Davidson Day football coach Chad Grier said he isn’t sure if the overall talent in the Carolinas, particularly in the Charlotte area, will be as strong next season as in recent years, but he believes there will be more depth.
“My gut feeling is that we don’t have the 4-star and 5-star kids around here we’ve had in the past, but the overall talent pool is up significantly,” he said.
Ardrey Kell coach Joe Evans agrees, but believes players such as South Mecklenburg defensive back/wide receiver Jacobe Clement and Mallard Creek defensive back Ryan Jones could become household names on national signing day next year.
“One thing you may be missing is a big-time quarterback,” Evans said. “There’s no Austin Kendall in this class (Kendall played at Cuthbertson and signed with Oklahoma).
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“But I think you’ll find some great football players. I think it’s the best-kept secret right now. I feel people don’t know the type of kids that are coming out of the Charlotte area, but once they see them they will be impressed.”
A look at five players in N.C. and in S.C. to watch in 2017:
J.T. Cauthen, Cuthbertson, 6-2, 219, WR: Committed to North Carolina in January, Cauthen holds many of his school’s receiving records.
Justin Foster, Crest, 6-2, 200, LB: A four-star recruit by ESPN, Foster has offers from the in-state ACC schools, Clemson, Tennessee and Virginia Tech, among others.
Xach Gill, Wake Forest, 6-5, 284, DT: Another massive defensive lineman from his school, following teammate Dexter Lawrence (6-5, 335), who signed with Clemson Wednesday.
Ryan Jones, Mallard Creek, 6-2, 202, WR/DB: One of the stars of the 2015 4AA state championship win, Jones is one of the more versatile players in Charlotte.
Jonah Melton, Eastern Alamance, 6-4, 290, OL: Melton committed to North Carolina in October.
Savalas Cann, Bamberg-Ehrhardt, 5-9, 190, DB: All-state pick is a four-star recruit with offers from Auburn, Clemson, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia.
Jamari Dunbar, Bamberg-Ehrhardt, 5-9, 190, RB: Kansas State and Georgia Tech have offered this four-star recruit.
Davondre Robinson, Santee Lake Marion, 5-11, 190, DB: Ranked No. 11 nationally at his position by ESPN, he has offers from Clemson, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, among others.
OrTre Smith, Wando Mount Pleasant, 6-4, 210, ATH: Charlotte, Florida State, South Carolina and Wake Forest are among those who have offered this wide receiver/defensive back.
Shi Smith, Union, 6-0, 175, WR: A four-star national recruit, Smith has offers from North Carolina, Clemson and South Carolina.