When Mallard Creek opens its football season against Butler on Aug. 19, opposing defenses will have to key on stopping the potent Maverick offensive attack.
Gone from last year's team is all-state quarterback Marquise Williams, a Super Prep All-American, who threw for 45 touchdowns and rushed for 19 more.
This year, two of the top offensive players in the state, offensive lineman D.J. Humphries and running back Jela Duncan, will lead the Maverick attack.
Humphries, who Rivals.com rates as its No. 3 prospect in the country, is a 6-foot-5, 265-pound blocking machine. Humphries will draw double and triple teams all season.
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It won't matter.
Humphries is the best offensive lineman in the country and will shed blockers and create massive running lanes.
Behind him, reaping the benefits, is Duncan. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior halfback racked up 17 touchdowns and ran for 1,375 yards last season. He will help to carry the offensive burden and will be one of the main targets for opposing defenses.
Neither Duncan nor Humphries have signed with colleges, but both are Division 1 recruits. Duncan is being heavily recruited and has drawn interest from Clemson, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Virginia Tech and many more and has been offered scholarships to East Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, Purdue and Pittsburgh.
Duncan has been showcasing his skills this off-season to rave reviews.
Scouts say Duncan is big enough to succeed on the college level, and has breakaway speed with his 4.23 time in the 40.
Last season, in a 55-7 win over Lake Norman, Duncan ran for 232 yards on just six carries, a testament to his speed and power.
What impresses college coaches more than his running prowess is the 3.5 grade point average Duncan carries in the classroom.
On the field, Duncan has been a quick study also. His sophomore year, Duncan led the Mavericks in receptions and is still a dangerous option catching passes in the flats.
No matter how he gets the ball, Duncan is going to be key to the Mavericks attack. Running behind the huge holes Humphries will open for him makes him all the more dangerous.
When the Mavericks kick off the season, they should be one of the area's best teams. How well they do will depend in large part to how well Humphries and Duncan work together.