NORTH FULTON, Ga. – Most high school football programs are accustomed to coaches from major college programs making phone calls and recruiting visits to land the occasional top prospect.
At two local high schools, Milton and Alpharetta, multiple Division I recruiters have made those calls and visits a routine thing. A total of eight players from Milton and Alpharetta have already made commitments to sign scholarships with big-time Division I programs.
The schools include four from the powerhouse Southeastern Conference, two from a single ACC school and two in the Southwest.
There are likely to be more major Division I commitments from local players, but for now, the number is eight – five from Milton and three from Alpharetta.
Milton’s five include three offensive linemen, a running back and a defensive lineman who rates as one of the state’s top prospects.
Alpharetta has a nationally ranked quarterback, a prized wide receiver and a defensive end who is following a recent Raiders’ standout to Athens.
The five Milton commits are:
Carl Lawson, defensive end (6-3, 255), Auburn:
Milton coach Howie DeCristofaro says Lawson is the best player he’s coached in his career, and some recruiters rate Lawson in the same category with Grayson’s Robert Nkemdiche, touted by many college recruiting rating services as perhaps the top high school player in the country.
Lawson is strong and relentless, and DeCristofaro says “his first step is phenomenal.” Lawson can rush the passer and defend the run.
“And he is a great kid. He’s high character and high energy,” DeCristofaro said.
Corey Helms, center (6-4, 280) and Josh Harris, offensive tackle (6-4, 285), both Wake Forest:
The two players visited Wake Forest together; both liked the school for its football program and academics and will play on the same line in college.
DeCristofaro says both players “are big, strong and physical and both run well.”
They have both dropped some weight since last season, with Harris still projected as a tackle in college, and Helms remaining inside at either center or guard.
Eaton Fromayan, tackle (6-6, 285), TCU:
After an initial commitment to Cincinnati, Fromayan switched to TCU, where his father played basketball. Fromayan did not start playing football until his sophomore season, but has made great strides in a short time, rapidly developing into a D-1 prospect
Peyton Barber, tailback (6-2, 220), Ole Miss:
After being sidelined most of last season by an ankle injury, Barber is healthy again and will make life miserable for attempted tacklers.
“Peyton looks like a power running back and is unbelievable powerful, but runs a 4.5 [in the 40-yard dash],” said DeCristofaro.
The three Alpharetta commits are:
Joshua Dobbs, quarterback (6-3, 190), Arizona State:
Dobbs is a classic pocket passer with a cannon arm.
“He has a phenomenal football IQ. He’s an even-keeled kid with an extreme amount of drive and commitment,” said Alpharetta coach Jason Dukes.
Dobbs put up some huge numbers last season (3,113 yards passing and 28 touchdowns) and with a standout group of receivers, could match or exceed those stats this year.
Carlos Burse, wide receiver (6-3, 205), Vanderbilt:
His commitment was a coup for Vandy, with Burse drawing interest from top schools throughout the country. A two-sport star, Burse has said he plans on putting basketball “on the back burner” to concentrate on football, where he will join Roswell’s Chris Boyd at receiver for the Commodores.
“Carlos is an incredible athlete and he wants the football in his hands,” Dukes said. “He gives a tremendous effort when he’s on the field.”
Burse, a starter since his freshman season, had 53 receptions for 857 yards and 13 touchdowns last season.
Naim Mustafaa, defensive end (6-4, 240), Georgia:
His father played at Georgia Tech and in the NFL, but he is committed to the Bulldogs, although he will visit other schools. Mustafaa is projected as an outside linebacker in college. Former Alpharetta wide receiver Michael Bennett is already a redshirt sophomore with the Bulldogs.
“What impresses you the most about Naim is how hard he works on every play,” Dukes says. “He is really disciplined and is just a fantastic football player.”
Other top prospects:
Alpharetta has several other college prospects, with wide receiver Blake Rowlinson having committed to Troy State, a smaller Division I school. Center DeAndre Wise will likely wind up at a D-1 school, as will transfer lineman D’von Isaac, who will see action on both defense and offense.
Transfer wide receiver Rodney Morris, who also will help on defense, is a possible D-1 prospect.
Milton has lineman Marshall McConnell who will play primarily on defense, but is projected as a possible offensive lineman in college.
The Eagles also have two top underclass prospects, junior running back Treyvon Paulk and sophomore offensive lineman Nick Wilson.
Chattahoochee quarterback Travis Marshall, defensive back Justin Jackson and wide receiver Collin Lisa, an out-of-state transfer, are on scouts’ lists.
Roswell has garnered interest for its running back Andrew Kwateng.
Northview running back Terrence Upshaw is a name the scouts also mention.
Blessed Trinity quarterback Spencer McManes has drawn attention from recruiters and Johns Creek kicker Kyle Fowler should be asked to kick on Saturdays as well.