JONESBORO — The dog days of summer are crucial for local high school football programs. There are opportunities throughout the summer for programs to improve at various camps, 7-on-7 tournaments and practice sessions.
At those events, individual players begin to emerge as coveted college recruits. Clayton County is home to several fast-rising targets who are making noise on the recruiting scene.
At Drew, wide receiver Tyrek Presley has collected 10 offers as he enters his senior season, including offers from Florida Atlantic and Georgia Southern At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Presley combines size with athleticism, which he showcased on the baseball field for the Titans. Presley was a First Team All-County and All-Region selection last season following a season of 646 yards and three touchdowns.
Teammate Deven Brantley has also started to gain some traction on the recruiting scene. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound athlete holds offers from Central Florida, Missouri and Iowa State, among others. Brantley recorded 54 tackles and four sacks last season as a junior.
Forest Park Panthers
Much of Forest Park’s recruiting interest is geared toward four-star defensive lineman Justin Eboigbe. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound pass rusher has offers from Division I powerhouses such as Alabama, Georgia, Auburn and Oklahoma, among others.
Yet, wide receiver Jacquez Bailey is generating his own interest. The 6-foot-2 wideout has offers from Illinois State and Gardner Webb following a junior season in which he earned All-Region and All-County honors.
Zach Hayes, a 6-foot-3, 300-pound offensive lineman, has been offered by several schools, most recently by Western Carolina. Hayes will lead the Jonesboro offensive line this season.
Lovejoy’s talented wide receiver duo of Dayton Wade and Jerrod Means has emerged on the recruiting scene. Wade has offers from Buffalo and Southern Miss, among others, while Means’ most recent offer came from the Naval Academy. Wade accounted for 510 yards and two touchdowns despite missing most of last season. Means caught five touchdowns.
Up front, 6-foot-4, 295-pound offensive lineman Will Rogers holds 22 offers from programs such as West Virginia, Cincinnati and Boston College. Rogers was First Team All-Region and All-County last season after springing holes for 2,000-yard rusher Zion Custis.
The Mustangs are a program on the rise, and defensive back Jamal Hill is at the forefront of the program’s resurgence. Hill, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound safety, holds offers from NC State, Michigan and Arkansas, among others. Hill recorded 67 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, 16 passes defended and three interceptions last season en route to All-County and All-Region honors.
Junior wide receiver Jimmy Calloway, 2017 Clayton County Offensive Player of the Year, is also beginning to garner Division I interest. Calloway accounted for 13 total touchdowns last season.
Mundy’s Mill Tigers
Wide receiver Nick Manson is committed to Miami-Ohio, but the 6-foot-2, 195-pound receiver will likely maintain consistent recruiting interest over the next year. Manson caught 42 passes for 574 yards and seven touchdowns last year as a junior. He was a First Team All-Region and All-County selection.
North Clayton Eagles
6-foot-4, 180-pound wide receiver Onuma Dieke is beginning to make waves for North Clayton. Dieke has impressed at camps and 7-on-7’s this summer with his ability to attack the ball in the air.
Riverdale is home to two of the top recruits in the state in Dante Walker and Jaelyn Lay. Walker, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound defensive lineman, has offers from Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia, among others. He was Clayton County Defensive Player of the Year last season after recording nine sacks and 23 tackles for a loss. Lay, an athletic tight end, is committed to Clemson.
Defensive lineman Wykevious Thomas is also generating some interest, as is sophomore Derwin Burgess Jr., who figures to be heavily recruited over the next three years.