football Edit

Friedman's takeaways from the road in New Jersey and Virginia

Stanford commit Emanuel Ross
Stanford commit Emanuel Ross (Adam Friedman/

Over the past two weekends, was able to see some of the best underclassmen in New Jersey and Virginia. National recruiting analyst Adam Friedman breaks down the recruiting news and scouting notes here.


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There were multiple committed prospects who really shined over the last two weekends, and two of them were Stanford commits. Emanuel Ross, a receiver for Red Bank (N.J.) Red Bank Catholic had an outstanding game despite difficult conditions. He finished the game against Toms River (N.J.) Toms River North with over 180-yards receiving and two touchdowns along with a two-point conversion. One of those two touchdown catches proved to be the game winner in overtime. Ross has improved as a runner after the catch and it has turned him into a playmaker offenses can rely on. On the other side of the ball, Toms River North stand out Micah Ford came into the game already banged up, but it took him less than a quarter to amass more than 100 rushing yards and a touchdown. That touchdown came on an outstanding 76-yard run where he broke multiple tackles in the secondary. He wasn't able to finish the first half but his performance left a strong impression.

Ohio State defensive back commit Jaylen McClain had a very good game for West Orange (N.J.) Seton Hall Prep against Montvale (N.J.) St. Joe's Regional. From his safety position, McClain did a great job flowing to the ball when it was thrown in front of him and against the run. It was easy to see how strong a tackler he has become. McClain wasn't tested very much in the passing game, but he has a physical presence that can make quarterbacks shy away from throwing in his direction. It will be interesting to see how he is used at Ohio State and how he develops once the Buckeyes strength and conditioning staff gets their hands on him.


Pittsburgh Rivals250 running back commit Yasin Willis did not play against Seton Hall Prep, but the future Panther continues to impress on the hoof. The Panthers on-field struggles this season have not discouraged Willis. He is excited to get to Pittsburgh after this season and join the team.

Minnesota defensive back commit Zahir Rainer has been on and off flip watch for the last few months. Rainer idolizes Antoine Winfield Jr. and is excited about playing that role in the Gopher defense but a number of teams are trying to get him to flip. Virginia Tech has gotten him on campus multiple times and the players in this Hokies recruiting class have been talking to him frequently. It wouldn't be surprising to see him take another trip to Blacksburg before the end of the recruiting process. Keep an eye Duke as well. The Blue Devils coaching staff has strong connections to the Richmond area and Mike Elko's defensive mindset appeals to Rainer.


Of the 2025 prospects in each of the games from the last two weekends, Jaelyne Matthews was the highest ranked. The Rivals250 offensive lineman has a fantastic build and is plenty athletic, which was easy to see when he lined up on the defensive line. The former Penn State commit does a good job getting his hands on defenders and keeps them from getting by him most of the time. Matthews has a tendency to play a little high at times and that can make it difficult for him to play with the necessary power to beat the man in front of him. This issue showed up in pass protection but it's an area he can improve quickly. Georgia has been linked to Matthews lately but there is still plenty of time left in his recruitment.

St. Joe's Regional Rivals250 cornerback Jahmir Joseph and Rivals250 running back John Forster were very impressive. Joseph has an outstanding build and plays with great instincts. At 6-feet tall, Joseph is a difficult matchup for any receiver looking to create separation. He knows how to play physically with receivers and has a knack for getting his hands on the ball. Joseph did have an interception in the game and allowed very few catches, most of which went for short gains. Watch out for teams like Georgia, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and Penn State in his recruitment.

Forster has the look of a prospect who needs to get his hands on the ball more often. He's an explosive back who showed he can catch the ball out of the backfield as well. He's dangerous when he can get the ball in space and has a full head of steam. Duke, Illinois, Tennessee, Rutgers, Syracuse, and Boston College have been showing the most interest in Forster so far.

Defensive back Terrence "Deuce" Edwards, out of Richmond (Va.) Trinity Episcopal is a versatile prospect who can play multiple roles in a secondary. He wasn't challenged very much in the passing game but it's easy to see why he has the offers he does. With a frame measuring in close to 6-foot, 180-pounds, Edwards is a physical tackler and does a good job showing up in big moments. His recruitment is wide-open right now, but Oklahoma, Clemson, Tennessee, Virginia, and Virginia tech appear to be doing a good job with him.

2026s TO KNOW

Plenty of sophomores had standout performances over the last two weekends and that includes top ranked 2026 running back Savion Hiter. The Woodberry Forest (Va.) Woodberry Forest School star scored two touchdowns in the game against Trinity Episcopal and showed his toughness throughout. His offensive line doesn't give him a whole lot to work with, but he still found creases for big gains. Tennessee has been working hard in Hiter's recruitment already.

Four-star Dyzier Carter also shined for Woodberry Forest. The receiver caught a touchdown pass, return to kickoff for a touchdown, and threw a touchdown pass while playing wildcat quarterback for the majority of the second half. He's a quick and explosive prospect who can excel against man coverage. Expect his recruitment to hit another gear when schools are able to take a close look at him this offseason.

KJ McClain has a very promising future for Seton Hall Prep. The younger brother of Jaylen, KJ is a bit taller and longer than his brother but as a younger prospect he has yet to develop physically. He has the tools to excel in coverage and did a good job staying in position to defend against either the run or the pass. McClain looked like a sure tackler but didn't overpower many of the players who came his way.

For Trinity Episcopal, receiver Davion Brown will be a name to know. The imposing 6-foot-3 receiver lined up as running back for most of the game and racked up more than 160 yards on the ground including a 50 yard touchdown run. Brown showed off impressive toughness, quickness, and long speed to go along with great vision, which can make him a dangerous playmaker. His offer sheet is already plenty long but more schools are bound to join the race.