How have some of the best players in the Corky Kell + Dave Hunter Classic done this season?

The regular season is coming to an end and the playoffs are on the horizon. But it seems like just yesterday that the Corky Kell + Dave Hunter Classic was kicking off the football season.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best players who competed in the annual kickoff event this season and how they’ve done this year.

Capsules courtesy of Najeh Wilkins

WR/DB Trajen Greco (Mill Creek)- Initially Trajen Greco made the honorable mention list for the Corky Kell All-state team, but he has been a big contributor all season for Mill Creek. The Georgia Tech-commit has continued to elevate his game. Greco had a big game on ESPN2 against nationally-ranked Buford, scoring a touchdown that gave Mill Creek the lead late in the game. He was running to his right and caught the ball one handed in the rain with no gloves on. The play was nominated as a SportsCenter top 10 nominee and was posted on the SportsCenter Next account. Greco leads all receivers in receiving yards per game, receiving yards, and touchdowns on Mill Creek. He is also dominant on the defensive side of the ball.

WR Jonathan Stafford (Archer)- Week 1 in the Corky Kell + Dave Hunter Classic was Jonathan Stafford’s coming out party where he had 13 catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns. The performance helped him earn the Robbie Hunter MVP award. His route running and ability to get open was impressive and it has been on display all season and he is the leading receiver for Archer with 51 catches for 605 yards and six touchdowns. Stafford put up a similar performance against Brookwood like he did in the Corky Kell classic posting 13 catches for 170 yards and two touchdowns. This performance helped him earn the offensive player of the game nod. The tandem of Stafford and William Wallace makes Archer a tough cover for any defense. Stafford has continued to be a playmaker all season long and a dependable weapon for his team in 2023.

QB Jeremy Hecklinski (Walton)-Jeremy Hecklinski is one of the best players in the state, and he proved that in Week 1 against a great Grayson defense. Hecklinski won the Robbie Hunter MVP award after throwing for 284 yards and four touchdowns. This season the senior quarterback has 20 touchdowns and only one interception. He is leading an offense that is averaging 51 points per game and has already hit the 60-point mark twice this season against Brookwood and Pope. One of his memorable moments of the season was leading to an epic comeback against rival North Cobb. Prior to the game, North Cobb had beaten Walton three consecutive times. In that game, Walton trailed 21-0 and faced their first test of the season. Like he always does, Hecklinski led the Raiders back throwing for 283 yards and four touchdowns and gave Walton a lead they would never relinquish. To say Hecklinski is a star would be an understatement. The senior quarterback checks all the boxes and plays his best in the big games. Just check his resume.

K Jon Rodriguez (McEachern)- In the Corky Kell + Dave Hunter Classic Jon Rodriguez hit 2-3 field goals and narrowly missed a 52 yarder and made All-Corky. Rodriguez has been a part of a big turnaround for the McEachern Indians this season. After a 0-4 start, McEachern has won four consecutive games. None better than a hard-fought win against region foe Harrison that saw Rodriguez come up clutch. With the clock running out, he hit a game-winning 47-yard field goal to lift the Indians to a 1-0 start in the region. Last week, he hit a 22-yard field goal and had a net punt average of 38.4. He continues to be a consistent kicker for the Indians. This past summer Rodriguez performed in a Southern Showcase in May 2023 nailing 13-15 field goals and scoring 111.5 points on kickoffs. He also hit a new personal record 63-yard field goal at a Kohl’s camp in Gatlinburg, Tennessee with relative ease. Rodriguez has not only been reliable but a weapon for McEachern to use against opposing teams.

RB/DB Travis Terrell (Creekside)- Travis Terrell won MVP with his performance rushing for 167 yards and a touchdown for Creekside. Terrell is having another great season on the ground this year. He has rushed for 644 yards and six touchdowns this season. He is a great tandem along with Roderick McCrary that has been tough for defenses to stop. Terrell has three 100-yard games this season and had his best game against Lithia Springs in Week 4. In that game, he rushed for a season-high 194 yards and even threw a 30-yard passing touchdown. He is one of those players you want to get the ball to in space and allow him to do his thing. On the defensive side of the ball, Terrell is a ballhawk and a hard hitter. He leads the teams in total interceptions this season and had a multi-interception game against Region rival Mays. The All-Corky player continues to be a great asset on both sides of the ball for the Creekside Seminoles.

DB Devin Henderson (Cass)- Coming off winning region 7-5A Defensive Player of the Year and Henderson is having another great season in 2023. In the Corky Kell, Henderson was outstanding defensively and finished the game with 15 tackles and an interception. He is a do-it-all player for the Cass Colonels including being their running back, defensive back, and placeholder on kicks. Henderson recently had an outstanding performance on Peachtree Sports Network rushing for two touchdowns against a tough Cartersville team before leaving with an injury. He was an impact player on both sides of the ball making big tackles in the backfield and critical pass breakups in pivotal moments of the game. The Liberty commit is having an all-state type of season.

LB Justin Logan (Kell)- The most impressive part about his game is that Justin Logan transferred from WR to linebacker in 2022 but when you watch him play, he looks like he’s been playing the position for years. His instincts, ability to play downhill, and coverage skills are off the charts. Logan had an outstanding performance in the Corky Kell + Dave Hunter Classic finishing with 12 tackles and two quarterback hurries against Parkview. In addition to being a great Will linebacker, he can also rush the passer and affect the quarterback making life hard for opposing lineman. Logan was nominated to the All-Corky team for his performance. The Arkansas commit is currently top four on his team in tackles this season, with a sack, and interception in 2023. He is one of the best players on the defensive side of the ball for the Kell Longhorns.

ATH AJ Watkins (Norcross)- AJ Watkins is probably one of the better athletes in the state. He can play any position offensively for Norcross. In the Corky Kell matchup against Marietta, Watkins threw two touchdown passes, rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown, and was also the second leading receiver on the team. That performance helped Watkins get selected for the All-Corky team. The Air Force Commit is the leading passer for the Norcross Blue Devils and the leading rusher with 465 yards and seven touchdowns on the season. Watkins is averaging nine yards a carry and has a team long 73-yard touchdown. Watkins was recently named September Player of the Month by TD Club of Gwinnett for his performance. One of his memorable performances in 2023 came against South Gwinnett. Watkins rushed for 162 yards and three touchdowns and averaged 11 yards a carry. He has continued to prove he is a weapon on offense and a mismatch for opposing defenses. Watkins has led Norcross to a 6-1 start and in position to win a region title.


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