’24 RB/DE showed up in ’23 when it mattered most
Jutoriaus “JuJu” Starks is an absolute monster. He is 5’10,” and weighs 200-pounds and is being sought by programs from Austin Peay to UT-Martin to Georgetown College to Kentucky Wesleyan and many, many more. Starks saved his best performance on the season for when the team needed it most in its thrilling, suspenseful, championship game victory over a plucky Owensboro Catholic squad, 53-48. As it turned out, Mayfield needed everything Starks could give them that day and he didn’t disappoint. He made our Small-School, All-State Football team at RB and this was a tough year for RBs at that level as the performances across the commonwealth were jaw dropping.HB Lyon, Scouting Director, KPGFootball
WPSD, out of Paducah, Kentucky, picks, each year (preseason) the Top 10 Players of Gridiron Glory. WPSD is a media conglomerate, heavily invested in television, and its compilation is considered the dispositive list of talent covering parts of Western-KY, regarding high school football talent, published anywhere.
This year, its number one player was Jutoriaus “JuJu” Starks. If you think about the “other players” in the area, the Jack James-types, the Martels Carter, Jr.-types, the Jhaden Vaughn-types, Starks’s heading up the list is impressive.
Starks was a primetime player for his squad all season. In fact, he was a prime-timer for Coach Joe Morris’s program the entirety of his high school enrollment.
That is how one gets recruited by half the Ohio Valley conference, some of the A-Sun, and virtually every “heavy-hitting” small-college program in one’s home state or commonwealth. It is an easy formula to spot but a tough road to haul.
Starks is 5’10, and weighs 200-pounds. Many programs covet RBs built exactly like that. Starks is a track sprinter and has been timed in the 100-meter at 11.2-second flat. All programs are looking for backfield talent with that type of separation speed.
Starks gained 1,729-yards in ’23, on 208-carries, with 33-rushing TDs. Starks led Mayfield in scoring with 198-points over 15-games. That is slightly above 14-points a game.
In the most important game of the year, playing for a title, Starks was money. Starks gained 196-yards and scored four (4) rushing TDs against Owensboro Catholic in 34-carries. He registered both a tackle and a FR (fumble recovery) in limited defensive action. For his efforts he was awarded the Championship Game MVP by Mingua Beef Jerky and the law firm of Morgan & Morgan.
We regarded him highly as well; and by we, I mean KPGFootball and News Radio 840 WHAS out of Louisville. We selected Starks to our inaugural Small-School (1A, 2A, & 3A) All-State Football team.
Sean Thompson is the head football coach at Paducah Tilghman, a program which challenged for a title in ’23 (13-1) and beat Mayfield in Paducah, 35-28, in Paducah. The “Blue Tornado” were able to hold Starks under the century mark in that game.
It didn’t alter Coach Thompson’s high regard for the player. Thompson told WPSD, “[Stark’s] a monster. He’s a load to bring down. He’s just nasty in the way he runs…”
Thompson wasn’t quite finished. In the same interview, he had this to say about Starks on defense, a posting little-used owing to his value on the other side of the scrimmage line. “When he’s playing defensive end, he’s a problem. His get off is so fast, up the field it’s hard to get hands on him. He disrupts offenses.”
That is high praise in deed. Most importantly, it is praise from someone who would certainly know.
We don’t know, college-wise, where this RB ends up playing. We do know he will play in college.
Our gut tells us keep an eye on Jason Simpson and his program in Martin, Tennessee. UT-Martin is really close to Mayfield, Kentucky and Simpson has historically recruited the area both thoroughly and effectively.
Martin’s program could use a little of that JuJu-Juice. For that matter, what team couldn’t?
This is Friday Night Fletch, reporting for KPGFootball, reminding you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!
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