We started yesterday with what was promised to be a two-part series on players who will be freshmen and whom we believe most likely to enter the varsity lineup as early as 2020. We featured 10 players yesterday and wish to feature some more today.
Now the ten from yesterday are not, necessarily, better players than this next group. We believe them likely to enter the varsity lineup faster and some of that is where they are likely slated to play football. Some of this next group would start at a lot of high schools, right away, but may not start where they are, at least not right away.
Here they are…
No. 11, Athlete- Carter Conley, 5-9, 150-pounds, Johnson County. Why do we label this kid an athlete? Well, he is only one of Kentucky’s most versatile players in the 2024 class. Conley has played TE, HB, QB, PK, and punter all while playing for one of Kentucky’s elite programs at the MS level in Johnson County. This kids numbers in middle school, particularly as a ball carrier, were just sick. One of the more overlooked players in his class, for reasons we can’t even fathom, we believe him to be among 2024’s very best football players. Plays at Class 4A’s “It-program” which may make his entering the lineup a slower process than it will be for some. Would have been in yesterday’s article if he played anywhere other than where he will play. This is a kid who will find the field at Johnson Central next year even though the Eagles have many returners from off its State Championship 4A football team. Conley is a Team Kentucky fixture both FBU and Future Stars.
No. 12, RB- Logan Rodgers, 5-11, 160-pounds, South Hopkins. We would be better able to forecast how quickly this kid plays if we knew where he was going. South Hopkins is supposed to feed Hopkins County Central but judging by its being one of the best MS programs in the western end, and Central being straight-wrote-garbage, that isn’t happening it would appear. If he ends up at Central, he’s an immediate starter in the Storm’s backfield. If he goes to North-Hopkins, he will start before the season hits district play we believe. This kid is a burner and averaged over 100-yards a game rushing and has represented Team Kentucky in multiple Future Stars and has played for the FBU team as well. Many consider him the best running back in the western end of Kentucky outside of Louisville.
No. 13, LB- Calil McNary, 6-1, 180-pounds, South Hopkins Middle. Like Rogers, we don’t know for sure where Calil will play, though put us down for both McNary and Rogers going to North-Hopkins. McNary has excellent size and length with good speed and excellent field vision. Like many of our LBs he comes up and meets plays very, very well. McNary has been a fixture on Team Kentucky’s FBU roster the previous two years.
No. 14, DL- Uriah Virzi, 6-1, 225-pounds, Paducah Middle School. We have heard this kid is headed to McCracken to play for Coach Marc Clark in the 6A classification, which may be totally wrong, but it why Virzi wasn’t included in yesterday’s list of players. This is a kid was the Region 1, Division 2 KYMSFA Player of the Year and is the funkily and freakishly athletic, big-frame, jumbo athlete which Paducah seems to produce in droves. Winning a Region’s POY isn’t with one’s hand in the dirt, which should tell you something. This kid is just a monster with a monster of a smile. Another in a long line of spectacular football-playing talent produced by Paducah, Kentucky. Virzi played his middle school football for Paducah Middle. If he sticks with the “Blue Tornado,” which is also a football power though in a lower classification of competition, he plays very early and often.
No. 15, WR- Felix Jackson, 5-11, 155-pounds, Fulton County Middle School. He may enter the lineup at RB, but would play faster at WR as Fulton County has been cranking out the quality RBs for a few years now and there is completion ahead of him which is quality and experience, in spite of Caleb Kimble’s graduating and matriculating to UTMartin. This kid is just one example of the talent coming from the middle school ranks and onto the varsity roster which has morphed the perennial doormats in Class 1A, Fulton County, into a team to be feared in the classification under the coaching of James Bridges. Bridges has had this kid in the weight room already and it showed dividends with his play this year in the backfield at RB for the Middle School in Fulton County. This kid has a long frame and he is super athletic. KPGFootball believes Jackson’s future at the high school level and beyond is out wide or even the defensive backfield where his vertical explosion and length can be put to excellent use protecting the Pilots’ back-end. Regardless, this kid belongs on this team. Remember from where you heard of him first. We may have had him in the “wrong ten.”
