The weekend at the Championship 7v7 Atlanta-area event showcased talent across several recruiting classes, from 2022 through 2025, with notable performances, highlight worthy plays and of course some trophies in between.
Many of the top athletes in attendance won't see their football journey end at the prep level, of course, so SI All-American compiled recruiting notes on many of the weekend's best.
Jaheim Singletary, CB, 6'2", 180 pounds, Jacksonville (Fla.) Robert E. Lee - 2022
The top cover man in the Sunshine State has been committed to Ohio State since January and he remains solid to the Buckeyes, with an official visit set for June, thanks to the coaching staff and legacy of defensive back production in Columbus.
Florida was the childhood dream program for Singletary, but turnover on staff while Ohio State, Georgia and others pushed, caused a shift in his thinking late in 2020. An unofficial visit to Columbus in December all but sealed the deal for the Buckeye pledge shortly after the New Year.
While playing both ways for Burch Sports Performance over the weekend, Singletary was sporting Georgia gloves throughout the tournament. Other programs, including UGA, do remain in contact with him, however.
Jaterrious Elam, CB, 6'1", 180 pounds, Greenville (Miss.) Christian - 2022
Committed to Mississippi State since February, Elam says he is still rock solid to the Bulldogs despite an offer from LSU and interest from others to date.
Once the dead period lifts in June, he will likely take visits to continue to navigate the process, but the only locked in trip will be back to Starkville.
"It's close to home, great coaching staff," Elam said. "I talk to several coaches, they're real cool, too."
Florida was mentioned as a program that may receive a visit, should an offer get extended.
Tajh Sanders, WR, 5’11”, 175-pounds, Valdosta (Ga.) High School - 2022
A first close look at Sanders provides more than one bargains for. He’s not the biggest player, but Sanders plays like a power slot receiver. Physical off the line, Sanders showed determination to win 50-50 balls and fight through traffic underneath. That’s why he’s earned offers from programs such as Florida State, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Kentucky, Miami, Kansas State, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Louisville and Tennessee.
Sanders provided the following five programs as schools he’s most interested in attending. “My top five right now are Mississippi State, Miami, Kentucky, Florida State and Kansas State,” said Sanders. As for why he’s so interested in each of the five programs, Sanders elaborated with a no-nonsense approach.
“I like the way they communicate with me,” he said with a shrug. As for official visits, Sanders is close to locking in two schools. “I’m going to take an official visit to Mississippi State in June, just to get to know them a little better. I also want to take an official visit to Kansas State.”
Sanders admitted that he will most likely take his official visits this summer, but does not hold a definitive timeframe for making a final college decision.
Matthew Merritt, WR/DB, 6'4", 190 pounds, Jacksonville (Fla.) Andrew Jackson - 2022
Savannah State offered as a freshman, UAB did so as a sophomore and now Utah has become his first Power 5 offer at the tail-end of his junior season.
Projected all across the board by various coaches, Merritt can play wide receiver, safety or outside linebacker depending on the destination. Utah, which will host him for an official visit in June, is projecting him as a hybrid defender with a lot of inside-the-box responsibility.
At this point, leaving the state looks like a priority for the rising-senior, with the Utes in pole position.
Merritt, who reports interest from Kentucky, Arkansas State and Northern Illinois, wants to make a decision prior to the 2021 season.
Chris Bell, WR, 6'2", 210 pounds, Yazoo City (Miss.) High School - 2022
A big, physical wide receiver who made some of the better contested catches throughout the tournament, he entered the spring 7-on-7 circuit without an offer to his name.
Now Arkansas state, Louisiana, Southern Miss and others occupy his offer list.
"Most colleges are recruiting me as an athlete, but Arkansas State wants me as a wide receiver," Bell said. "It feels good to heat up right now, the work is paying off and I'm glad I'm being recognized."
As things currently stand, Arkansas State could be in strong position to pick up Bell if he elects to make an early decision. Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Western Kentucky and others are in contact, too. WKU will get him on campus in June.
