High school football season is around the corner, with a few teams kicking off the season this weekend. Here’s a list of 20 difference-makers, senior leaders and hidden gems to keep an eye on as the action begins:


Mitch Griffis, Sr., Broad Run

Heading into his last year playing for his father, Matt Griffis, the Wake Forest commit carries high expectations. He was a second-team All-Met selection last season

Noah Kim, Sr., Westfield

Kim’s 2018 season ended halfway through the Virginia Class 6 semifinals when he broke his femur. Now, back under center for the Bulldogs, the Virginia Tech commit will try to get the program’s state championship tradition back on track.


Twitter: @noah_kim12

Caleb Williams, Jr., Gonzaga

The young playmaker might be the best quarterback in the area; he earned a fifth star from 247Sports this offseason while picking up a plethora of college offers. The dual-threat signal caller who threw for 2,624 yards and 26 touchdowns, including a 60-yard, game-winning Hail Mary in the WCAC championship game, will lead a team looking to defend its title. He was first-team All-Met last year.

Twitter: @CALEBcsw

Running backs

Marquez Cooper, Sr., Quince Orchard


A shifty back with speed to burn, Cooper topped 2,000 yards last year as the Cougars won the Maryland 4A championship. The Kent State commit will be a central part of their offense again.


Twitter: @quez__15

Jalen Hampton, Sr., Georgetown Prep

The Virginia Tech commit will be a core part of a Prep offense that looks to defend its outright Interstate Athletic Conference title after beating Bullis last season. The IAC player of the year is one of only nine returning starters from last year’s squad, with four of those returners on the offensive line.

MarShawn Lloyd, Sr., DeMatha

The South Carolina commit is back to hold down the running game in a DeMatha offense under new leadership with Coach Bill McGregor and quarterback transfer Malakai Anthony from Wilson (D.C.). The Stags’ wide receiver group is also fairly new, mainly made up of sophomores and juniors who will look to jell early. Lloyd’s ability to move in space will again be key for the Stags.

Wide receivers

Jalil Farooq, Jr., Wise


After a season of disappointment by the Pumas’ high standards, Wise will rebuild around the multitalented Farooq. A spark plug at wideout and defensive back, the four-star prospect already has Prince George’s County on notice after a strong sophomore year.

Matt Hibner, Sr., Lake Braddock

A weapon at tight end for young QB Billy Edwards and the Bruins, Hibner committed to Michigan in June. He will be a big part of a Lake Braddock team that is trying to put it all together after a frustrating end to last season.

Rakim Jarrett, Sr., St. John’s

One of the most electrifying players in the area, Jarrett will be the top target for BYU quarterback commit Sol-Jay Maiava this season. Jarrett, an LSU commit, helped the Cadets to an undefeated regular season last year with 763 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. He was first-team All-Met.


Twitter: @RakimJarrett

Offensive linemen

Landon Tengwall, Jr., Good Counsel

The four-star recruit anchors a strong Falcons offensive line as Good Counsel will try to establish another strong running game. With one of the toughest schedules in the country, the Falcons will be tested early, facing off against national power St. John Bosco (Calif.) in one of the most anticipated matchups of the year. Tengwall is the No. 5 tackle in the country for the Class of 2021 and the highest-rated prospect in Maryland.

Jimmy Christ, Sr., Dominion

The 6-foot-7 Christ will be a massive leader up front for the Titans as they navigate Loudoun County with a first-year coach. The three-star prospect committed to Virginia in April.


Defensive linemen

Bryan Bresee, Sr., Damascus


Ranked the top player in the country for the Class of 2020, the overpowering lineman has been dominating Montgomery County for years. The Clemson commit will have one more chance to lead the Hornets to a state title.

Twitter: @bryan_bresee

Monkell Goodwine, Jr., National Christian

The four-star standout holds more than 20 scholarship offers, including from heavyweights Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State. Goodwine will be a crucial piece in a National Christian defense full of versatile, Division I talent. Coach Andre Kates’s team will again look to go head-to-head with top teams, both locally and nationally.


Twitter: @lilahkkells

Keyshawn Hunter, Sr., H.D. Woodson

The defending Turkey Bowl champions are strong up front thanks to the Old Dominion commit. At 6-foot-2 and 295 pounds, Hunter is hard to stop.


Dominique Perry, Sr., Northwest

The strapping, 6-foot-3 Perry has garnered Division I attention. Northwest will need him to be a force up front if it wants to be a factor.

Twitter: @domounchy

Andre Porter, Jr., Ballou

Porter has received Division I interest after his sophomore season with the Knights. They will be on a revenge mission this season after falling in overtime in last year’s Turkey Bowl.


Ahmed Bailey, Sr., Friendship Collegiate


A three-star prospect, Bailey was second-team All-Met for the DCSAA champions last season. Can he help them to back-to-back titles?

Twitter: @otf_med21

Antoine Sampah, Sr., Woodbridge

Ranked the No. 2 player in Virginia for the Class of 2020, Sampah should still be a force in the middle of the Vikings’ defense when he returns from offseason ACL surgery. He chose LSU from an extensive list of offers this spring and can focus on delivering a title to Woodbridge.


Mekhail Sherman, Sr., St. John’s

In his comeback season after missing the majority of last year with a torn ACL, Sherman will spearhead a versatile Cadets defense that will be tasked with shutting down some of the top offenses in the country. Sherman, a Georgia commit, is the No. 1 recruit in the District, according to 247Sports.


Twitter: @JuicedUpK9

Defensive backs

Beau Brade, Sr., River Hill

The recent Maryland commit will be a factor in Howard County, where things seem wide open. He finished his junior season with 126 tackles for the Hawks.

Twitter: @bebrade02

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