Mallard Creek High's football team is getting lots of attention this season, for good reason.
The area's best team has ascended to the top of the Observer's Sweet 16 rankings for the first time in school history and is steamrolling through opponents. The Mavericks defeated Mooresville 45-3 in the conference opener for both schools Sept. 16.
Before Friday's game they were 4-0 and nationally ranked: 16th by Max Preps, 26th by Rivals.com and 30th by ESPN. With an opening-week win against Butler, they changed the power rankings of area football.
The Mavericks appear poised to be really good for a long time. Their junior varsity team also was undefeated before last week's game and boasts the same explosive offense and suffocating defense as its varsity counterpart.
Mallard Creek is loaded with individual stars, and so far, they have come together to form one of the best teams in the country.
D.J. Humphries is the marquee prospect, having signed with Florida earlier this year. He is arguably the best offensive lineman in the country, and his signing made national news.
Humphries is not the only Maverick who will be playing for a major Division I school in coming years. Though the number is debatable, some national recruiting sites say at least eight players on the varsity roster will play at high levels of college football.
Mallard Creek has talent all over the field and on both sides of the ball.
Running back Jela Duncan, a 5-10, 190-pound senior, is off to a great start, looking to build on the more than 1,300 yards and 22 touchdowns he compiled a season ago. Duncan combines speed and power and already has offers from schools including Pittsburgh, East Carolina, Wake Forest and Duke.
Jamel Harbison can do a little bit of everything and could be viewed as the most talented skill-position player on the field. The 5-11, 190-pound wide receiver had at least 14 offers but has narrowed his choices to Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Minnesota and East Carolina.
Wide receiver Marquez North, a former quarterback, is 6-3, 215 pounds and one of the fastest Mavericks. With his game-breaking speed, North is being courted by ACC schools such as Virginia Tech and N.C. State but also has a lot of interest from Georgia and others.
Takhare Donaldson, a 5-10, 180-pound defensive back, is receiving lots of interest from a number of schools, including North Carolina, Clemson, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, South Carolina and Columbia. More offers will be coming his way as the season progresses.
Wide receiver Corey Miller caught just 23 passes last year because of competition at his position. But at 6-1, 195 pounds, he is drawing interest from Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and others.
Quarterback Andrew Goodman has been impressive so far in leading the high-output offense. At 6-3, 215 pounds, he has great size and athleticism. Goodman has an offer from Western Michigan and has drawn interest from UNC Charlotte, Youngstown State, Illinois State, Minnesota, Virginia and Wake Forest.
Junior Brian Walker, a 5-11, 170-pound cornerback, already has offers from Auburn and South Carolina and will be one of next year's best defensive backs in the state.
Fellow juniors Anthony Covington (cornerback), Jorian Jordan (wide receiver) and Michael Savage (linebacker) are also drawing lots of interest and will get more offers as the season progresses.
With the talent on this football team, it is easy to see why it has received so much attention. And the Mavericks are hungry enough to continue their season of firsts with a title.