Week three of high school football saw many big matchups between teams that feature top prospects. On3 watched several of those games and more that included top prospects, with a number of players making an impression.
Please note that while extensive, this is not a comprehensive list of every top performer in high school football.
Burden breaks out in national game
Two of the nation’s more talented high school programs faced off on the West Coast on Friday, with East St. Louis, Ill., traveling to take on Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco. East St. Louis fought back from a big deficit to make things close in the second half, before ultimately falling 42-26.
The game featured double-digit Power Five prospects. We won’t be able to touch on everyone here, but there were a few notable standouts.
East St. Louis’ On300 receiver Luther Burden was the game’s most impactful player. Burden had a huge second half, helping the Flyers dig out of a 35-0 hole. He scored on a 30-yard catch down the left sideline and returned a punt 65 yards for a score in rapid succession. Burden capped off his big second half with a touchdown on an 18-yard catch-and-run, breaking a few tackles on his way to the end zone.
There’s no question Burden is off to a big start to his senior season. The 5-foot-11.5, 200-pounder is a physical, strong-handed wideout with the ability to maximize yardage after the catch. If Friday was any indication, he’s outplaying his current On3 ranking of No. 204. The former Oklahoma commit is set to announce a top three on Friday. Georgia and Missouri are two in the mix.
Burden’s East St. Louis teammate, Clemson cornerback commit Toriano Pride also had a strong outing in the loss. Like Burden, Pride transferred into the program for his senior season. Pride locked down his side of the field from what we saw. He did a great job of mirroring Bosco receivers off the line and staying attached downfield. The Bosco offense had trouble consistently hitting passes and Pride played a big part in that. He ranks as the No. 63 overall prospect in the 2022 cycle.
UCLA linebacker commit Jalen Woods was a standout on defense for St. John Bosco. The 6-foot, 200-pounder lived behind the line of scrimmage, racking up 5.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. We were impressed with Woods at The Opening Finals over the summer, where he showed some intriguing cover ability. The Bruin pledge looks to be a “stock up” prospect as a senior thus far.
2023 defensive lineman/tight end Matayo Uiagalelei is the top-ranked prospect in the Bosco program. Uiagalelei pulls double duty for the Braves and was able to impact on both sides of the ball with a 12-yard touchdown and sack.
We will undoubtedly continue to track both programs over the course of the fall.
Texas A&M commits impress in head-to-head matchup
One of the top games in Texas this week took place in the Houston area with Katy facing off against Dickinson. This contest featured an intriguing game within the game with two top 100 Texas A&M commits – offensive tackle PJ Williams (Dickinson) and Malick Sylla (Katy) – facing off along the line.
Both Williams and Sylla played well and impressed us throughout the contest, which was won by Katy, 28-21.
Williams showed off his rare length and movement skills. He was effective as a puller and got to the second level with ease. The 6-foot-4, 270-pounder had a big block in the second quarter that sprung a touchdown. He held his own against Sylla in one-on-one matchups and continued to look like a top 50 type prospect at offensive tackle.
This was probably the best we’ve seen Sylla perform in a game setting. The physical gifts have always been manifest, but he’s yet to completely dominate within the context of a game that we’ve seen. Sylla came alive in the second quarter with two sacks and several quarterback hurries. He made another key play in the fourth quarter, forcing a fumble.
Sylla was quick off the ball and active on a snap-to-snap basis. We were able to see the 6-foot-6, 220-pound pass rusher’s considerable physical gifts on display as he was turned loose and made a number of plays that showed off his athleticism – particularly in second-effort situations and in pursuit. He was knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter and helped off the field but was back on the next drive.
There have been times in the past where Sylla has played a bit tentative or not been as active as you’d expect from a top prospect. He also plays in a three-man front that’s probably not an ideal fit for his skill set. But if Sylla continues to play like he did on Friday, any of those questions will quickly evaporate.
