The 2010 Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.)
team was supposed to be in rebuilding mode, following its 2009 national championship season and subsequent graduation of Bryan Murphy, James Kittredge and numerous other key pieces on defense.
The Ironmen started the season as underdogs against Maryland power Gilman, which was driving to what looked to be a sure touchdown in the second half. But star quarterback Darius Jennings was intercepted in the end zone by freshman Jabrill Peppers
, thwarting the drive and helping the Ironmen roll to a 33-6 victory.
It was the first of many big plays for Peppers, who is the 2010 MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Peppers intercepted six passes for the Ironmen, who finished 12-0 and captured the Non-Public Group IV section title.
An opposing coach called Peppers the team's best defensive back, high praise since the Ironmen also feature sure-fire Division I defensive backs
and Yuri Wright
in the class of 2012.
In one of Don Bosco Prep's biggest games, a playoff semifinal match-up with St. Peter's Prep, Peppers was at his best, returning a blocked field goal 85 yards for a touchdown and bringing back an interception 90 yards for a second score.
"Jabrill has the potential to be the best player at cornerback that I've ever coached," Don Bosco Prep defensive backs coach Bill Tierney said. "He's mature, physical, smart, and has football aptitude well beyond his age."
Peppers earned the award over Louisiana running back Leonard Fournette
, Florida running back Sony Michel
, and Kentucky quarterback Cole Ousley
. He leads the U.S. Air Force 2010 Freshman All-American Team, presented by MaxPreps.First Team OffenseJalen Brown, WR, 6-2, 160, Mountain Pointe (Phoenix, Ariz.)
With six interceptions, Brown earned 5A All-State honorable mention, the only freshman with that distinction.Trey Quinn, WR, 6-1, 185, Barbe (Lake Charles, La.)
A 5A all-state honorable mention, Quinn was extremely productive, finishing the regular season with 42 catches for 966 yards and eight touchdowns.Jamil Kamara, WR, 6-2, 190, Princess Anne (Virginia Beach, Va.)
Kamara was a lone bright spot for winless Princess Anne. He was an All-District honorable mention at wide receiver.Daniel Helm, TE, 6-3, 180, Kaneland (Maple Park, Ill.)
Also a talented basketball player, Helm started at tight end for a 12-1 Kaneland team that made it to the 5A semifinals. Cory Martinez, OL, 6-3, 280, Tampa Catholic (Tampa, Fla.)
During the summer, Martinez made a name for himself on the combine trail and backed it up by earning the left tackle job at Tampa Catholic.K.C. McDermott, OL, 6-5, 280, Palm Beach Central (Wellington, Fla.)
McDermott has great pedigree and size to be one of the nation's top offensive linemen for the class of 2014.
Akeem Cooperwood, OL, 6-7, 320, Fulton (Knoxville, Tenn.)
With the nickname "Blind Side" due to his physical comparisons to Michael Oher, Cooperwood stood out on an already-huge offensive line for Fulton.Ross Pierschbacher, OL, 6-4, 240, Cedar Falls (Iowa)
Pierschbacher was the first freshman to start for Cedar Falls in recent memory. He played guard for Cedar Falls and earned first team All-Metro honors.Shane Evans, OL, 6-4, 250, Prairie Ridge (Crystal Lake, Ill.)
Evans started every game at right tackle for Prairie Ridge and appears to have the makings of a major recruit.A.J. Long, QB, 6-0, 160, Pius X (Bangor, Pa.)
Long completed 202 of 307 passes for 2,852 yards and 28 scores while rushing for 355 yards and four touchdowns. He is in line to challenge the Pennsylvania state record for career passing yardage.Cole Ousley, QB, 6-3, 155, Lone Oak (Paducah, Ky.)
Ousley is on pace to shatter passing records after his freshman season that included 3,372 yards and 34 touchdowns, completing 227 of 349 passes.Leonard Fournette, RB, 5-11, 220, St. Augustine (New Orleans, La.)
An All-Metro pick by the Times-Picayune, Fournette was a Bayou State sensation, rushing 174 times for 1,735 yards and 22 touchdowns.Sony Michel, RB, 5-11, 180, American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.)
A South Florida legend growing up, Michel's ninth-grade season was nothing short of masterful. He rushed 228 times for 1,730 yards and 21 scores.Stanley Williams, 5-8, 165, Apalachee (Winder, Ga.)
While North Gwinnett running back Dante Sawyer is a more physically imposing Peach State back, Williams was a much more dynamic player in 2010. He has great quickness and catches the ball well, earning him first team 8-AAAA region honors.Jonathan Haden, ATH, 5-9, 165, Archbishop Carroll (Washington, District of Columbia)
Haden rushed for 987 yards and 12 touchdowns in addition to 387 receiving yards and three scores. He's a threat to score whenever he touches the ball.Malik Veal, K, 5-9, 162, Central (Salina, Kan.)
Veal was an All-State honorable selection at kicker, but he did so much more for Salina Central. He returned kicks and excelled at running back.