Gainesville quarterback Deshaun Watson, a sophomore who scored or passed for all five touchdowns in a 35-21 victory over Sandy Creek in the Class AAA quarterfinals last week, is the fastest mover in GHSF Daily’s Player of the Year Watch. Watson can surpass 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing this week in the semifinals.
Three players whose teams have been eliminated remain in the lower half of the top 10, but there are a few outside the list who can finish strong and make a case for themselves. Those include Lovejoy’s Travis Custis, who has rushed for 1,675 yards and scored 30 touchdowns, and Carver’s Marquez Holloway, who ran for more than 200 yards in the quarterfinals and has rushed for 1,646 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Here’s the latest top 10:
1. RB Tyren Jones, Walton: Jones, a junior, rushed for 141 yards and one touchdown on 30 carries and returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown in a 21-13 Class AAAAA quarterfinal victory over Dacula. On the season, Jones has rushed for 2,111 yards and 31 touchdowns on 280 carries (7.5 yards per carry) and has 13 catches for 185 yards and four touchdowns. He has 36 touchdowns overall. Walton is 13-0 for the first time.
2. DT/RB Robert Nkemdiche, Grayson: Nkemdiche scored four touchdowns and had two sacks in a 33-7 victory over West Forsyth in the Class AAAAA quarterfinals. On the season, Nkemdiche has 53 tackles, 16 for losses, and 15 sacks for a team that is allowing 31.7 yards rushing per game. He has rushed for 371 yards and 15 touchdowns on 73 carries. Nkemdiche is the top-rated junior prospect in the county, according to 247sports. Grayson is ranked No. 5 nationally by USA Today.
3. QB Deshaun Watson, Gainesville: Watson, a sophomore, was 24-of-32 passing for 201 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 138 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries in a 35-21 victory over defending state champion Sandy Creek in the Class AAA quarterfinals. The upset ended Sandy Creek’s 41-game winning streak. For the season, Watson is 200-of-327 passing for 2,914 yards and 39 touchdowns with six interceptions. He has rushed for 943 yards and 14 touchdowns on 140 carries. Gainesville is 12-1.
4. QB Eddie Printz, Lassiter: Printz, a junior who has committed to SMU, was 26-of-38 passing for 261 yards and a touchdown in a 24-14 Class AAAAA quarterfinal victory over third-ranked M.L. King. The victory put Lassiter into the state semifinals for the first time. On the season, Printz is 243-of-385 passing for 2,955 yards and 26 touchdowns with seven interceptions. Lassiter is 10-3.
5. QB Taylor Lamb, Calhoun: Lamb was 18-of-25 passing for 224 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-7 Class AA quarterfinal victory over Dublin. For the season, Lamb is 232-of-332 passing for 3,105 yards and 35 touchdowns with seven interceptions. He has rushed for 188 yards and scored seven touchdowns. Calhoun is 13-0.
6. WR/FS Zack Blaylock, Walton: Blaylock, a senior who has committed to Kentucky, intercepted two passes and had four receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown in a 21-13 Class AAAAA quarterfinal victory over Dacula. For the season, Blaylock has 22 receptions for 424 yards and five touchdowns, 10 interceptions, five returned for touchdowns (three for more than 80 yards), and 68 tackles.
7. RB/DB J.J. Green, Camden County: Green, a junior, rushed for 143 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries and caught a 50-yard TD pass in a 32-31 loss to Colquitt County in the Class AAAAA quarterfinals. On the season, Green rushed for 912 yards on 71 carries (12.9 ypc), caught 14 passes for 337 yards (24.1 ypc), scored 23 touchdowns (at least one in each game), averaged 26.8 yards on eight punt returns, intercepted three passes and blocked three kicks. He averaged 117.3 yards rushing (11.0 ypc) in three playoff games. Camden County finished 12-1.
8. RB Mike Davis, Stephenson: Davis, who has committed to Florida, finished his season with 1,918 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns on 213 carries, an average of 9.0 yards per rush. Stephenson was 9-2.
9. RB Miles Jones, Allatoona: Jones, a senior, rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries in a 32-28 loss to Burke County in the Class AAA quarterfinals. Jones finished with 2,142 yards and 30 touchdowns on 272 carries (7.9 ypc) this season. Allatoona finished 12-1.
10. OL/DL Vadal Alexander, Buford: Alexander, who has committed to LSU, made two tackles behind the line in Buford’s 49-13 victory over Elbert County. Defense is his hobby, as he has fewer than 20 tackles on the season while playing only spot duty on the defensive line. Alexander, who is 6 feet 6 inches, 310 pounds, is better known as one of the top three offensive prospects and a key member of an offense that averages 45.8 points per game and 8.2 yards per rushing attempt.
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