BABSON PARK, Fla. -- There are just too many of them to ignore. Underclassmen football recruits that shine. Since hitting the road in January and February to start seeing players during seven-on-seven events and various camps and combines, and going all the way through this past weekend until now, at the conclusion of the Down and Dirty Camp held at Webber International University about an hour south of Orlando, Underclassmen continue to make plays and earn respect.
Thus, here we are. An article dedicated to several of the multi-talented young men from across the Southern United States that can flat out play football, but will not graduate with the class of 2022. Each of the following prospects will be from the class of 2023, 2024, and even a class of 2025 prospect (yes, really). A few of these young men are highlighted, while several others are mentioned as top-notch players in their own right at the bottom. Just keep in mind that the classes of 2023 and 2024 are loaded with players that are already earning respect, and that list will continue to grow moving forward.
The following list is not in any particular order.
King Edwards, DE/TE, 6’4”, 225-pounds, Lawrenceville (Ga.) Hebron Christian - 2024
When a person walks up and sees Edwards, it’s easy to assume he’s going to be a senior or already graduated. That’s not the case as he is a class of 2024 prospect, and holds three more years of high school eligibility. During the Next Gen Camp that was held at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., King took a few moments to discuss his recruitment.
“I have three offers from Georgia Tech, UCF, and FSU.”
“I’ve only been to the University of South Carolina and Georgia Tech.”
Which school did you grow up rooting for?
Position-wise, would you prefer to play offense or defense?
You want to be an edge rusher?
King may still yet attend a camp at more than one school, but that’s to be determined. Bottom line, he’s a microcosm of what college programs are interested in despite his age. He’s a very strong young man, has a frame to grow into a 255-pound defensive end without any problems, and he’s already playing like a prospect well beyond his years.
Another class of 2024 prospect has earned respect around the country, as he was one of the top performers at the Under Armour All-America Combine held in Atlanta earlier this spring.
Kamari McClellan, QB, 6’2”, 180-pounds, Oxford (Ala.) High School - 2024
One of the smoothest releases of all the young quarterbacks in America, McClellan is more than just a signal caller in a pair of cool looking cleats. He’s far more mature than most young men, and takes his opportunities in stride.
During the Under Armour event, he was arguably the most consistent passer of all the quarterbacks. Pass after pass was delivered with a smooth over-the-top motion and a solid follow through. McClellan’s frame is developing well, and he could end up being a 6’4” or 6’5” signal caller before all is said and done.
The next young man is one of the most dynamic running backs in the country, and he looks ready to lead a college team right now.
Kameron Davis, 5’8”, 190-pounds, Albany (Ga.) Dougherty - 2024
Of all the 2024 prospects seen this spring and summer, this young man is as good as any prospect evaluated during that time. Quickness and a true “suddenness” to Davis’s ability to change direction come natural; he’s adept at exploding by defenders with relative ease. Watch Davis go up and grab this next pass. Keep in mind that this young man’s true height is not even 5’10” as some have him listed.
Also a standout baseball player, Davis could be a big-time strong safety on defense if he desired. As a bell cow running back, his value could be even higher. Davis will likely challenge to be the nation’s top running back for the class of 2024. He’s a ball player already, and will only get better.
While already committed to Florida State, this young man’s recruitment will continue to grow. Look for Davis to earn a surplus of 40 scholarship offers before his time to sign a national letter of intent comes. The next Florida prospect will challenge for the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit.
Brandon Inniss, Wide Receiver, 6’1”, 190-pounds, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) American Heritage - 2023
In looking for an Alpha personality that not only wins his individual matchups, but also leads his team on both sides of the ball as he loves to play free safety in addition to wide receiver, that’s Inniss. Inniss is a prospect that shines in more ways than one. As a pass catcher, Inniss provides a savviness to his game that’s rare for a mature player, and he still has two more years of high school.
The ability to sit down in the hole to catch a pass when going against zone coverage is evident, and Inniss consistently does a great job of utilizing his teammates to come off rub routes to get open like a true college veteran.