The game also featured Texas A&M tight end commit Donovan Green. The On300 prospect was quiet through three quarters but came down with a nice touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. He finished with two catches for 26 yards and the score.
A pair of On300 prospects for Katy were out due to injury. Oregon wide receiver commit Nicholas Anderson was held out with a minor ankle sprain. Texas A&M cornerback commit Bobby Taylor was out with a wrist injury.
5-star Perkins shows off athleticism
Sticking in the Houston area, we watched five-star linebacker Harold Perkins and his Cy Park team come away with an easy win over Rosenberg (Texas) Lamar Consolidated on Thursday.
Perkins is having one of the more impressive seasons among five-star prospects and continued to show out. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder is a two-way player for Cy Park as a running back and linebacker. He showed off the athleticism as a big-play threat on offense, rushing for 95 yards and three touchdowns on just four carries. Perkins also had a 21-yard reception.
The most impressive play may have come on special teams in defending a two-point conversion. Perkins burst through the line, forced a fumble, recovered the ball and raced down the sideline for two points.
Perkins steadily flashes throughout games, constantly reminding us of why he’s a top ten prospect. He plays with a high effort level, despite being a rare two-way player at this level of high school football. He’s a physical striker at linebacker and has the athleticism to make plays sideline-to-sideline in addition to rushing the passer and playing in coverage.
The New Orleans native recently released a top seven of LSU, Texas A&M, Alabama, Florida, Texas, Oregon and USC.
Massive Bama commit shows off rare movement skills
Friday provided one of our first chances to see Alabama defensive tackle commit Jaheim Oatis in game action. Oatis and his Columbia, Miss., team took on a traditional top program in Petal High.
Oatis’ massive size immediately jumps off the screen. He’s 6-foot-5 and tips the scales somewhere between 380 and 390 pounds. Oatis is a pure nose tackle at the next level and has rare movement skills for a prospect of his size.
We saw the big defensive tackle make four to five impressive plays behind the line of scrimmage. He even chased down a ball carrier in pursuit. Not to mention he is the kickoff specialist for Columbia. Oatis tired out a bit in the fourth quarter, but his stamina was not an issue when you consider his size and the number of snaps played.
There’s no question Oatis will need to trim down some once he arrives in Tuscaloosa. Ideally, he should be playing in the 350-pound range. Still, the combination of sheer size, strength and movement skills are unique.
- Clemson wide receiver commit Adam Randall played his first game on Friday night, as his team had been in COVID protocol through the first two weeks. The On300 wideout had a huge senior debut, catching nine passes for 205 yards and three touchdowns. He also worked as a direct-snap rusher out of his team’s short yardage package, rushing for 80 yards on eight carries. Randall ranks as the No. 128 overall prospect in the On300.
- We watched Top 100 EDGE prospect Tyreese Fearbry and his Pittsburgh (Pa.) Perry Traditional Academy team play on Thursday. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder played on both sides of the ball as a receiver and pass rusher. Fearbry made a number of impressive grabs, including a leaping touchdown in the first half. He sustained an injury and was carried off the field in the second half, but was able to come back and finish the game. Fearbry will need to continue getting stronger at the point of attack. Pittsburgh, Kentucky and Auburn are teams in the mix for the former Penn State commit.
- No. 3 2022 prospect Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy impressed on Friday with his Lakeland (Fla.) team taking on nearby Lake Wales. The 6-foot-3, 280-pound defensive tackle is certainly one of the more athletic prospects nationally. We saw that transfer over to the field on Friday. Brownlow-Dindy combines that elite twitch with outstanding length. He primarily lined up at defensive end and was able to make a handful of impressive plays behind the line and in pursuit. Texas A&M and Oklahoma are fighting it out for Brownlow-Dindy. This week, Lakeland takes on Lake Gibson which features 2023 five-star cornerback Cormani McClain along with top 100 2022 Florida State athlete commit Sam McCall.