A few hits before Derrick Mahone and I head out to Lovejoy High School to watch a gaggle the states best football programs duke it out on the Lovejoy practice fields in 7-on-7 passing league action.

Well, technically it's not a league since no one is playing for place. But nevertheless, it should be fun to watch, and if nothing else, fill up our notebooks with blogable material.

I'm getting a feel from coaches, players and fans around the two-county area — not to mention our own newsroom discussions — that this could be a big year in the Southern Crescent for the emergence of Football Talent.

We've got 14 players on our annual Most Wanted list that you'll see later in the summer, but as I perused through some recruiting websites, I noticed a few of our athletes dotting the landscape.

For instance, 247sports.com has eight players from Clayton and Henry County represented in its top 150:

S Cortez McDowell, Locust Grove (No. 9)

DE Andrew Williams, ELCA (No. 20)

LB DeMarquis Gates, Lovejoy (No. 28)

OL Justin Brown, Lovejoy (No. 31)

CB Kendarius Webster, Stockbridge (No. 36)

WR Rashad Canty, Riverdale (No. 96)

QB Dalton Etheridge, ELCA (No. 101)

DE Chinedu Okonya, Riverdale (No. 117)

McDowell is also the ninth-ranked safety in the nation according to the recruiting site. Each of these players are starting to pick up multiple scholarship offers, while Gates has already committed to Ole Miss.

I like this list, but I expect to see some shuffling and additions once the season gets started.

Let me hear back from you. Who’s missing? Who would you add? Who’s poised to emerge on the scene?