football Edit

Simmons’ Takeaways: Batman and Robin sighting, five-star undercover

Clemson commit Andrew Booth
Clemson commit Andrew Booth (

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position

Any time Loganville (Ga.) Grayson steps onto the field, there is a lot of talent, but when it plays region foe Lawrenceville (Ga.) Archer, it takes it to another level. Last season, the game was a defensive battle that Archer won 6-3, but this year was a little different.

Grayson came out throwing the ball in its 41-14 win. There was plenty of big names between the lines and here are some takeaways from this contest.

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There is not much to say about Andrew Booth that is not already known. The Clemson commit is a national name that has been in the five-star discussion for months and he has only helped himself this season. In this game, he was a bright spot on offense with a touchdown catch and he did his job at cornerback too.

He is faster than some expect at his size and he makes big plays all over the field. He had multiple big receptions, he showed great body control and he is physical. Clemson cornerbacks coach Mike Reed was in attendance and Booth shined in his team’s loss.

The only question now is: Where should Booth be ranked? He is No. 37 in the country and we currently have 29 five-stars. Will he add that fifth star? He has definitely made a strong case this season.


I was receiving text messages during the game asking me about Owen Pappoe and why he wasn’t more involved. This game was on TV, so many eyes were on the five-star linebacker that is committed to Auburn.

For about 90 percent of this game, Pappoe was used in coverage, so he was not making the tackles sideline to sideline many were expecting. He was going more undercover this game. There is no doubt he is one of the top athletes in Georgia and if you were at the game, it showed. When Archer had three receivers in the game, Pappoe was locked up on the slot. Archer loves to use that position in the offense, so Grayson wanted to put its top athlete on him.

It worked. Pappoe was involved in a couple of tackles, but for most of the night, he was on the hip of those quick, slot receivers, slowing down the Archer offense. Pappoe played well, he just did not have the chance to fill up the stat sheet with tackles, pressures or sacks. His impact was made in a little quieter fashion this time.


Kenyon Jackson finished with more than 100 yards receiving and two touchdowns. He got behind the defense to start the game and showed his ability to run away, then he won a jump-ball for his second touchdown. With his size, Jackson could be a real weapon for Texas A&M on the next level. He has shown why he is a four-star receiver this season. His hands are better, he is playing with confidence and he is just getting more opportunities to make plays. In recent weeks, Arizona, Florida, Michigan and North Carolina have checked in on him.

Most talk about Jackson at receiver for Grayson, and rightfully so, but if Jackson is Batman, Ryan King is Robin. Like Jackson, King scored two touchdowns in this game. King is a big, strong, physical wide receiver who uses his size to his advantage. He has really progressed over the last year at receiver. From route running, to body position, to setting up defensive backs, to receiving the ball — King has taken big steps. Arkansas, Minnesota, Ole Miss and Texas A&M are some of his early offers.

There is not one big-time receiver on the outside on this team. It is a dynamic duo.


Trente Jones saw his first game in Ann Arbor over the weekend and the Michigan staff has to be excited about this offensive line commitment. Jones worked hard in the off-season to re-shape his body, he is in great condition and he is playing at a very high level as a senior.

The three-star was once viewed as a guard on the next level, but with his body now and the way he moves, tackle could definitely be an option. Jones was powerful in this game, opening up some gaping holes and he has improved holding his blocks longer.

He has family in Michigan, he is set to be a Wolverine and after seeing how hard he has worked, Jim Harbaugh and company could have someone to build around up front moving forward.


Depending on what part of the country you are in, UT commits can mean different things. If you are in the Southeast, then that “UT” is referring to Tennessee and if you move to the Midlands, then most are talking about Texas.

I saw prospects committed to each of those schools in this game and both performed at a high level.

Wanya Morris is a five-star offensive tackle and some are still amazed at how he moves at his size. He is light on his feet for a big lineman. Morris can still clean up his game a little and play a little more consistently, but at times, he can flat-out dominate. He is much stronger this year and he is playing with better technique and pad level. It would not surprise me to see him playing big minutes as a true freshman next year at Tennessee.

One of the more versatile defensive backs in the South is Kenyatta Watson. The Texas commit plays cornerback, but he could easily be a free safety on the next level in Austin. He has great length, he has added some good weight this year and he just continues to get better each time I see him. What stood out as much as anything this time was how physical he played. He made a couple of nice one-on-one tackles and he was in on a big hit, too. He was also used as a kick returner this game. The Texas staff has to like his size, smarts and versatility.


Duke had a coach on the sideline for much of this game and the Blue Devils must like what they see out of their commit, Jalen Alexander. The cornerback had two interceptions on the night.

Grayson will lose a lot of star power in the 2019 class, but there is more talent on the way. Junior defensive lineman Jadyn Bost already has offers from Boston College, Indiana and Ole Miss among others. Phil Mafah is a 2021 running back that had a few carries in this game and he showed a little burst, power and the ability to fall forward. Clemson, Georgia and Michigan State have already shown interest.

The offensive line unit for Grayson has tackles that are committed to Michigan and Tennessee, but the leader of that group may be center Jakai Clark. The former Auburn commit has added offers from Arizona, Illinois and Louisville in recent weeks.

Alabama commit Kevin Harris is known as a speed rusher and he showed that in this contest. He had numerous pressures in this game and a sack as well. Harris has to have one of the best motors out there.

When watching Clemson commit Jalyn Phillips play, you see some closing speed. On a couple of occasions Thursday night, Phillips looked like he was shot out of a cannon when coming up in run support. That is really his biggest strength.

Jeremiah Smith is a safety with good size and he plays smart. He was taking good angles to the ball, he was a force against the run and the Georgia Tech commit had a solid game on the back-end of the defense.

Auburn commit Colby Wooden was in on his share of plays. He has the frame college coaches love, he played hard all game and he could be a force on the Plains down the road. The combination of size, strength and speed continued to stand out.