By: Craig Sager
The third installment of the annual junior all-star game will feature a sophomore game for the first time. The newly-named Georgia Junior Sophomore Elite Classic will feature the best sophomores in the state squaring off before the juniors take the field in the backend of the double-header. In just two years, the classic has presented two thrilling games and incredible individual performances. Last year’s classic was dominated by North Gwinnett’s K.J. Hancock, who hauled in nine catches for 150 yards and three touchdowns. Hancock was a late addition to the classic that ended up winning the game’s overall MVP and is set to sign at Miami (Ohio) this February.
While the individual performances are always exciting to see, watching players from all over the state and from each of the classifications come together is a true representation of the excellence of Georgia High School Football. Blessed Trinity’s Conor Davis quarterbacked the South team with his four-touchdown performance and 20-of-26 passing for 357 yards last year. Davis hit Marion County’s Lorenzo Smothers on a crossing route that resulted in a one-handed touchdown grab that went viral around the football community. Two minutes later, the South team was on the board again as Davis connected with McEachern transfer Tyler Simmons, who then pitched back to Sam Jackson on the hook and ladder for a 55-yard touchdown. Davis also hit Colquitt County star Kiel Pollard for a 7-yard touchdown.
This all-star game boasts the top defensive talent as well and Roswell’s Marcelino Ball stole the spotlight last year. Ball turned in 10 tackles to lead the North team and included one tackle for the loss, while earning the Defensive MVP.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR…
This year’s double-header will provide plenty of star-power in both matchups. In the sophomore game, the future of some of Georgia’s best programs take the stage, including six freshman phenoms that will join the action.
In the junior game, some of the state’s biggest names are set to star in this year’s game. Mill Creek center Tyler Fannin anchors the American team offensive line and will have quarterbacks Bailey Hockman (McEachern) and Baron Radcliff (Norcross) to snap to. Out wide, Northside-Warner Robins star Tobias Oliver will get looks at receiver, which will be a change of pace after quarterbacking the run-heavy Eagles offense.
On the National Team, Grayson’s Chase Brice and Griffin’s Tylan Morton will quarterback the offense. Glynn Academy’s electrifying quarterback and UGA-commit Deejay Dallas (ATH) will be able to take snaps at wide receiver and running back to showcase his coveted skillset. Roswell’s Sheldon Evans, who has rushed for over 1,600 yards and 26 touchdowns this season will also lead the backfield. Defensively, Archer five-star safety Isaiah Pryor will team up with Roswell’s four-star junior LeAnthony Williams to challenge the American Team’s passing attack.