Tanner Murray, QB, 6'2", 190 pounds, Houston (Texas) Langham Creek - 2022
One of the breakout performers of the weekend, Murray lead the Texas Stars Elite club to the 18u championship game in efficient fashion with a decisive, accurate display over two days.
"Recruitment is going well at the moment," he said, noting some of the offers in to date, including UTSA, Marshall, San Diego State and Houston Baptist.
New schools have established contact with the Murray camp, including Northwestern and Texas Tech, though neither has kicked off the Power 5 slate with an offer at this moment.
Deandre Smith, QB, 6'2", 218 pounds, Greenville (Miss.) Christian - 2022
After leading Greenville Christian to state championships in football and basketball, Smith is still navigating the recruiting process as an uncommitted prospect.
Several FBS programs have offered the productive Mississippi Heat talent, who helped the program to the quarterfinals in 18u Sunday.
"By the end of the summer, I'll be where I need to be," he said. "I want to play anywhere in the Power 5.
"I stay consistent on and off the field, it's a lot of work."
Southern Miss, Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe and others are among his initial offers. Smith says he wants to be committed by the time his senior season begins this fall.
Ayden Williams, WR, 6’1”, 180 pounds, Ridgeland (Miss.) High School - 2023
After opening eyes at the Atlanta Under Armour event, Williams was a player many people wanted to see in Atlanta. He is playing with a talented Mississippi Heat 7v7 organization, and showed his ability to battle for the football in the end zone, and good burst off the line of scrimmage. Moving forward, Williams will be a player to watch. As for recruiting, Williams earned several offers to date.
“Florida State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Oregon, University Louisiana-Monroe, and Southern Miss,” Williams said. As for a favorite growing up, Williams did not surprise with his answer.
“Growing up in Mississippi, I heard a lot about Ole Miss. So probably Ole Miss.”
Although it’s early in his recruitment, Williams is already gaining recruiting momentum. He’s not ruling out leaving home for college, but did offer one particular item that would be nice with his college selection.
“If I go away from home for school, I just want my mother to be able to see me play,” he said.
Dylan Brown-Turner, DB, 6'2", 190 pounds, Dallas (Texas) South Oak Cliff - 2023
Kansas and Georgia Tech have offered the play-making DB to date, but the SEC could be looming for the Texan.
Alabama, Georgia and LSU, which is the program Brown-Turner grew up rooting for, are in the conversation without having offered just yet. A hybrid who could probably play safety or down in the box on a permanent basis at the next level, he was instrumental in Team Grind winning the 18u championship despite the loaded field.
Texas and Oklahoma are also in contact with Brown-Turner, who is in no rush to make a decision early on.
King Joseph Edwards, ATH, 6’4”, 220 pounds, Buford (Ga.) High School - 2024
Edwards is a unique athlete that plays wide receiver for Grind Factory 7v7, and will likely play defensive end for Buford moving forward.
Despite his size, Edwards moves with fluidity and a purpose. He’s capable of breaking down and changing direction during the middle of his route, in an effort to defeat smaller defensive backs. He possesses talent that’s unusual for a player his size and age.
Because of his natural physical gifts, Edwards already holds offers from Florida State and the University of Central Florida. There’s little doubt that Edwards’ recruitment will expand during the coming months leading into the 2021 season.
It’s rare to find such an all-around athlete, at 220-pounds no less, so this 2024 prospect is one fans should remember moving forward.
Tavoy Feagin, DB, 6'0, 165 pounds, Tampa (Fla.) Catholic - 2024
One of the key cogs on UpFam's 15u championship run over the weekend was a strong secondary, in which Feagin helped to lead.
Miami offered the young Tampa native just this week. Georgia Tech, where he toured campus on April 10, offered him a scholarship in late March. TCU and West Virginia kicked off the offer slate in January.
John Garcia, Jr., Brian Smith and Dale Dowden contributed to this report.
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