A showcase at Kennesaw Mountain High School was held over the weekend with players ranging from the Class of 2020-25 all competing for an opportunity to earn an invite to play in the Seventh Annual Georgia Elite Classic this December. Showcase Coordinator and recruiting expert Rusty Mansell led the evaluation process, and after an impressive showing, handed out 31 official invites.
“The turnout was great,” said Mansell. “There were some kids that really jumped out to us, and overall, you could really see how much work these kids have been putting in this offseason.”
Four of the invitations went out to members of the Class of 2020, including Therrell safety Rashad Pruitt and Cedar Grove defensive end Christopher Stinson, both of which played in the Junior Elite Classic last December. McEachern defensive end Jonathen Cross and Hillgrove tight end James Reddick received the two other invites to play in this year’s Senior Game.
Five spots were filled for this year’s Junior Game and six invites were handed out for the Sophomore Game—including Mt. Paran kicker Turner Johnson, who starred in last year’s Freshman Game.
“I was excited to see Turner perform the way he did,” said Mansell. “Last year, 44 or 45 yards was pushing it for him, but he walks up yesterday with the whole camp watching and just knocks through a 45-yarder no problem. It’s fun to watch the growth of the kids that return to Georgia Elite year to year.”
There were 10 invitations handed out to play in the Freshman Game, a result of the eye-catching talent that beginning to amass in the Class of 2023. Prince Avenue Christian quarterback Lucian Anderson and Dutchtown linebacker Dwight Johnson Jr. were among the top performers, as well as Kennesaw Mountain receiver Jailen Taylor.
“We are the only Freshman All-Star Game in the state, so you can understand the high stakes that surround it,” said Mansell. “Anderson from Prince Avenue Christian was really good. That was also the first time I’ve gotten to see Johnson play. He ran plays at linebacker, running back and whatever he could to get more reps. His father has NFL pedigree so you like what you are seeing with him at this stage of his development. He is working hard to make his own name and was an easy pick for our game. …We don’t give an MVP at these showcases, but Taylor from Kennesaw Mountain would’ve probably gotten it yesterday if we did. He was fast, caught everything thrown his way and was very tough to cover.”
Two eighth grade quarterbacks (Rome’s Reece Fountain and Hillgrove’s Chase McCravy) and one seventh grade quarterback (Houston County’s Antwann Hill Jr.) were also invited.
“The three middle school quarterbacks definitely stood out to me yesterday,” said Mansell. “You look at the two eighth graders, the Hillgrove and the Rome kid, and you look at the seventh grader, people just couldn’t believe he was 12 years old. Antwann is actually the nephew of UGA offensive guard Trey Hill. He’s already 5-foot-11 and 150 pounds as a rising seventh grader.”
More invitations will be rewarded once the season kicks off and Mansell is already expecting a busy September and October.
“We are done with camps for the year so what I advised everyone to do yesterday is after the first three games, to cut up a minute-long hudl tape and get it to us and we’ll put out another big batch of invites in September and then we’ll do another round in October,” said Mansell. “We’ll probably invite between 100 and 200 kids at the end of September so the game tape will be very important. We’re really looking for two, three or 4-game highlights that are one or one-in-a-half minutes long. That’s really what we’ll need for the evaluation process.”
ABOUT THE CLASSIC
The seventh annual Georgia Elite Classic at McEachern High School will feature a double-header on Dec. 21 between the Seventh Grade All-Stars (4 p.m.) and the Eighth Grade All-Stars (6:30 p.m.). The five remaining contests will take place on Sunday, Dec. 22. Starting things off will be the Senior All-Stars at 10 a.m. followed at 12:30 p.m. by the academically-inspired Brain Bowl that was introduced for the first time at last year’s Classic. The Junior All-Stars will play at 3 p.m., the Freshman All-Stars are slotted for 5:30 p.m. and the Sophomore All-Stars will take the field in the 8 p.m. finale.
In addition to staging the inaugural Brain Bowl, the 2018 Georgia Elite Classic also featured a Seventh and Eighth Grade game for the first time. This dramatically grew the event, and as a result, more the 500 participants and 180 different Georgia High Schools were represented in last year’s games.
To be considered for the 2019 Georgia Elite Classic visit georgiaeliteclassic.com
KENNESAW MOUNTAIN SHOWCASE INVITEES
Class of 2020
S Rashad Pruitt (Therrell)
TE James Reddick (Hillgrove)
DE Jonathen Cross (McEachern)
DE Christopher Stinson (Cedar Grove)
Class of 2021
G Chase Soutar (Woodstock)
QB Dylan Brody Lackey (Sonoraville)
QB Deymon Fleming Jr. (Greater Atlanta Christian)
CB Kylan Wimbush (Sandy Creek)
CB William Mitchell III (Parkview)
Class of 2022
OT Jace Warren (Calhoun)
DE Cason Henry (Walton)
DE Andre Guth (Johns Creek)
LB Derrell Farrar (Grayson)
S AJ Vaccaro (Creekview)
K Turner Johnson (Mt. Paran)
Class of 2023
DE Treveon Campbell (Central Gwinnett)
OT Connor Lew (Kennesaw Mountain)
QB Lucian Anderson (Prince Avenue Christian)
TE Evan Duke (Kennesaw Mountain)
WR Jailen Taylor (Kennesaw Mountain)
WR Pearce Spurlin (Walton)
LB Armon Jackson (Newton)
RB Tyshon Jenkins (Kennesaw Mountain)
RB Joseph Taylor Jr. (Central Gwinnett)
Class of 2024
OL Paul Harrington (Blessed Trinity)
OL Parker McClendor (McEachern)
DE Azion Stinson (McEachern)
QB Reece Fountain (Rome)
QB Chase McCravy (Hillgrove)
Class of 2025
QB Antwann Hill Jr. (Houston County)