Derion Kendrick Looks To Keep South Pointe Rolling vs. Buford
Looking for a game that showcases some college football stars of tomorrow? Look no further than this week's matchup between South Pointe (SC) and Buford (GA).
Checking in at No. 8 in this week's USA Today Super 25 Expert Rankings, South Pointe is loaded with six of the state's top 60 players. -- most notably, quarterback Derion Kendrick, 247Sports' top-rated prospect in South Carolina. Meanwhile, Buford is home to six of Georgia's top 200 and is led by running back Christian Turner -- a Michigan commit.
Here's everything you need to know.
Buford (GA) vs. No. 8 South Pointe (SC)
When: Friday, Sept. 15, at 7:30 PM (ET)
Where: Buford High School, Buford, GA
What you need to know about South Pointe:The Stallions (3-0) enter their Sept. 15 matchup against Buford as the consensus top team in South Carolina. South Pointe features no fewer than four seniors who will play college ball for Power Five teams next season and is led by dual-threat quarterback Derion Kendrick, who is looking to help the Stallions win their fourth straight state championship.
What you need to know about Buford:The Wolves are led by the dynamic backfield duo of Anthony Grant and Christian Turner, who are committed to Tennessee and Michigan, respectively. One of the top teams in Georgia, Buford is 3-0 after three strong performances. The Wolves are coming off back-to-back runner-up finishes in Georgia's 5A classification.
OffenseBuford and South Pointe are both loaded with star power. For the Stallions, Kendrick is a Clemson commitment and will likely move from his quarterback position to wide receiver. Still, the athlete is an accurate passer, going a perfect 18 for 18 for 354 yards and four touchdowns in a single half during the Stallions' 53-0 win at Nation Ford (SC) on Aug. 25. He's 41 for 48 with 551 yards and five touchdowns through two games.
On the receiving end of several of those passes was fellow senior Steven Gilmore Jr. The wide receiver and younger brother of Pro Bowl corner Stephon Gilmore plans to announce his college decision on Sept. 17. Gilmore has great straight-line speed, offering Kendrick a viable deep threat to go along with the reliability of two-way player Scott Robinson Jr. Junior running back Joe Ervin has had a productive start to the season in his first year as a full-time starter.
Buford is paced by two of the top 25 running backs in the country in Grant and Turner. Both possess a rare combination of power and speed and put up four touchdowns combined in the Wolves' 41-17 win over Hillgrove to open the season. Buford rotates the two pretty regularly, and Turner only had 100 carries last year, still rushing for 1,100 yards and 18 touchdowns.
When the Wolves do go to the air, they'll look primarily for senior Tyler Gillis who has followed a strong 2016 campaign with a quick start this season. Gillis scored two touchdowns in the opener against Hillgrove, playing all over the field in that contest. The offensive line is big and tough, creating holes for Buford's talented backs to move in the open field. The Wolves' two backs are enough to give them the advantage here.
DefenseSouth Pointe's defense is not as loaded as the offense in terms of recruiting rankings, but the unit might be the better of the two. Robinson plays well against both the run and pass from his traditional safety position but can play all over the field. Defensive end/linebacker hybrid and Virginia Tech commit Eli Adams is one of the state's more underrated defenders in terms of overall impact. Savion White leads a talented linebacking corps on a defense that has given up just 14 total points in three games.
Buford's defense is led by safety Bryson Richardson. The North Carolina commit had an outstanding junior season and is off to another hot start in 2017. The Wolves aren't one of the biggest teams up front, but defensive end Brock Mattison has outstanding speed and acceleration. The Appalachian State commit projects more as an outside linebacker at the next level but plays both positions for the Wolves.
Advantage: South Pointe
Special TeamsGilmore is a capable returner for the Stallions and could have an impact on the game on special teams.The Wolves use Grant as their primary kick returner, and he typically has a huge impact on the field position game, already breaking off two long kickoff returns this season. Under normal circumstances, Buford has the advantage on special teams. However, Grant is highly unlikely to touch the ball in the kickoff return game.
South Pointe's BT Potter is one of the top kickers in the nation and probably has the best leg of any kicking prospect in the last few years. The senior had over 40 touchbacks last season and routinely warms up from the 30-yard line, rather than the 40-yard line from which high schoolers kick off. In a scrimmage earlier this season, the Clemson commit put 4 of 5 kickoffs through the uprights. The other was just off, missing slightly left.
With his extraordinary leg talent, Potter is a huge weapon for the Stallions, giving them the special teams advantage over pretty much any team they face.
Advantage: South Pointe
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