Playing for South Florida Express, one of the top seven-on-seven programs in Florida, Inniss shined all spring long. Even when drawing double teams he’s capable of making a catch over defenders in the back of the end zone. Bottom line, Inniss makes big plays, and that’s why he’s so coveted as a prospect. With an offer list that’s already over 30 schools, Inniss is one of the nation’s most coveted 2023 prospects. Sticking with the state of Florida, the next recruit provides a rare combination of skills.
Cormani McClain, CB/WR, 6’2”, 170-pounds, Lakeland (Fla.) Lake Gibson - 2023
After breaking out his sophomore campaign with 10 interceptions, McClain’s recruiting status took off. He earned offers from some of the nation’s elite programs, and his recruitment continues to grow. His frame and football skills represent why so many college football programs desire his signature, and he’s grinding to get better.
McClain’s extremely long legs and arms represent exactly what college coaches want: a cornerback or wide receiver with the length to make plays that opposing coaches simply cannot stop with schemes. He’s a naturally gifted football player beyond that length. McClain’s ability to stop and start, change direction, and drive on the football is well beyond what one will find with most sophomore high school football players. Moving into his junior season, McClain has a chance to further his football talents as he’s still growing physically and learning the game. With that in mind, it’s scary to think just how good McClain will be prior to leaving high school.
McClain’s offer list is much like Inniss’s offer list, still growing and could go into the 40 offer range before making a college decision. The only other question with McClain will be the future position of this young man. He’s equally talented on both sides of the football. The next prospect has a really unique attribute.
Keldric Faulk, Defensive End, 6’5”, 248-pounds, Highland Home (Ala.) High School - 2023
Wing span matters, and Faulk provided a self-reported 85-inch wing span during this spring’s Atlanta Under Armour Combine. Now that’s a very long defensive end. Watching Faulk come off the line during the drills, watching how he bends, and how Faulk could open up and run in space represents a true athlete.
A very well spoken and mild-mannered young man, Faulk discussed his recruitment and his football upbringing like it was no big deal. Being kind and easy to communicate with also adds to his recruiting profile in a positive manner. He’s just a really nice guy, and college coaches, as well as members of the media, certainly appreciate that fact. As for his long-term future, Faulk could be a 285-pound strong side defensive end after a couple of more years in the weight room.
This is a prospect with a tremendous upside, and his recruitment is already beginning to take off. Faulk already visited Clemson, Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, and LSU amongst his college visits, and with two more years to figure out his college recruitment, there’s no telling where he will end up signing his letter of intent. This last prospect represents a unique recruit.
D.J. Pickett, CB/WR, 6’2”, 160-pounds, Tampa (Fla.) Carrollwood Day School - 2025
After starting on varsity as a mere eighth grader, it became difficult to ignore Pickett’s talents. Watching him live several times, however, it’s just incredible how quickly his talents grew over the course of the spring and summer.
From February until today, Pickett not only improved, he’s made it look relatively easy. With a long running stride, yet the ability to cut and turn like a 5’9”, 155-pound nickel corner, Pickett is as unique a prospect as one will find. Keep in mind, he’s literally going into the ninth grade this fall. With that in mind, he’s already received several scholarship offers.
It’s incredible how fast some of these young men develop, and Pickett is at the top of the food chain for developing quickly. After watching him dominate during one-on-one situations at this past Saturday’s The Show by Next Gen at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., Pickett has the inside track to be the nation’s No. 1 class of 2025 player.
With at least another 50 prospects that could be discussed, just know that the next few years of down South recruiting will be a blast to cover and read about. There’s plenty of opportunities to see some of the best talent in America, and many of them are from Alabama, Florida and Georgia, just like the prospects above, as well as the young men listed below. There will be more articles like this one before the start of the 2021 football season begins.
More Elite Underclassmen
Adam Hopkins, WR, 6’0”, 170-pounds, Thomasville (Ga.) Thomas County Central - 2023
Lebbeus Overton, DE, 6’4”, 268-pounds, Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton - 2023
Bo Hughley, OT, 6’6”, 290-pounds, Fairburn (Ga.) Langston Hughes - 2023
A.J. Harris, CB, 6’2”, 180-pounds, Phenix City (Ala.) Glenwood School - 2023