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.”
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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