Say the name “JuJu” and high school football fans in Georgia are going to know who you’re talking about. Fans around the country, especially those dialed in to recruiting, are going to know who you’re talking about too. Every college football coach in America is definitely going to know who you’re taking about!

JuJu Lewis, Carrollton

JuJu Lewis, Carrollton

Credit: 247 Sports

Julian “JuJu” Lewis will be back on GPB-TV tonight as the young phenom quarterback leads his third-ranked Carrollton Trojans up against the 5-1 East Coweta Indians in both team’s Region 2-7A opener in Sharpsburg. Our Football Fridays in Georgia coverage starts at 7:30 p.m. on statewide Georgia Public Broadcasting. It’ll be JuJu’s fourth appearance on GPB Sports in his last 14 games.

So, who is Julian “JuJu” Lewis? He is the No. 1-rated high school football player in the country in the Class of 2026. The 5-star sophomore has already committed to Southern Cal and Coach Lincoln Riley. It would certainly surprise no one if a Heisman Trophy candidacy and NFL career are in his future.

At least that’s the game plan. His dad says his son chose the Trojans in large part because of Coach Riley’s resume with the likes of Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts, Spencer Rattler and current Heisman winner Caleb Williams. Just a couple of weeks ago, JuJu became the youngest football player ever to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He just turned 16 years old 16 days ago.

Said his current Trojans Coach Joey King, “There’s a lot on him. A lot of hype and eyes on him. I don’t know that I could handle it as well as he does.” And this isn’t Coach King’s first rodeo with the nation’s No.1 quarterback. He coached Trevor Lawrence for four seasons at Cartersville.

But even though that was just a decade ago, much has changed. The social media aspect is in hyperdrive and now there is NIL There’s no telling how much money that could generate for Lewis, not only in the future at USC but now in high school after the GHSA this week approved NIL for student-athletes here in Georgia. This ain’t your daddy’s high school football.

As a freshman, JuJu was the MaxPreps Freshman of the Year. He earned GPB Sports All-State honors and was GPB Sports All-Finals Co-Most Outstanding Offensive Player after he threw for a state championship game-record 531 yards plus six touchdowns in Carrollton’s 70-35 loss to Mill Creek. And he was just a ninth grader at the time!

His stats aren’t nearly as extravagant so far in his sophomore season as they were as a freshman but even that is a compliment to his ability. As King explains, the Trojans offense simply takes what the defense gives them, and JuJu is the one doing the taking. Plus, there are many second halves he’s not even on the field. Carrollton has not won by fewer than three touchdowns since its 39-34 season-opening loss to reigning 6A champion Hughes.

Throw in the fact that JuJu lost his best weapon, senior RB Bryce Hicks, to a broken leg in that loss to the Panthers. The great news is, Hicks is on the road to recovery and King says they hope to have him back for the playoffs. But it isn’t like JuJu’s numbers aren’t great. He’s completed 67 percent of his passes for more than 1,100 yards with 18 touchdowns and no interceptions. (Not a misprint).

JuJu’s legend continues to grow and if he can lead Carrollton to a state championship, they’ll erect a statue. The Trojans have won seven state championships in their 96-year history with 14 state championship game appearances including last season. But Carrollton hasn’t won a state title since 1998 and that’s the only one in the last 48 seasons. No team has won more games in the 21st century without winning a state title than Carrollton. JuJu just might be the Trojan Man to change that.

But first things first. East Coweta lies in wait tonight. Last year the Indians actually outgained the Trojans but committed four turnovers in a 38-28 loss. Coach John Small’s team lost 15 starters off last year’s team and were picked by local media to win only two games. When told this Coach Small says he got quiet. When asked why he was so quiet, he joked “I was just thanking God that we were going to win two games.”

Well, the Indians have done much better than that with a one-point loss at Lambert the only thing separating them from a so-far perfect record. But no doubt they’ll have their hands full this evening with a team they’ve never beaten in five all-time tries and now for the second time facing that young man named JuJu.

So, that’s the game story. Let’s take a look at the rest of the top prospects to watch.

