Blake Baumgartner, ESPN Staff WriterSep 16, 2023, 06:30 AM ET
Before they take the field as college football players on Saturdays, several of the top recruits in the 2024 ESPN 300 are playing underneath the lights on weeknights.
A day after securing a commitment from top-five 2025 prospect Armondo Blount and six days after a big win over Texas A&M, Miami Hurricanes coach Mario Cristobal was in the house in Hollywood, Florida, on Friday watching his prized wide receiver recruit, Joshisa Trader (No. 11 overall in 2024). Also in attendance and drawing a crowd was former Auburn QB and 2010 Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, currently an NFL free agent.
Trader, who announced for the Hurricanes in July, returned from an injury for Chaminade-Madonna Prep against American Heritage (Florida), along with teammate and future Ohio State Buckeye Jeremiah Smith (No. 9 overall).
Smith had a second straight multi-touchdown game for the Lions, who won 28-16.
Here’s how some other of the nation’s top recruits looked this week.
Kearney flashed some of his versatility as a special teams contributor Thursday for Hightower High School (Texas) in a 43-36 loss to Ridge Point High School (Texas) with this punt return for a touchdown.
@ZionKearney2024 that kickoff return by FB Hightower Zion Kearney was unbelievable. He outruns tacklers with the angle on him with a gazelle like stride… if Sat. afternoons in Norman, Oklahoma gonna be like this? OMG! What a run Sooners Football @OU_Football #BeastMode pic.twitter.com/zgrAV5uK5M
— Billy Miller (@video296) September 15, 2023
Kearney (No. 85 overall in 2024), who caught 39 passes for 765 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior, is part of Oklahoma’s top-10 class (No. 8). He’d be the ninth ESPN 300 wide receiver to sign with the Sooners since 2021.
Bowens (No. 136 overall), who flipped from Florida to Georgia in mid-June, helped lead The Benjamin School (Florida) in its shutout of Gulliver Prep on Thursday.
Chauncey Bowens with his 2nd touchdown of the night
42-0 Benjamin: 4:57 left in the first
— New Era Prep (@EraPrep) September 14, 2023
This 70-yard touchdown shows why Bowens could be the next Bulldog to do some major damage on the ground. He’s the only running back currently in Georgia’s top-ranked class.
In 10 games in 2022, he ran for 940 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 7.2 yards per carry.
Five-star Coleman (No. 8 overall in 2024) gave coach Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies a big victory on the trail when he committed on July 4.
Coleman, who plays for Patrick Nix (Calvin Johnson’s offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech), showed why he’s ESPN’s top-ranked receiver in the class during Central High School’s (Alabama) game against Opelika High School (Alabama).
An absolute rocket to #Auburn target 5 WR Cam Coleman, who high points the ball. And yes, Coach Hugh Freeze saw that! #WarEagle #WDE pic.twitter.com/qZXLI83bON
— Sidelines – Auburn (@SSN_Auburn) September 16, 2023
Texas A&M’s 2024 class snuck into the top 10 (No. 9) in ESPN’s latest team ranking update.
Graham (No. 56 overall in 2024) will continue the Graham family legacy in Gainesville as he prepares to follow his father, Earnest, who was a running back for Steve Spurrier and Ron Zook from 1998-2002.
Mainly a linebacker on defense, the younger Graham isn’t afraid to contribute on the offensive side of the ball for Buchholz High School (Florida) as he demonstrated on Friday with three TD runs in a 49-20 win against Creekside High School (Florida).
Myles Graham with running back duties and he breaks through the Creekside Defense for a 96 yard TD for Buchholz! Huge run for the #Gators commit!
Buchholz (@BuchholzFB) 28, Creekside (@Creekside_fb) 6 – 0:31 1st Q #flhsfb @DanLaForestFB @ridaught @ThePrepZone @CenFLAPreps… pic.twitter.com/3U06iqp8Az
— FloridaHSFootball.com (@FlaHSFootball) September 16, 2023
Graham is the fourth-highest ranked prospect in Billy Napier’s class, which ESPN has ranked third overall behind Georgia and Ohio State.
Houston (No. 32 overall in 2024) could very well be the next in line to help the Buckeyes get to the opposing quarterback, with the help of legendary defensive line coach Larry Johnson Sr.
Houston displayed his pass-rushing skills Friday in Buford High School’s (Georgia) 31-0 shutout of Carver High School (Georgia).
A BIG TIME SACK from @HoustonEddrick0
2Q: @NSC_Football 0 @buford_football 7
Website : https://t.co/OZJLicoWe6
: GPB Sports App#gpbsports pic.twitter.com/3KClzg5I3J
— GPB Sports (@GPBsports) September 16, 2023
Ryan Day and his staff have compiled the second-best class for the 2024 cycle up to this point and the 14 ESPN 300 prospects they have are tied with LSU and Oregon for second-most in the country.