Top National High School Games to Watch

Max Browne & Cooper Bateman

A look at some of the top national prep games to watch this coming season, including a battle of the nation's top two quarterbacks, Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline's Max Browne and Salt Lake City (Utah) Cottonwood's Cooper Bateman...

With the high school football season kicking off in more states this weekend, there are several marquee match-ups of national programs facing each other, games filled with elite 2013, 2014 and 2015 prospects.

This weekend alone features four games involving FOX Sports NEXT Top 50 teams on both sides.

Here is a look at some of the top games, with their preseason FOX Sports NEXT Top 50 ranking, as well as their top prospects to watch.

GAMES TO WATCH

Friday, Aug. 24: No. 5 Olney (Md.) Our Lady of Good Counsel vs. No. 20 Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman

Good Counsel won the WCAC with a 12-0 record last year while Bishop Gorman won the NIAA 4A title a year ago and both finished in the Top 7 of the FOX Sports Next Top 50 a year ago.  This year, Good Counsel comes in ranked fifth nationally while Bishop Gorman comes in ranked No. 20, but both are the top-ranked teams in their states.  Good Counsel is led by elite five-star cornerback Kendall Fuller and four-star linebacker Dorian O'Daniel, giving Good Counsel a leg up defensively, joined by Reggie McGee and Marcel Ngachie at linebacker and Kirk Garner at cornerback.

Gorman was hit hard by graduation but still returns quarterback Anu Solomon, a commit to Arizona, who has led the Gaels to the past two state titles, and one of the premier two-way threats in the 2014 class in safety/running back Nathan Starks.  Isaiah Nocua, a 2014 linebacker for Gorman, is committed to BYU already.  Good Counsel is one of four out-of-state games the Gaels will play to start the season.

Saturday, Aug. 25: No. 16 Byrnes (S.C.) at No. 24 Oscar Smith (Va.)

Oscar Smith comes in with a pretty loaded squad, led by linebackers Melvin Vaughn and Kynia Anderson, receiver Zack Jones and elite 2014 prospects Andrew Brown, Jaylen Bradshaw as well as a top 2015 prospect in running back DeShawn McClease.  Byrnes features receiver Akia Booker, cornerback Shane Samuels from the senior class and junior quarterback Shuler Bentley and offensive lineman Ben Clark as well as 2015 receiver Tavin Richardson.

Saturday, Aug. 25: No. 6 Santa Margarita (Calif.) at No. 33 Phoenix (Ariz.) Brophy Prep


Washington State commit Tyler Bruggman leads Brophy Prep.
The Eagles of Santa Margarita are loaded and have already had six players commit to BCS schools. Nebraska quarterback commit Johnny Stanton is the headliner and led the team to a state title last season. River Cracraft, a Washington State commit, is Stanton's top target at receiver and the Eagles offensive line averages over 300 pounds and is led by Washington-bound Dane Crane and UCLA commit Eric Bunte. Safety Connor O'Brien, a Washington commit, leads a tough, physical defense that should be one of the state's best.

Brophy has an elite quarterback in their right with Washington State commit Tyler Bruggman. Wide out Devon Allen is a national recruit with his choice of just about any college in the country. He's one of the top hurdlers in the nation as well. Offensive lineman Charlie Renfree is one of the state's top guard prospects and junior tackle Austin Hall has a chance to develop into one of the premier lineman in the region. Linebacker Andrew Curtis was the section defensive player of the year as a junior and fellow 'backer Robert Relf is a legitimate Div I prospect as well.

Sunday, Aug. 26: No. 27 Trotwood-Madison (Ohio) at University School (Fla.)

Trotwood-Madison features a host of top prospects, including four Big Ten commitments in cornerback Cameron Burrows (Ohio State), linebacker Michael McCray (Michigan), defensive tackle Jarrod Clements (Illinois) and cornerback Reon Dawson (Illinois).  From the 2014 class, running back Ashton Jackson is the primary offensive weapon.

