The high school football regular season is almost halfway through, and some freshmen — in the Class of 2021 — have emerged as standouts on the field and as some of the region’s next top college recruits.
Here are four freshmen whom college coaches have either already offered scholarships or in whom they’ve shown great interest. Keep an eye on these young-ins as their teams compete for playoff positioning and eventually postseason titles. They’ll be asked to perform well beyond their years.
College coaches are not allowed to interact with high school freshmen. Any scholarship offers or recruiting interest have been communicated from the colleges to the players through high school head and/or assistant coaches.
Gonzaga quarterback Caleb Williams
The No. 3 Eagles turned to Williams as their starter early on in training camp and never looked back. Coach Randy Trivers has tried to ease Williams’s transition into the offense by limiting his high-risk throws and leaning on a skilled running game and sturdy defense. He used Williams more as a game manager in the early going but has since opened up the playbook all the way. The freshman has shown the ability to make game-changing plays in the pocket and on the run.
“Right now, he’s making very good decisions,” Trivers said last month after Gonzaga knocked off rival Georgetown Prep. “He’s doing a very good job of just procedurally running the show out there.”
Maryland has shown heavy interest in Williams, as have Michigan, Virginia Tech and Virginia.
Wise wide receiver Jalil Farooq
Wise has loads of talent in its receiving corps and secondary. From the first day of training camp, Farooq practiced with the first-team offense, and now he starts as a slot receiver for the No. 2 Pumas. Through four games, he’s second on the team in catches and has one touchdown reception.
The Pumas’ average margin of victory, 40.6 points, means Farooq doesn’t play much in the second half.
He is fast and has strong hands that can catch passes away from his body, coaches say, and he has a knack for finding the soft spot in defenses while running routes. Maryland has already offered him a scholarship.
Pallotti offensive lineman Landon Tengwall
Tengwall’s sheer size, 6-foot-6, 300 pounds, makes him an instant target for college football programs. He is a one-man double-team on the offensive line. The Panthers already have him starting at left tackle, usually a spot reserved for a team’s senior-most offensive lineman.
Tengwall is good at driving to the second level of the defense, and his kick-out blocks on runs to his side of the line of scrimmage stand out on film. He has a scholarship offer from Maryland and interest from Michigan and Penn State.
» DeMatha 2018 tight end Anthony Toro committed to Delaware earlier this week. The No. 1 Stags mainly use Toro as a run blocker, a task at which the 6-foot-3, 220 pound senior has excelled. He has six catches this season for 129 yards and a touchdown.
Next Chapter pic.twitter.com/1fCbbFAbMf
— Anthony (@anthonytoro123) October 1, 2017
» Damascus 2020 defensive lineman Bryan Bresee, 247Sports’s top recruit in his class, visited Virginia Tech this weekend and got some national face time.
ESPN’s cameras caught Bresee chatting with Hokies legend Bruce Smith.
2020 #1 player @bryan_bresee getting some TV time with the legend Bruce Smith at the @VT_Football game #mocofb #allmets @DmassFootball pic.twitter.com/jDA1RWATzm
— Gregg Frazier (@GFraz410) October 1, 2017
And then there’s this picture of Bresee getting to know former NFL and Hokies star Michael Vick.
— Bryan Bresee (@bryan_bresee) October 3, 2017
Must have been a nice visit.
»A whole lot of St. John’s players made recruiting visits to colleges up and down the East Coast this past weekend. Here are a few to keep in mind:
- 2020 wide receiver Rakim Jarret and 2019 running back Keilan Robinson visited Penn State.
- 2019 defensive end Brayden Bapst visited Virginia Tech
- 2019 offensive tackle Elijah Williams visited North Carolina State
One other Cadet to keep an eye on is freshman offensive lineman Colin Henrich, who at 6-foot-3, 305 pounds earned a starting role on the Cadets’ line in Week 2 and helped the St. John’s offense pump out 435 total yards against De La Salle (Calif.), MaxPreps’ 24th-ranked team in the nation. His work on game tape is a master class in the fundamentals of offensive line play.
As a nationally touted middle school prospect, Henrich unofficially visited South Carolina and Michigan’s 2016 Baltimore-area skills camp.
» Keep an eye on Lake Braddock 2019 defensive back Youssof Hanifi. He started for a Lake Braddock team that went 11-2 in 2016 but has struggled under new Coach Mike Dougherty to start the 2017 season. Hanifi visited Virginia Tech in September and is also getting interest from coaches at Cincinnati, Virginia, Penn State, Purdue, Boston College, Syracuse, Rutgers and Maryland.
He plans to visit Cincinnati, Syracuse and Virginia Tech again before the fall is through.
» We’re trying to keep a running list of all the players in the area with Power Five conference offers. And we’ve recently added a page for the Class of 2020. Are we missing anyone? Let us know by commenting on this article or tweeting @jacobbogage, and we’ll make updates.