The GHSA playoffs begin tonight on GPB with the Camden County Wildcats taking on the sixth-ranked Marietta Blue Devils in the first round of the Class 7A tournament.

The fact the Blue Devils are here is no big surprise. By any metric, or college football recruiting service you prefer, Marietta is the most talent-rich program in the state. They whet our expectations by reaching the 2017 quarterfinals when the current senior class were only sophomores. 

They no doubt disappointed themselves as juniors, finishing with a losing record and a stunning first-round playoff loss to cap a controversial 2018 season which ended with their star quarterback Harrison Bailey injured for the second consecutive season.

Now it’s the final chance for this star-studded senior class. The Blue Devils finished the regular season 8-2. I was criticized early and often this season when I refused to put Marietta at the top of my 7A ballot in our weekly GPB poll. While the Blue Devils talent is undeniable, they had to prove to me that they could win the big game. The tough game. They lost the two toughest games on their regular season schedule at current No. 3 Grayson and at home to No. 2 and Region 3 champion McEachern.

Now there will be nothing but tough games from here on out, starting with a physical Camden County team. Just the kind of team the Blue Devils have had trouble with this season. I remember years ago calling the GHSA State Basketball Playoffs. Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal Constitution wrote a column heading into the Blue Devils quarterfinal game against Lakeside opining that Marietta might be the greatest high school team in the state’s history. They lost that day at the old Alexander Coliseum.

The point of all this isn’t to make Blue Devils fans feel bad. The point is to make the point that expectations are tough. They’re heavy and this Marietta team has worn them now for three years. Each year they have gotten heavier and heavier and now as these seniors start their final playoff run, they are heavier than ever. 

If this Marietta team brings the Blue Devils community its first state championship since 1967, it will be an extraordinary accomplishment. Tonight, on GPB we’ll see if the Blue Devils take the first step on what has been a long and bumping road. A road that will lead many of these Marietta players to stardom in college football and I suspect some of them to the National Football League. But what happens tonight and maybe over the next month will be memories that they keep forever. Good or bad.

Here’s ALL the top prospects to watch tonight. 

Marietta High School football

Marietta's Arik Gilbert (Photo - Jeremy Stewart)

Marietta Blue Devils

Arik Gilbert - 6-5, 253-pound, senior. 247 Sports Composite 5-star and No. 1 TE. Committed to LSU October 23rd over 25 other offers.

Harrison Bailey - 6-4, 224-pound, senior. 247 Sports Composite 4-star and No. 4 Pro Style QB. Committed to Tennessee November 2018 over 21 other offers.

B.J. Ojulari - 6-3, 224-pound, senior. 247 Sports Composite 4-star and No. 9 WDE. Committed to LSU October 27th over 17 other offers after originally committing to Tennessee in August.

Rashad Torrence - 6-0, 195-pound, senior. 247 Sports Composite 3-star and No. 34 SAF. Committed to Florida December 2018 over 25 other offers.

Jake Wray - 6-5, 290-pound, senior. 247 Sports Composite 3-star OT. Committed to Colorado in May over 28 other offers after decommitting from Ohio State last December.

Ricky White - 6-1, 165-pound, senior. 247 Sports Composite 3-star WR. Committed to Michigan State in June over 30 other offers.

Kimani Vidal - 5-7, 205-pound, senior. 247 Sports Composite 3-star RB. Committed to Troy in June over 5 other offers.

Taji Johnson - 6-3, 195-pound, senior. 247 Sports Composite 3-star WR. Committed to Boston College in May over 18 other offers.

Dawson Ellington - 5-11, 184-pound, senior. 247 Sports Composite 3-star CB. 12 offers including LSU, Alabama and Auburn.

Rashun Bass - 6-0, 180-pound, senior. 247 Sports Composite 3-star SAF. Committed to Akron in August.

Kiersten Lee - 6-2, 225-pound, senior. 247 Sports 3-star ILB. Offered by Dartmouth, Harvard and Yale.

Peter Warrick Jr. - 5-10, 183-pound, senior. 247 Sports 2-star CB. Offered by Memphis, Rice and North Dakota.

Andre Stewart - 6-0, 169-pound, sophomore CB. Committed to Auburn in July over 6 other offers.

Daniel Martin - 6-2, 181-pound, sophomore OLB. Offered by Tennessee and Florida Atlantic.


Camden County's Micah Morris (Photo - 247 Sports)

Camden County Wildcats

Micah Morris - 6-4, 316-pound, junior. 247 Sports Composite 4-star and No. 6 OT. 21 offers including Georgia, South Carolina, Georgia Tech, LSU, and Ohio State.

Jamie Felix - 5-10, 190-pound, sophomore. 247 Sports 4-star and No. 9 sophomore RB. 11 offers including LSU, Ohio State, Florida and Auburn.

Shawn Hardy - 6-3, 190-pound, junior. 247 Sports Composite 3-star WR. Seven offers including Georgia Tech, LSU and Ohio State.

Michael Holmes - 6-0, 180-pound, senior. 247 Sports Composite 3-star CB. Ten offers including Georgia Tech, Texas A&M and Arkansas.

Deterias Glover - 6-2, 250-pound, junior DT. Drawing interest from Alabama, Florida and Tennessee