University is led by defensive tackle Maquedius Bain and linebackers Skai Moore and Nick Internicola (Rutgers), defensively and offensively, receiver Jordan Cunningham is their top offensive weapon.

Sunday, Aug. 26: No. 14 Cincinnati (Ohio) Moeller vs. No. 40 Gilman (Md.)


Shane Jones, a Michigan State commit, is one of Moeller's best.
Moeller has a long history as one of Ohio's top prep programs and enters 2012 ranked by many as Ohio's top team. The Crusaders return four players who have already issued verbal pledges in Shane Jones (Michigan State), Keith Watkins (Northwestern), Alex Gall (Miami) and Evan Jansen (Indiana) and open the season with a major test against the Gilman School of Baltimore in the 15th annual Crosstown Showdown. The game will be televised live on ESPNU and matches two programs that enter the season with a national ranking.

Gilman's offense is led by Maryland quarterback pledge Shane Cockerille, who will look for a couple of 2014 prospects to protect him in offensive linemen Chibuzo Ukandu and Sheldon Johnson. One of his main targets could be 2015 wide receiver prospect Robert Branch. While the Greyhounds offense should be strong, it's their defense that has them so highly regarded going into the season, and for good reason. Led by FOXSportsNext.com four-star defensive tackle and Michigan pledge Henry Poggi and three-star linebacker and Virginia pledge Micah Kiser, Gilman is not short on talent. Joining the two pledges are safety Wyatt Dickerson who holds offers from Syracuse and Navy as well as 2014 linebacker Melvin Keihn, who has already picked up offers from Boston College, Maryland, Rutgers, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

Thursday, Aug. 30: No. 21 Euless (Texas) Trinity at No. 8 Bellevue (Wash.)

Trinity is known for their great defensive line play and they're once again loaded in the trenches. Massive defensive end Sam Tevi -- 6-foot-5, 270 pounds -- has committed to Utah. On the other side of the line, 6-foot-5, 245-pound Gaius Vaenuka has scholarship offers from Arizona State, Missouri, TCU and Utah, among others. Junior defensive tackle Hafoka Olie is an absolute load in the middle and is expected to be one of the top underclassmen in the region. On the offensive side of the ball, tight end Jason Reese is an Arizona State commit, the fourth player from Trinity in the last six years to announce for the Sun Devils.

Bellevue has one of the region's top two-way players in UCLA commit Myles Jack. Jack will play linebacker in college but is an excellent running back at the high school level as well. Fellow linebacker Sean Constantine is a Washington commit and earned all-state honors as a junior. He'll also play tight end in the Wolverines Wing-T offense. Budda Baker is one of the top juniors in the region and is already a national recruit with double digit scholarship offers. He's an explosive running back and will also play all over the secondary. Wide receiver Rueben Mwehla has committed to Idaho and is one of the fastest players in the program. Safety/outside 'backer Michael Carlson has a pair of early offers on the table and could see his recruitment expand with a big senior year.

Friday, Aug. 31: No. 17 Miami (Fla.) Central at No. 4 Grayson (Ga.)


Top overall recruit Robert Nkemdiche fuels Grayson.
Grayson prospects: Robert Nkemdiche, the No. 1 prospect in the country who is committed to Clemson leads the way, but they also have running back Wayne Gallman (Clemson commit), cornerback David Kamara (Clemson commit), defensive end Zach Barnes (Tennessee commit), and Jack Banda (Arizona State commit). All are 2013 prospects.

Miami Central: Central has two of the top 2014 running backs in the country in Joseph Yearby and Dalvin Cook. Both have numerous big-time offers, but both are committed –- Yearby to Florida State and Cook to Clemson. Other 2014 prospects to watch are offensive tackle Trevor Darling (Miami commit) and cornerback Deatrick Nichols. Leading the way in 2013 are safety Ahmad Thomas (Oklahoma commit), linebacker Marquez Hodges (Syracuse commit), cornerback Da'Wan Hunte (North Carolina State commit), and defensive end Chris Herise.

