Video: Early Contenders presented by Shock Doctor — The Next FiveWe continue our look at high school football's elite with teams on the bubble.
The Early Contenders list dropped Monday and there's a ton of talent among those schools. But the talent isn't just limited to 25 schools. We present the Early Contenders: The Next Five — a preview of those teams on the bubble that just might make a run into the rankings at some point in the season.
2018 Early Contenders — The Next FiveHead coach:
Jayson WestLast season:
7-4, lost 36-29 to Ben Davis in 6A sectional championship.
No. 27 Colquitt County (Norman Park, Ga.)Head coach:
The Indiana power has a good chance in 2018 to win its ninth football state championship with the talent it returns this year. Ben Davis, which beat the Warriors in the 6A finals, was one of the most dominant teams in Indiana history last season, but it was a senior heavy team. Warren Central enters the season as the top squad in the Hoosier State with key players returning, led by 4-star wide receiver David Bell
and 2019 Iowa commit Justin Britt
Rush Propst Last season:
11-4, lost 19-17 to North Gwinnett in 7A state championship.STORYLINE
The Packers were a couple of questionable calls away from winning its third state title under Propst in 2017. They lost a couple of marquee players, but still have plenty in the cupboard. Colquitt County has one of the best offensive lines in the state led by 3-star guard Kamaar Bell
and returns two big-time running backs — Ty Leggett
and 4-star Daijun Edwards
. Despite losing 4-star linebacker JJ Peterson on defense, the Packers have one of the top defensive units in Georgia led by 3-star defensive back Jay Ward
. No. 28 Orange Lutheran (Orange, Calif.)Head coach:
JP PresleyLast season:
6-6, lost 48-35 to Mission Viejo in the second round of CIF Open Division 1 playoffs.STORYLINE
Orange Lutheran gives the Trinity League its third team ranked in the Top 30. Don't let last year's record fool you, the six losses came against league opponents and in the playoffs against a very talented Mission Viejo squad. The Lancers returners are led by 4-star quarterback Ryan Hilinski
and 5-star wide receiver Kyle Ford
. They were arguably the top two players at The Opening Finals earlier this summer. Logan Loya
, Ethan Rae
and Reggie Strong Jr
. help give Orange Lutheran one of the most explosive offenses in the country. No. 29 Trinity (Louisville, Ky.)Head coach:
Bob BeattyLast season:
15-0, No. 9 national ranking, beat St. Xavier 38-21 in 6A state championship.STORYLINE
Legendary coach Bob Beatty will be inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in August and all he's done since taking over before the 2000 season is win. He led the Shamrocks to their 13th state title in an 18-year span in 2017. Trinity goes for its third straight state title this season and must replace a couple of key positions on offense, but return a big-time defense led by 2019 Michigan commit Stephen Herron Jr
. The Kentucky power enters the 2018 season riding a 30-game winning streak.No. 30 Duncanville (Texas)Head coach:
Reginald SamplesLast season:
11-1, lost to 28-27 Euless Trinity in the second round of the 6A-Division 1 playoffs.STORYLINE
Coach Samples turned Dallas Skyline into a Texas power and is starting to do the same at Duncanville. He's led the Panthers to back-to-back 11-win seasons and there's a good chance they top that number in 2018. They will have one of the stingiest defenses in the state led by 4-star defensive back Chris Thompson Jr
. and a name to keep tabs on this year, Ja'Quinden Jackson
. He is a Top 100 recruit overall and checks in as the No. 5 rated athlete from the Class of 2020.