Many of last year's top high school football players in Prince George's County graduated, leaving holes for their respective schools to fill. Still, there are players who flashed enough brilliance on the football field as underclassmen that they are playmakers worth checking out this season.
Here are ten of the top football playmakers in Prince George's County this fall that fans should see play.
Strong is a versatile speedster who can play anywhere on the field, although he prefers to play slot receiver.
He transferred to Potomac from Archbishop Carrol, where he was a varsity running back as a freshman and sophomore.
Due to a lack of running backs last season, Potomac coach Ronnie Crump also used Strong there. Strong delivered, rushing for 1,363 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Crump said his coaching staff didn't initially realize the type of player they were getting, because the offense at Carroll didn't compliment Strong's skill set.
“He didn't look like, what he looks like now, when he was at Carroll,” Crump said. “So it was almost like, we didn't know what we had at the time. Once he got the ball in his hands we said, 'Yeah, we gotta get the ball in this kid's hands.'”
Just as explosive as a kick returner, Strong brought back five returns for touchdowns, many of which were kicked indirectly.
His efforts as a junior earned him 10 scholarship offers, including one from University of Maryland, College Park.
“I just run where the grass is at,” Strong said. “They give me the ball in different positions. Out the slot, running back, punt return, kick return. This year, I will have to find something new since they probably not going to kick the ball to me. So, I'm just going to have to adjust.”
If Strong chooses to go to Maryland, he'll likely be joining teammate Keiron Howard, who committed to UM in June. Howard is an immovable, 6-4, 295 pound defensive tackle. 247sports has him ranked as the 22nd best prospect in the state.
The No. 1 prospect on that list is four-star offensive tackle Prince. The towering lineman moves well for someone listed at 6-6, 270 pounds. It seems like an improbable feat for a defender to get around him, and he clears running lanes like a bulldozer.
DeMatha Catholic's junior pass rusher may never get the opportunity to rush Prince, but he would be up for the challenge. This Penn State commit is the top-rated prospect of his class by 247sports, who game him a five-star rating.
Simmons can play defensive end or outside linebacker, and possesses a combination of good speed off the edges and solid tackling.
DeMatha's running back is another player to watch — if you can catch him. One word to describe Harrison is 'quick.' The junior running back averaged 8.3 yards per carry last season and will continue to be a big play threat for the Stags.
Another running back to look out for is Major, who helped lead his team to its first region title last season. The senior has a healthy combination of size and speed out of the backfield, rushing for 2,086 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2013. Look for him to carry the Hornets' offense.
There are three quarterbacks to watch beginning with Williams, a junior. He led the county in passing last season with 2,654 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also led his team in rushing with 778 yards, and 10 touchdowns.
Bowie's senior quarterback led all county public school pass throwers with 2,018 yards and 20 touchdowns in only nine games (Bowie had to forfeit a game that wasn't played). It may be harder this year, as Green lost his three top receivers to graduation.
Then there is the Frederick Douglass junior, who appeared to regress last season after leading the Eagles to the state championship game as a freshman. He's talented though, has all the physical tools, standing at 6-3. His coach, J.C. Pinkney, said look for him to bounce back this year.
Wrapping up the list is Henry A. Wise's new defensive back. He's a big physical corner who transferred from Largo for this year. He can go up and get the ball at its highest point as a defender, and at 6-1, 185, he has the physical tools to succeed no matter where he is.
10 Players to Watch
Devin Butler, Frederick Douglass, Quarterback
Jordan Green, Bowie, Quarterback
Ramar Williams, Bishop McNamara, Quarterback
Lorenzo Harrison, DeMatha, Running back
Amaru Major, Surrattsville, Running back
Kesean Strong, Potomac, Athlete
Isaiah Prince, Eleanor Roosevelt, Offensive tackle
Keiron Howard, Potomac, Defensive tackle
Shane Simmons, DeMatha, Outside linebacker
Myles Wolfolk, Henry A. Wise, Defensive back