Saturday, Sept. 1: No. 20 Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman vs. Honolulu (Hawaii) St. Louis

The Gaels follow up their opener with Good Counsel by taking a visit to the islands and facing St. Louis of Honolulu.  Solomon and Starks will lead the Gaels against a stout St. Louis squad featuring a pair of SEC commits in receiver Jeremy Tabuyo (Texas A&M) and linebacker Colton Goeas (Tennessee), as well as two more West 150 prospects in offensive guard Reeve Koehler and defensive end Kamalei Correa.

Friday, Sept. 7: No. 12 Tampa (Fla.) Plant vs. No. 25 River Ridge (La.) John Curtis

A game featuring two of the south's top football programs. Plant is led by seniors in safety Paris Bostick (Georgia), outside linebacker Mitchell Wright (USF) and offensive lineman Richy Klepal (Florida State). John Curtis is ready for another state title run behind the play of linebacker Duke Riley, running back Brandon Porter, and offensive linemen Brandon Godfrey and Anthony Taylor. Defensive back Terrence Alexander and Malachi Dupree are two of Louisiana's top juniors.

John Curtis has had an amazing run under head coach J.T. Curtis. The Patriots are 506-54-6 with 24 state championships in 42 years. Meanwhile, Plant has turned into one of the Sunshine State powers under coach Robert Weiner. The Panthers have won four state titles since 2006.

Friday, Sept. 7: No. 47 Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline vs. Salt Lake City (Utah) Cottonwood


Cooper Bateman has a highly anticipated showdown with Max Browne on the docket.
From a star-power standpoint, the quarterback is the marquee position, and this game will feature the top two quarterbacks in the country in No. 1 ranked Max Browne from Skyline and No. 2 ranked Cooper Bateman from Cottonwood. The two have competed against each other at the Elite 11 and at The Opening, where Bateman's 7ON squad beat Browne's in the final.

But this game will be the high school teams, and while Bateman is one of the top prospects in the country, his prep team was just 5-5 a year ago.  Cottonwood has had quite the offseason, losing their head coach and offensive coordinator, but with Bateman (Alabama) having receiver Inoke Lotulelei (BYU) and Siale Faikalatonga (Utah) to throw to and Elijah Tupai up front, the Colts are looking to make noise in their state.

Skyline has made plenty of it, winning three of the past four 4A state titles (and four out of the last five in two classifications), and last year, Browne carried the Spartans to the 4A state title.  The USC verbal won't be alone, though, having Washington State pledge Peyton Pelluer leading the Spartans defense.

Friday, Oct. 26: No. 1 Louisville (Ken.) Trinity at No. 14 Cincinnati (Ohio) Moeller

Not only are these two of the top teams in the country, but they have several top college prospects as well. Trinity, the defending national champions by FOX Sports Next, features five-star receiver James Quick, four-star defensive end Jason Hatcher (USC), four-star running back Dalyn Dawkins, four-star cornerback Ryan White (Vanderbilt) and quarterback Travis Wright, who led Trinity to the national title a year ago.

Moeller is led by offensive lineman Alex Gall (Miami), running back Keith Watkins (Northwestern), linebacker Shane Jones (Michigan State) and tight end Evan Jansen (Indiana).

Friday, Nov. 2: Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic at Friendship Collegiate (DC)

Bergen Catholic has a number of talented prospects in the 2013 class, namely safety Kyle Queiro (Northwestern) and offensive lineman Richard Queen (UMass), as well as a top 2014 prospect in defensive end Garrett Dickerson (10 offers).

Friendship features four Maryland commits in offensive lineman Derwin Gray, linebacker Yannick Ngakoue, linebacker Jermaine Carter and linebacker Cavon Walker, as well as elite 2014 cornerback Jalen Tabor (more than 25 offers).

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