The first of two 20 To Treasure lists we will publish this season is stacked with Chargers and Mustangs. Those teams have all the star power, but can they mesh together? We’ll see. This is our preseason look at the 20 best players in our area, and another 10 who are too good to ignore.
1. Garrett Shrader, Charlotte Christian
The region’s top quarterback threw for 2,400 yards and ran for 800 more while accounting for 34 touchdowns. The Mississippi State commit is the 11th-ranked prospect in the state and the No. 9 dual-threat signal caller in the country.
2. Elijah Bowick, Myers Park
Bowick went over 1,000 yards last season and scored 10 touchdowns despite missing two games with injury. The Virginia Tech commit will see time returning kicks and even play a little defense, but he’s an electric wideout and half of quite possibly the state’s top tandem.
3. Porter Rooks, Providence Day
The Charger is the No. 1 overall recruit in the state and the No. 4 receiver in the nation in the Class of 2020. He already has received over 30 high Division I offers. He’ll again be the focal point of a good pass attack. Last year, he caught 66 passes for 810 yards and 11 touchdowns.
4. Jacolbe Cowan, Providence Day
He’s the Chargers’ top returning tackler with 87 stops, and he also registered 12 sacks. Cowan has nearly 30 high Division 1 offers and is the No. 3-ranked player in the Class of 2020 in N.C. He’s also a 2020 Under Armour All-American game participant.
5. Cameron Roseman-Sinclair, Myers Park
Roseman-Sinclair is rated among the top five Class of 2020 safeties in the country by most recruiting services. On some lists, he’s as high as No. 2. Last year, he recorded 40 tackles and forced two fumbles. The three interceptions he got came in huge spots.
6. Osita Ekwonu, Providence Day
The Notre Dame commit is a big, physical presence in the middle of a very good Charger defense. Last year, he recorded 73 tackles and two sacks. He’s ranked the No. 4 player in N.C.’s Class of 2019 for a reason.
7. Keyon Lesane, Butler
Lesane never comes off the field for the Bulldogs. The N.C. State commit checks the opponent’s best receiver and returns kicks. The all-state receiver is ranked among the state’s top 50 players. He’s in line for a huge senior season.
8. Triston Miller, Country Day
Miller is moving full time to left tackle this season and the 6-foot-6, 275-pound giant will make sure the Bucs offense runs smoothly. The N.C. State commit is considered one the top lineman in the country and a top 35 recruit in his class.
9. Jaylen Nichols, Myers Park
One of the top tackles in the state, Nichols has the versatility and talent to shine on both sides of the ball. The 6-foot-5, 300-pound South Carolina commit is outstanding offensively. He recorded 35 tackles, a sack and three interceptions on D.
10. Kedrick Bingley-Jones, Providence Day
Bingley-Jones may be a newcomer after transferring to the Chargers from AL Brown, but this is most certainly a name to know. The 4-star defensive end had offers from Duke, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, Ohio State, Notre Dame, North Carolina and more before committing to Florida this summer. He’ll play some tight end, too, but is a huge presence wherever he lines up at 6-4, 240 pounds.
11. Moose Muhammad, Myers Park
You know the name, but the younger Muhammad has his own game. He’s ranked among the top 30 receivers in the country in the Class of 2020. He will improve on his 54 catches that went for over 700 yards and three scores. He and Elijah Bowick are likely the state’s top wide receiver tandem.
12. Ikem Ekwonu, Providence Day
The star offensive guard was heavily recruited before committing to N.C. State this summer. Although he’s highly touted on the offensive side of the football, Ekwonu also had 20 tackles and a nose for the quarterback with his 4.5 sacks.
13. Jaylon Sharpe, Rocky River
Sharpe has starred in the middle of the Raven defense for the past three seasons. He will do so again this year. He’ll also play some offense, but it’s Sharpe’s play at linebacker that has Louisville, Syracuse and West Virginia among his many suitors.
14. Gabe Jeudy, Ardrey Kell
The Knights plan to get Jeudy the ball some on offense, but it’s his defensive prowess at cornerback that has him with north of 30 mid- to high Division I offers. Last season, Jeudy recorded 53 tackles, had 13 pass deflections and a pick six. He also returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
15. Caleb Ogunmola, Providence
The speedster had a breakout season at receiver last year, catching 44 passes for nearly 750 yards and seven touchdowns. Ogunmola is getting some interest from mid- to high majors, he should approach 1,000 yards and form a great combination with Patrick Bloomingburg.
16. Nickel Fields, Providence Day
This guy had a tremendous freshman season on both sides of the ball. He recorded four interceptions as the Chargers’ No. 1 cornerback, but he also rushed for 1,071 yards, scored nine rushing touchdowns and caught 18 balls for nearly 350 yards and four scores. Fields has already been offered by Syracuse.
17. Ari Rodriguez, Charlotte Catholic
An absolute mauler for the state champs, Rodriguez is a running back’s worst nightmare. Rodriguez recorded 4.5 sacks and nearly 50 tackles last season and headlines a unit that allowed under 10 points per game. He has committed to Navy.
18. Trey Bly, Myers Park
The Charlotte 49er commit plays a lot like his father, former North Carolina and NFL defensive back Dre. Bly recorded 55 tackles and had three interceptions marking the opponent’s best receiver at all times. As a kick returner, he is more than capable of scoring every time he touches the ball.
19. Quasean Holmes, Butler
Holmes split carries three ways last year and still emerged as one of the county’s top rushers. He will split again with Jamal Worthy, but will be the bell cow for a Butler offense that will lean on him as a runner and receiver. He’s among the top 15 players in the state for the Class of 2020.
20. Drake Maye, Myers Park
The son of former Independence QB Mark and the brother of Tar Heel Luke, Drake is an athlete in his own right and in control of a very potent offense. The 6-4 Hough transfer is just a sophomore and already has offers from West Virginia and Tennessee despite not taking a high school snap.
10 others to watch
Jabari Dalton, South Meck; Josh Eboboko, Charlotte Christian; Kevens Grammont, Charlotte Latin; Jeremiah Gray, Charlotte Christian; Jason Ivey, South Meck; Brian Jacobs, Charlotte Catholic; JT Killen, Charlotte Christian; Ricky Kofoed, Charlotte Christian; Michael Neel, Charlotte Catholic; Jack Wilker, Providence; Jamal Worthy, Butler