With the 2018 high school football season set to kick off this week, here’s some of the players to keep an eye on:
Cason McClendon, QB – North Myrtle Beach
Since being called up to the varsity team on his 16th birthday in 2016, all McClendon has done is roll up wins during the most successful stretch in recent memory for North Myrtle Beach’s football team. Last season, the 6-foot-5 signal caller led the Chiefs to the third round of the playoffs, following a perfect regular season. In replacing the production of Region VII-4A player of the year Kered Class, more of the load may go on the right arm of McClendon to lead the Chiefs to the promised land. With top target and Toast of the Coast first team WR Tyron Stockdale, the firepower waiting in Little River may be tough for local teams to stop.
Luke Doty, QB – Myrtle Beach
Going into his first season as a starter, Doty is already rated as a 4-star passer by all major recruiting websites and has committed to the University of South Carolina as a rising junior. While he’ll be replacing the highly productive Lawson Cribb, the expectations that come with being the trigger-man for the potent Myrtle Beach offense will be eased by returning wide receivers Chunk Grissett and Da’Ron Finkley. This season, the Seahawks will fly as high as Doty takes them and could be in for an early trip to his next football home at Williams-Brice Stadium come season’s end.
Jermani Green, RB – Myrtle Beach
A Swiss Army knife of a player, Jermani Green combined for 23 touchdowns and over 1,000 yards from scrimmage last season. Replicating those statistics will be the goal for Green and Myrtle Beach this season, as his success on the ground will make the offense a balanced attack capable of striking for big plays and long touchdowns.
Tonka Hemingway, DL – Conway
A key defensive lineman on one of the nastiest defenses in the Grand Strand last season, Hemingway returns to anchor the Conway defense. If he can replicate his 49 tackles and six sacks from last season, the Tigers will once again be a team opposing offenses must fear each week.
Noah Seaver, RB – Aynor
All Seaver did last season was rush for over 1,400 yards and lead Aynor to the playoffs. In addition, he had a game for the ages against Waccamaw, rushing for over 300 yards and seven touchdowns against the Warriors. Seaver looks to continue to put up great stats in Aynor’s run-heavy attack this season.
Evan Jumper, OL – Myrtle Beach
When breaking in a new starting quarterback, having a solid offensive line helps instill confidence for coaches and teammates. Evan Jumper is the anchor for the Seahawk offensive line, leading the charge for a potent attack. Jumper committed to Furman University over the summer, picking the Paladins over Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, and Army, among others.
Kenney Solomon, DB – Socastee
Taking on the role of shut-down corner against some of the state’s best wideouts, Solomon has held his own and was recognized as a second teamer on the Toast of the Coast defense. He’s received offers from Central Florida, Coastal Carolina and Marshall to date. Look for his side of the field to be a no-fly zone in 2018.
Tyree Funnye, ATH – Waccamaw
A big-play threat for the pass-happy Waccamaw offense, Funnye made his presence known as a sophomore in 2017, making the Toast of the Coast second team at wide receiver. In addition to his work on offense, Funnye is asked to help put the clamps on the opposition, playing defensive back for the Warriors.
Zane Smith, K, P – North Myrtle Beach
Special teams are often overlooked in top player lists, but Smith is a special talent that is worthy of praise. Whether he’s booming punts at nearly 40 yards a clip or knocking in over 80 percent of his field goal attempts for 91 points on the year, North Myrtle Beach’s specialist was an impact performer in 2017 and figures to be a key piece to the Chiefs’ run in 2018.
▪ Berkeley Young, QB – St. James
▪ Chunk Grissett, WR – Myrtle Beach
▪ Da’Ron Finkley, WR – Myrtle Beach
▪ Javonte Turrentine, DL – Loris
▪ Joseph Martin, OL – Green Sea Floyds
▪ Josh Slobodiak, RB – Green Sea Floyds
▪ Marcelous Livingston, DL – North Myrtle Beach
▪ Michael Brown, DL – Myrtle Beach
▪ Nick Vereen, RB – North Myrtle Beach