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Breakout seasons in Clayton County have already begun

Photo by Derrick Mahone
Riverdale running back Kamhad Magwood has led the Raiders in rushing the last two games.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Riverdale running back Kamhad Magwood has led the Raiders in rushing the last two games.

Where were these guys a year ago?

They were junior varsity standouts. They were varsity understudies. They were just another local high school football player.

Now, they’re making their presence known.

Over the course of the first four weeks of the season, several players in Clayton County have started to emerge from anonymity into key cogs for their team.

Here are five players you may not have known coming into the season who appear poised to have a bright future:

Rashad Canty, Riverdale: Riverdale hasn’t put up huge numbers passing, but when the Raiders have thrown it the 6-foot-4 senior receiver has been one of junior quarterback Greg Taylor’s most reliable targets. The fourth-year starter has shown his ability to stretch the field on several occasions, including a 26-yard touchdown pass to ice Riverdale’s 21-0 season opening win over North Clayton and a 30-yard reception to keep a crucial drive alive against Drew.

Kamhad Magwood, Riverdale: Raiders coach Olten Downs couldn’t be happier with how his senior running back has contributed to the Riverdale backfield. The 6-foot 215-pounder has relished his role as a change-of-pace compliment to scatback-type Ti’Keem Cooper. Magwood has led the Raiders in rushing the last two games, including his 75-yard performance in last Friday’s 28-14 win at previously ranked Grady. Downs will be counting on his one-two punch to pace Riverdale’s offense tonight at Dutchtown.

Jeff Murphy, Lovejoy: Wildcats offensive coordinator Craig Chatman says he has always had confidence in the senior wide receiver, but he played behind other talent players. This season, he is having a breakout year with six receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns. With many of the Wildcats’ opponents concentrating on Div. I players Arshad Jackson and JuMichael Ramos, Murphy is quickly becoming a favorite target of quarterback Alejandro Bennifield.

DeJuan Simms, Forest Park: The junior running back is in his first season as a starter for the Panthers. He has been a bright spot for first-year coach Don Williams and his “West Coast” offensive scheme. In two games this season, he has rushed for a team-leading 208 yards on 40 carries, sporting a 5.2 yard per carry average. He also has one touchdown and a long run of 47 yards.

Marquis Terry, Drew: With Lester Knauls nursing injuries and illness the first two games, Terry has been able to fill the void. The sophomore has been a standout on both offense and special teams. In a win over Rockdale last week, he had two punt returns for touchdowns. In the season opener against No. 8 Riverdale, Terry had nine carries for 82 yards, in addition to a 61-yard punt return.