It is that time again. The feeling has been in the air for the last couple of weeks as teams across the country have donned the pads and started scrimmages in preparation for week one. Finally, meaningful football kickoffs in the Peach State this evening as the 30th annual Corky Kell Classic gets underway.
The four-day event kicks off at 5:30 today at West Forsyth High school with a double-header and concludes with an all-day, five-game slate in Mercedez-Benz Stadium on Saturday. First, we preview the event loaded with elite talent from across the state.
The state has become a perennial hotbed for signal-callers, and this event will showcase some of the best talent it offers at the position. Wednesday night kickoffs with Cherokee vs. Mays and provides us with our first peek at a premier passer. SIAA's 21st ranked signal-caller in the 2022 class, AJ Swann, will lead the Warriors onto the field against the Raiders, and the Maryland commitment will look to show why he was coveted by so many in the recruiting world.
Saturday's 8:45 p.m. nightcap at Mercedez-Bens Stadium features 5th ranked quarterback and Missouri commitment, Sam Horn, who will be looking to get the Eagles back to the state title game in 2021 following last season's loss to Grayson. On the other sideline in this contest, Brookwood rolls out elite talent Dylan Lonergan behind center. The 2023 prospect will look to build on an impressive sophomore campaign by knocking off the state's runner-up during the final game of the event.
SIAA's 20th ranked signal-caller in the 2022 class, Jacurri Brown, will play mid-day on Saturday against Walton. The Miami commitment has as much upside as anyone in the class, and he will look to show off his development this fall.
2023 North Cobb quarterback Malachi Singleton holds offers from the likes of Georgia, Miami, Louisville and Central Florida, and he will lead a loaded Warriors team onto the field against defending 6A State Champions Buford. The Wolves are led by 2022 signal-caller and Stanford pledge Ashton Daniels, who is hitting on all cylinders right now.
Joining these coveted signal-callers are several under-the-radar prospects. Johns Creek's Kyle Durham will look to turn his new aerial attack offense into college recognition this fall, while Hoover's Bennett Meredith, McEachern's Bryce Archie (Coastal Carolina), Westlake's RJ Johnson, and Walton's Zak Rozman (Appalachian State commit) all will look to show that they are more deserving than the recognition they have received.
Elite Skill Play in 2022 Class
There are so many big-time names in this event from the skill standpoint that there is almost no way to give each a sentence of their own. It starts with SI All-American's top-ranked player in the 2022 class, Collins Hill's Travis Hunter. As elite as it gets, The Florida State commit will impact both sides of the all-season long for the Eagles, and his talent will be on full display during Saturday's primetime contest against Brookwood. The elite prospect will play both cornerback and receiver and try to build on the gaudy junior campaign.
West Forsyth's Oscar Delp is rated as the nation's 6th best tight end ahead of his senior season, and his recruitment features the likes of Georgia, Michigan, Clemson and South Carolina.
North Cobb features a pair of Georgia commitments in cornerback Marquis Groves-Killebrew and wide receiver De'Nylon Morrissette. While also bringing Kentucky cornerback pledge Andre Stewart and two uncommitted, yet highly sought-after prospects in edge Joshua Josephs and wide receiver Samuel Mbake.
North Cobb's adversary, Buford, brings their own collection of talent. The Wolves will feature Florida wide receiver commit Isaiah Bond and Alabama defensive back pledge Jake Pope, a duo that is one of the most talented in the country. The Wolves also have guys like linebacker VJ Payne (uncommitted), cornerback Ryland Gandy (Pitt), athlete CJ Clinkscales (Boston College), Victor Venn (Colorado), and defensive back Malik Spencer (Michigan State). The Wolves are also home to elite athlete KJ Bolden in the 2024 class.
Other names to know that are committed to or have interests from major Power five schools in the 2022 class includes Walton's cornerback Marcus Allen (North Carolina), Archer's wide receiver DJ Moore (Georgia Tech) and defensive back Caleb Wooden (Auburn), Cherokee's wide receiver Adarrius Harshaw (Utah), Lowndes's linebacker DeAunte Hunter (uncommitted), and Westlake defensive back Clayton Powell-Lee (Georgia Tech).
In the trenches
The trenches aren't as loaded as we have seen in years past, but there is still plenty of talent. However, in the 2022 class, Westlake's defensive will be anchored by Zion Young (West Virginia) and Horace Lockett (Georgia Tech). While on the offensive side of the ball, Walton's Cason Henry (South Carolina) and Johns Creeks' Tyler Gibson (Georgia Tech) are the names to know in the class.
In the 2023 class, two names to know are McEachern's Seven Cloud (Georgia) and North Gwinnett's Kaden McDonald (uncommitted), while 2024 Johns Creek defensive lineman TA Cunningham already projects as one of the best players in the country for his class.
Finally, and most importantly, here is the full lineup for the four-day event, which can be watched on Peachtree TV.
2021 Corky Kell Classic Schedule
Wednesday, August 18
Games at West Forsyth
5:30 p.m. — Cherokee vs. Mays
8:30 p.m. — West Forsyth vs. Carver Atlanta
Thursday, August 19
Games at Dacula
5:30 p.m. — Archer vs. Westlake
8:30 p.m. — Dacula vs. Tucker
Friday, August 20
Games at Dacula
5:30 p.m. —Johns Creek vs. Gainesville
8:30 p.m — Buford vs. North Cobb
Saturday, August 21
Games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
9:00 a.m. — Kell vs. McEachern
11:45 a.m. — Mill Creek vs. Parkview
2:45 p.m. — Lowndes vs. Walton
5:45 p.m. — North Gwinnett vs. Hoover (Alabama)
8:45 p.m. — Brookwood vs. Collins Hill