, throwing for 246 yards and two scores while rushing for 112 and another touchdown. Mr. Football in the bag?