USA TODAY high school sportsFriday Night Notes is a weekly roundup of high school recruiting that looks at the latest news from around the country – from the class of 2024 to ’25 and beyond.
The king remains the king. And right now, the kings of college football are the Georgia Bulldogs, who are dominating the race both on the field and in the recruiting game. Georgia is coming off its second consecutive national championship, and so is the reunion No. 2 recruiting class from 2023. Nor an accident, especially since they are spending about 50% more in recruiting than any other Power 5 program in 2022.
While not a guarantee of success, outplaying your opponents by a wide margin is a strategy that tends to work more often than it fails. This morning, Georgia added another important asset to her future plans – a piece that can fit in a variety of ways.
Here’s how Swainsboro, GA four-star athlete DeMelo Jones announced his commitment to the Bulldogs.
COMMITTED! @Mansall247 @ChadSimmons_ @scottroberts11 @_DwightSmith @n_david88 @Hayesfawcett3 #strapmobb pic.twitter.com/YAURfJzJVT
— 1 † (@TheMelloJones) March 17, 2023
Jones (6-foot-1, 176 pounds) was a popular recruit, receiving offers from 27 different programs. According to On3, his top 10 schools were Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Miami, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
Kirby Smart gets an extremely versatile two-way playmaker in Jones. Last season he ran for 1,279 yards and scored 20 touchdowns on the ground. As a receiver, he totaled 384 yards and seven more scores. He also threw one touchdown pass. Meanwhile, of protectionhe posted a sack, two tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and six pass breakups.
When the composite rankings are taken into account, Jones is the 18th best athlete in his class and is No. 28 overall in the state. He makes 10 hard engagements in Georgia’s 2024 class, which ranks first in the nation.
Just as Georgia reigns supreme in college football, the team to beat in recent years in high school football is the Mater Dei Monarchs from Santa Ana, California.
One of Mater Dei’s top quarterbacks is narrowing down his list of potential colleges. Four star cornerback Zabieen Brown recently listed his top four schools: Alabama, Ohio, Oregon and USC.
— Zabien Brown (@zabien_brown) March 12, 2023
He recently spoke to Sports Illustrated for his list and broke all four. Brown mentioned that he has a good relationship with the USC coaching staff. He also likes how Oregon develops its players, Alabama’s strong tradition and Ohio State’s culture.
If nothing else, he has the length (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) and ball skills to make it to the next level. brown has posted six interceptions and 14 pass breakups so far. According to the composite rankings, he is No. 8 among cornerbacks, #10 in California and number 73 overall in the class of 2024.
No one has done a better job recruiting high-profile cornerbacks than Deion Sanders since taking over at Colorado in early December.
Sanders and Buffalo completed the 2023 recruiting cycle without a hitch, flipping the No. 2 overall prospect and top cornerback Cormani McClain to pair him with the No. 1 recruit in 2021 — cornerback Travis Hunter, who followed Sanders from Jackson State.
The next big recruiting push from Coach Prime will come in the spring, which is shaping up to be a busy season in Boulder. Last week, a four-star running back Stacey Gage announced that she would visit him for Colorado’s spring game, which will be on ESPN on April 22. Gage, however, will be just one of several high school football stars.
At the top of the list are three five-star defensive line recruits. First, there’s Friendship Leadership Academy (DC) EDGE Dylan Stewart, who will be visiting on April 21st. Next day Lee Summit North (Mo.) DL Williams Nwaneri and Duncanville (Texas) EDGE, END Colin Simmons will visit.
Pinson Valley (Ala.) three-star tight end Tevis Metcalf and Raymore-Peculiar (Mo.) four-star tight end Jaden Redel are also slated to be in attendance for the spring game.
Two other prospects who are expected to visit Colorado but don’t yet have official dates set are Dougherty (Ga.) four-star running back Cam Davis and Sultana (Calif.) four-star athlete LaMason Waller.