UGA, Auburn recruits top player of the year watch, Colquitt RB enters

Colquitt County's Daijun Edwards 1 of state's top running backs

Daijun Edwards might've been the best running back in Georgia who didn't lead his team in rushing last season. A three-star recruit who is likely headed for the ACC or SEC, Edwards rushed for 1,038 yards as a sophomore, second to junior Ty Leggett's total of 1,287.

Both running backs remain in Colquitt's stacked backfield this season, so it remains to be seen if either can have a player-of-the-year type season without being the single feature back, but Edwards got a career-high 25 carries in Colquitt's opener, a 41-7 victory over McEachern. He churned out 162 yards. That was the second-best yardage effort of his career. Edwards ran for 179 against Brookwood in the playoffs last year.

''Daijun's a great back,” Colquitt County coach Rush Propst told GHSF Daily on Tuesday. ''He and Leggett are both Power 5 backs. He'll be a good SEC back. Edwards is bigger physically and does a lot of good things well. He reminds me a bit of Nick Chubb. I coached Chubb in an all-state game. Daijun is maybe as physical if not more. Both are great kids.”

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Propst said his team's goal each game is to get Edwards and Leggett 125 yards rushing. That can add up.

After his season-opening performance, Edwards is a new member of the Player of the Year Watch.

The POY Watch is designed to be a fun look at some of the state's best players. Players naturally will drift in and out, and that should not be taken as a critique of their season. It is an honor to appear in the POW Watch even for a single week.

Here are this year's leading contenders from the perspective of mid-August:

1. LB Owen Pappoe, Grayson: Pappoe's team opens Saturday against Tucker. Pappoe is the nation's consensus No. 10 prospect and No. 1 OLB prospect. He was the Gwinnett Touchdown Club's outside linebacker of the year as a junior. Grayson is ranked No. 1 in Class AAAAAA.

2. WR Dominick Blaylock, Walton: Blaylock had six receptions for 129 yards and three touchdowns in a 48-27 victory over Mill Creek. Blaylock is a five-star recruit and the consensus No. 31 player nationally. He committed to Georgia before his junior season. Walton is ranked No. 4 in AAAAAAA.

3. WR/DB Jadon Haselwood, Cedar Grove: Haselwood had four receptions for 26 yards and a touchdown and returned a punt 56 yards to the 4-yard line to set up a touchdown in a 21-7 victory over Summerville, S.C. He had one tackle. Haselwood is the consensus No. 1 senior recruit in Georgia. Haselwood is committed to Georgia. Cedar Grove is ranked No. 2 in Class AAA.

4. LB/RB/QB Trezmen Marshall, Clinch County: Marshall rushed for 143 yards on nine carries, had three tackles and a sack and forced a fumble that he recovered and returned 29 yards for a touchdown in a 24-17 victory over Hebron Christian. Marshall is a consensus top-100 prospect nationally. He's committed to Georgia. Clinch County is No. 1 in the Class A public-school rankings.

5. WR Ramel Keyton, Marietta: Keyton had 14 catches for 191 yards and four touchdowns in a 51-41 loss to defending Class AAAAA champion Rome. Keyton has 2,856 yards receiving in his career. Keyton, a four-star top-200 national recruit, has committed to Tennessee. Marietta, a state quarterfinalist last season, is ranked No. 6 in AAAAAAA.

6. QB Harrison Bailey, Marietta: Bailey was 36-of-51 passing for 443 yards and six touchdowns in a 51-41 loss to Rome. The consensus No. 2 pro-style quarterback prospect among juniors, Bailey is uncommitted but reportedly favors Alabama, Georgia, Michigan and Tennessee. Marietta is ranked No. 6 in Class AAAAAAA.

7. QB Dylan Fromm, Warner Robins: Fromm was 22-of-44 passing for 441 yards and three touchdowns in a 40-29 victory over Tift County. Fromm was the Class AAAAAA offensive player of the year in 2017, when he passed for 3,505 yards. Fromm, a three-star recruit, is committed to Mercer. Warner Robins is ranked No. 3 in AAAAA.

8. Knox Kadum, Rome: Kadum was 13-of-19 passing for 218 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 89 yards in a 51-41 victory over Marietta. He is 29-2 as a starting quarterback with two state titles. A three-star recruit, Kadum has about 10 mid-major offers.

9. RB Daijun Edwards, Colquitt County: Edwards rushed for 162 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries in a 41-7 victory over McEachern. Edwards is a consensus top-250 recruit nationally in the class of 2020 whose reported leaders are Auburn, Florida State and Georgia. Colquitt County is ranked No. 2 in AAAAAAA.

10. DB/WR Kyle Hamilton, Marist: Hamilton's team opens Friday against Lovett. In 2017, Hamilton had more than 1,000 all-purpose yards and scored touchdowns rushing, receiving and returning. He had 55 solo tackles and six interceptions as a safety. A top-300 national recruit, Hamilton is committed to Notre Dame.

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