No. 16, TE- Jonah Adkins, 6-0, 190-pounds, Belfry Middle. Hard to enter the lineup early at Belfry, the Kentucky Class 3A State Football Champions. While Belfry doesn’t throw the ball much, when they do it is usually to the TE. Don’t believe us, ask Grayson Cook and Seth Mounts. Adkins and his counterpart on the other side, Maynard, are elite players at the TE position. Adkins missed a handful of games early in the season but returned to the lineup to score 9 TDs for his team from the TE slot, doubling as a FB. Averaged over 15-yards per reception and a crippling blocker as the offensive line’s “sixth member.” Plays both baseball and basketball too while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
No. 17, DE-TE-McKaden Maynard, 6-2, 185-pounds, Belfry Middle. With the graduation of Grayson Cook, headed to play college football on a full-ride to FBS’s Air Force Academy, it isn’t inconceivable McKaden doesn’t get early PT lined up opposite Seth Mounts next year in one of the Belfry defense’s hybrid OLB-DE slots. Maynard, also fantastic at TE catching 4-TD passes for a team many around Kentucky believe has yet to discover the forward pass, could see early PT with his buddy Adkins at TE especially when Belfry goes “two-tight,” which is pretty much every-single-snap. Maynard was splendid on defense for the Buccaneers. McKaden picked off 3 passes, which is incredible for a DE, and collected 5 QB-sacks and recovered 6-fumbles. This one player gained for his team 14 possession out of the normal course of play. We can’t even begin to tell you how important something like that is for a team. Look for him to play early.
No. 18, DB- Kamden Hughes, 5-10, 170-pounds, Meece Middle (Somerset). If there is a place to get early PT, one wouldn’t think in the lineup for what will be the defending State Football Champion in the 2A classification would be the place. However, Somerset graduates 24-seniors from off its roster including many defenders to include, virtually, its entire front-defensive-seven. Hughes played both ways for Meece Middle (of course). He helped lead Meece to a State Title in the KYMSFA, has made at least one All-American Middle School football team, and just finished up a year where he was selected by the KYMSFA as the Division 3, Regional Player of the Year. In addition to defense, where we have slotted him and see him contributing once he hits Somerset’s roster quickly next year, Hughes played running-back and slot for the offense and played them very, very well. This kid could have gained selection on either side of the football and versatility like that usually sees the field.
No. 19, OL- Ethan Phillips, 6-0, 230-pounds, Highlands Middle School. If there is a place where a freshman might play, one wouldn’t think it would be for Kentucky’s premier football program, at least historically, and one which plays in the 5A classification. However, not all young bigs are created equally. Phillips is a kid who is possibly the best interior offensive lineman in the middle school ranks. He didn’t play middle school football this year as he played up on the 9th grade team which finished 9-1 with him in the starting lineup. Ethan is a multi-sport athlete who plays basketball and also wrestles in addition to what he does in football. The kid already is deadlifting 300-pounds and squatting 225. He can play from tackle to center along the offensive front and plays NG on defense. He has a 3.2 GPA and is on the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council. This kid is a definite, future star in the high school game. We are quite certain on this. Can’t tell you for sure when he enters the lineup on Friday nights but feel confidently it will be in 2020.
No. 20, LB- Anias Mitchell, 6-0, 165-pounds, Browning Springs Middle. Like many of the Madisonville, Kentucky MS stars, we don’t know where this guy ends up playing though we suspect it will be at North-Hopkins. He could see his first action in the defensive 3rd level at safety though we do expect he will mature into a fantastically athletic LB at the HS level. Mitchell brings incredible athleticism to any defensive second level and is also a star on the hardwood. This 8th grade LB runs the 40 in 4.8-seconds and the short-shuttle in 4.4-seceonds. He avenged over 8-tckles a game for Browning Springs and has a “feel for the game.” What we mean is Mitchell make good reads and fills holes like a much older player. This kid is a superior athlete and could grow into a back-four, lengthy guy as he matures and gets faster, provided he doesn’t get to thick, in which case he will play LB.
Well, there it is folks, the twenty 2024-stars we believe will see the field the fastest among the many stars aligning the diadem that is the incoming freshmen class. Are we right? Are we wrong? Who knows? We suppose we shall know the answers shortly enough!
This is Coach HB Lyon, reporting for KPGFootball, and we’re JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!
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