Varsity Preps

Ben McDonald’s “Next Up”: Vol. 2

Darran Williams (photo courtesy of Drew Harmon)

Every recruiting class has its highly-touted athletes, but there are many other very talented players who fly under the radar. Here’s a look at several players who people may not have heard of but have the potential to be difference makers at the next level:


2016 RB Darran Williams; 6-0, 175; Edmond Santa Fe (Edmond, OK)

There are some running backs that are hard to catch, and then there are others that are hard to bring down. Williams combines both of those traits into a one dangerous package. The junior rushed for 1883 yards and 24 touchdowns this season for the Wolves. He runs by, through and over tacklers, and the end zone is often his final destination. Williams currently has interest from Utah, North Texas, Texas Tech and Clemson, just to name a few.

Twitter: @igetitigetit_
2014-15 season highlights:


2015 ATH Raheem Barzey; 6-0, 205; Dean College (Franklin, MA)

Barzey is a JUCO sophomore that should have plenty of choices for where he wants to make his new home for his final two years of college. His versatility allows him to play running back and safety, and he shines at both positions. Whether he’s picking up first downs or preventing them, Barzey gets the job done. UMass, Kennesaw State and James Madison are among the schools that are interested in Barzey.

Twitter: @realyoungAce
2014-15 season highlights:


2015 DE Gabe McDonald; 6-0, 230; Byrd (Shreveport, LA)

McDonald is one of the key components of arguably one of the best defensive units in Louisiana. McDonald finished his senior regular season leading undefeated Byrd in tackles for loss (14) and sacks (7). Very smart and aggressive defensive end that makes himself quite comfortable in the backfield. He also performs well in the classroom, which has garnered him interest from Harvard, Yale and Georgetown. Texas Southern and Millsaps also have eyes on him.

Twitter: @Father_Mac
2014-15 season highlights:


2016 ATH Rayshad Lewis; 5-10, 160; Bishop Moore (Orlando, FL)

Lewis is the best of both worlds. On one series, he’s streaking past defenders and catching passes to help his team get in the end zone. On the very next series, he’s lined up on the other side of the ball intercepting passes and making monster hits. He may only be 160 pounds, but he’s not afraid to get out there and lay the lumber. Making big hits clearly runs in the family, seeing as how his father is former All-Pro NFL linebacker Ray Lewis.

Twitter: @ThatOtherLewis
2014-15 season highlights:


2015 RB Marvin Franklin; 6-0, 180; Carlson (Gibraltar, MI)

Find the hole, explode through the hole, score touchdowns: that’s what Franklin does every Friday night. Franklin racked up 1299 yards and heaps of TDs in his senior season. He doesn’t have to use a lot of fancy moves to gain yards, he just uses his track star speed to blow right past defenders. If he breaks loose, running him down is a daunting task.

Twitter: @_marvinfranklin
2014-15 season highlights:



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