Drew running back Marquis Terry rushed for 936 yards after recovering from a preseason wrist injury that sidelined him for the first four games of the season. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
Football fans will get a glimpse into the future on Tuesday when a talented junior class takes the limelight at Grady Stadium.
The annual AT&T Junior Bowl will showcase members of this season’s junior class in an all-star game format. Stockbridge coach Kevin Whitley will serve as an assistant on the West squad.
Founders of the game are former NFL players Izell Reese and Joe Burns. A 1998 draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys, Reese also played for the Denver Broncos and the Buffalo Bills before retiring in 2005.
Burns, a Thomasville native, played four seasons in the NFL, all with the Buffalo Bills. Before his professional career, Burns starred at Georgia Tech after a decorated career at Thomas County Central, where he played on three state championship teams.
There are eight players from Clayton and Henry counties that are expected to play in the 1 p.m. game.
Here is a look at each of the players on rosters:
Darius Anderson, Mundy’s Mill: The 290-pound offensive tackle will play on the East squad. He was considered the best offensive linemen on the Tigers’ team, which reached the Class AAAAA quarterfinals. The Tigers, the Region 4-AAAAA, Div. A champions, rushed for an average of 238 yards rushing and 111 passing per game with 52 touchdowns. He played the left tackle position and blocked for 2,000-yard rusher Rodney Smith.
Malik Barkley, Dutchtown: The 205-pounder will represent the East squad. He didn’t have overwhelming stats for the Bulldogs team, but is considered a top recruit in the upcoming class. He already had an offer from Ole Miss after his sophomore season. Barkley rushed for 273 yards on 69 carries and scored seven touchdowns. As a sophomore, he rushed for 339 yards and four touchdowns following a freshman season of 169 yards and three touchdowns.
Montrell Custis, Lovejoy: A top defensive back prospect in the junior class. He will play for the West squad. Custis has verbally committed to Kentucky early in the season. Because of the talent on the Wildcats’ offensive roster, Custis went up against some top wide receiver on a daily basis in practice. He had four interceptions and 25 pass break-ups on the season. Custis, the cousin of former Lovejoy record-setting tailback Travis Custis, played some on the offensive side of the ball.
Nick Dawson, ELCA: He often played in the shadows of talented teammate Andrew Williams, one of the top defensive prospects in the 2014 class. Dawson commanded a double-team by most opponents this season for the Region 5-A champions. He will play on the East squad.
Randy Robinson, Lovejoy: Considered the Wildcats top offensive lineman, Robinson will play on the West squad. He has offers from several major colleges and was invited to a couple all-star games. Robinson blocked for a region championship team that had a 1,000-yard rusher, passer and receiver.
Jonathan Slade, Union Grove: When the Wolverines 2,000-yard rusher from the previous season graduated, the 6-foot-5 quarterback was expected to step up this season. Slade didn’t disappoint for the Wolverines by passing for 1,393 yards and 11 touchdowns. He will play for the West squad in the all-star game. He is considered a pocket passer. As a sophomore, he passed for 1,068 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Marquis Terry, Drew: Despite missing the first five games with a broken wrist injury, the 175-pounder finished with 936 yards on 127 carries. He also scored four rushing touchdowns and had 13 receptions for 267 yards and a touchdown. He is garnering recruiting interest from Georgia, Clemson, Missouri and Tennessee. He will play on the West squad.
Preston Williams, Lovejoy: The 6-foot-5 wide receiver is considered among the top recruits in the junior class in the country. He will play for the West squad in the all-star game. In addition to his offensive skills, Williams played some at defensive back and was kickoff and punt return specialist for the four-time region champion Lovejoy program. Williams, who has verbally committed to Tennessee, had 56 receptions for a Clayton County-leading 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns.