Video: Top 10 PlaymakersThese guys can change a game in an instant.
MaxPreps will release preseason high school football rankings later this month. Until then, get ready for the 2017 campaign with our Early Contenders Top 10 series.
We continue the series today by highlighting the game-breakers. Here's a look at the Top 10 playmakers in America.You can see what makes them so special in the video above.
10. Jeremy Ruckert, Lindenhurst (N.Y.)
Ruckert is the ultimate hybrid tight end, causing mismatches lining up at receiver with his deceptive 4.87 speed. We see a ton of Rob Gronkowski in the nation's No. 1 tight end — he catches everything, even when blanketed. Ruckert dazzled at The Opening and earned 247Sports Dream Team
honors, which immediately catapulted him to elite 5-star status. The country's No. 11 overall prospect snagged 58 receptions for 807 yards and eight touchdowns in leading Lindenhurst to the Division I state quarterfinals last year. The versatile recruit went 30-of-35 on extra points and nailed 6-of-7 field goals. He also logged 51 tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions on defense. Ruckert is set to announce his commitment on Monday. He appears pegged for Ohio State.9. Caden Sterns, Steele (Cibolo, Texas)
The Texas commit is one of the elite two-way players in America — a bold ball hawk who blankets the field and can turn a wayward pass into a pick-six in a hurry. He's a big-play receiver and menace in the return game. Sterns is simply dangerous with the ball in his hands. The nation's fourth-best safety posted 88 tackles, six pass deflections, four interceptions and three defensive TDs in spurring Steele to the Conference 6A D2 state title game last season. The MaxPreps Junior All-American also recorded 773 all-purpose yards and nine total TDs.8. T.J. Pledger, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
Pledger is one of the most productive and electrifying recruits in high school football. The Oklahoma commit is a well-rounded back and every touch is a potential home run. The nation's third-rated all-purpose back ran for 1,881 yards and 32 TDs for Chaminade (West Hills, Calf.) last season. He averaged 156.8 yards per game and churned out 8.1 yards per carry in earning MaxPreps Junior All-American accolades. The IMG Academy transfer will pay major dividends.
7. James Cook, Central (Miami, Fla.)
Cook might be the most explosive back in the country, and the nation's No. 3 running back just makes it look easy. He's elusive and absolutely lethal in the open field. He'll look to charge the Rockets to their fifth state championship in the last six years. The younger brother of Minnesota Vikings' running back Dalvin Cook decommitted from FSU this month. Georgia is the frontrunner for his services.6. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
St. Brown is the only wide receiver to crack this list — and he's a pure game-breaker. The 5-star receiver runs crisp routes, has sure hands and can take it the distance after the catch. The country's No. 8 overall prospect was a nightmare to guard last season and caught 60 passes for 1,229 yards and 21 TDs for No. 9 Mater Dei. The nation's second-rated receiver also averaged 30.5 yards per 11 kickoff returns. The lethal tandem of St. Brown and America's top-rated junior quarterback, J.T. Daniels
, might give Mater Dei the best duo in high school football — and a shot at a national title. Notre Dame and Stanford are the main programs vying for his talents.5. Jaelen Gill, Westerville South (Ohio)
The Ohio State commit, arguably the most complete back in America, showcases superior vision, breakaway 4.47 speed and ankle-breaking cuts. Gill also might have the best hands of any running back in the country. The former 5-star recruit rushed for 1,553 yards and 19 TDs in his sophomore season. He also caught seven passes for 224 yards and three more scores. Then he fractured his fibula and missed his entire junior season. But talk about versatility, Gill hit .400 with 32 hits, three home runs, three triples, five doubles and 10 RBIs for the Westerville baseball team this season. The country's No. 2 all-purpose back has returned and dominated at The Opening and was the only running back named to the 247Sports Dream Team. He seems poised to regain the coveted 5-star status.4. Brendan Radley-Hiles, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
The Nebraska commit might be the best all-around player in America and does everything in an electrifying manner. It's no surprise the man they call "Bookie" was named the defensive back MVP by The Opening. The country's No. 8 corner is a quarterback's worst nightmare and impacts the game on defense, offense and is one of the nation's top return specialists. The top 60 recruit was an important cog for 14-win Calabasas (Calif.) last season and posted 833 all-purpose yards and 12 total TDs on offense. He also logged 54 tackles, four pass deflections and two interceptions on defense. The viral performer has the second-most Twitter followers of any player in high school football (36.7K). The IMG Academy transfer instantly bolsters the Ascenders' national title hopes.3. Talanoa Hufanga, Crescent Valley (Corvallis, Ore.)
The nation's top-ranked athlete is a rare breed. He lays the wood, blankets the field and has the ability to take it back for six in a variety of ways. He can also hit breathtaking home runs and launch deadly bombs at quarterback. Hufanga became a newly minted 5-star after owning opponents at The Opening. He notched 846 passing yards, 643 rushing yards and 17 TDs on offense at Crescent Valley last season. The country's No. 13 overall recruit also racked up 19 tackles three interceptions and three defensive scores last year. Hufanga is also an impact player on the hardwood and claimed All-State honorable mention distinction from The Oregonian. He seems to be a lock for Oregon.
2. Devon Williams, Antelope Valley (Lancaster, Calif.)
Williams may have the most complete highlight tape in all of high school football. The nation's No. 70 overall recruit is the freak of this group. He shined at The Opening and garnered All-Offense first team honors. The do-it-all player tallied 1,150 passing yards, 397 rushing yards, 87 receiving yards and 17 total TDs. He also registered 55 tackles, five INTs, five pass deflections and four forced fumbles on defense. Oregon is the leader for his services.1. Zamir White, Scotland (Laurinburg, N.C.)
The 5-star back is the most exciting player in high school football. He took his first varsity career carry, as a freshman, for a 62-yard TD. The nation's top-rated running back has the rare blend of power, speed and elusiveness. He's clocked a blazing 4.4 seconds 40-yard dash, can lower the boom and reel off a TD on any given play. Regarded as the No. 6 overall recruit in the Class of 2018, White rushed for 1,693 yards and 26 TDs last season in spearheading the Scots to the North Carolina Class 4A state semifinals. He also captured MaxPreps Junior All-American honors. The Georgia commit has more than 5,000 yards rushing and 85 scores in his career. He's as special as they come.