Carrollton Trojans

Caleb Odom, Carrollton

Caleb Odom, Carrollton

Credit: 247 Sports

Caleb Odom – 6-4, 220, Senior TE – Committed to Alabama over 43 other offers – Highest Ranking: Consensus 4-Star and On3 Recruits No. 1 TE and No. 25 overall prospect in the country and No. 4 recruit in Georgia 2024. Told 247 Sports that he chose Alabama because “that’s where legends are made.” Career Stats: 91-1,598 yds receiving with 21 TD after starting his career at Villa Rica. Honors: 2022 MaxPreps Junior All-American. GPB Sports All-Finals WR. Coach King: “Match-up issue for defenses. Sneaky fast because of his stride.

Montreze Smith – 5-11, 195, Senior LB – Committed to Duke over 21 other offers – Consensus 3-Star – Highest Ranking: ESPN No. 23 LB in the country 2024. 2022 All-Region 2-7A First Team. Coach King: “Montreze is awesome. One of fastest players on the team. Once he’s after you, he’s going to get you.”

Kelvin Hill – 5-10, 170, Senior CB – Committed to UAB over 16 other offers including Georgia State and Georgia Southern – Highest Ranking: ESPN 3-Star CB. 8 Career INT. Coach King: “Kelvin playing at an even higher level than a year ago.” And he was very good last year as a junior.

Zykie Helton – 6-2, 320, Sophomore OL – Committed to Alabama over seven other offers. Been self-described Crimson Tide fan since he was in 4th grade. Coach King: “When he met with Coach Saban it was a done deal.” King adds, “Starting to lose some of his ‘baby fat’ and becoming really dirty (good thing) offensive lineman.”

Christian Ward – 6-3, 174, Sophomore WR – Five offers including UAB, Arkansas State and Texas A&M. 4 catches but all of them big and two for TD. Coach King: “Great potential. Still developing as football player.”

Ryan Mosley – 6-2, 175, Sophomore WR – Offered by Washington State, Arkansas State and Texas A&M. 13 catches. Coach King: “Bright future. Blocks and runs routes well.”

Bryce Hicks – 5-11, 175 Senior Athlete – Five offers including Georgia State, Western Kentucky and Coastal Carolina. IMO the most underrated player in the state. I was sick when I watched him break his leg in the opener. Sure hope Coach King is right and he can get back for the playoffs.

Jordan White – 6-3, 225, Senior TE – Nine offers including Kent State. Third-year starter. Career: 45-596 yards receiving, 13 TD.

C.J. Gamble – 6-1, 190, Sophomore LB – Offered by Marshall and App State. Coach King: “C.J. loves contact. Physical. Aggressive in the alley.”

Zion Cooley – 6-4, 215, Junior TE – Offered by UAB. Also plays DE and leads team with 4 QB Sacks.

Brody Bradburn – 6-0, 220, Senior LB – Five offers including Wofford and Alabama State. Receiving interest from seven others including Cincinnati. Coach King calls him the bell cow of the defense. Just his third game back after suffering dislocated ankle in preseason practice.

Godgift Dudley – 6-3, 253, Senior OL – Four offers including Tarleton State and Shorter. Receiving interest from Georgia Southern and Air Force. Gained over 50 lbs. since Coach King’s arrival.

R.J. Sizemore – 5-11, 260, Junior OL – Three offers including The Citadel. Will end up being a four-year starter on the OL. Can play all three positions up front.

Cole Norred – 6-3, 280, Junior OL – Offered by Sewanee. Dad is Trojans’ new 8th Grade Coach. Transfer from Bremen.

Andrew Albertus – 5-10, 180, Senior Punter – Committed to Presbyterian baseball. One of the top punters in 7A (as is his East Coweta counterpart tonight Brock Beldon). Dad is Carroll County School Superintendent Dr. Mark Albertus.

East Coweta Indians

Zach Clayton, East Coweta

Zach Clayton, East Coweta

Credit: Hudl

Zach Clayton – 6-5, 285, Senior LT – 30-plus offers including Georgia State, Troy and Georgia Southern. Third-year Starter. Also plays lacrosse. Coach Small: “Very athletic. Looks 250. Plays with toughness and grittiness that you love.”

Dionte Jones – 5-8, 164, Senior RB – Offered by Liberty and Morehouse. Third in region with 426 yards rushing. Coach Small: “Speed guy. Tough runner. Can break tackles and get to the second level.”

Josh Anderson – 5-11, 173, Senior SAF/LB – Offered by Elon, Alabama State and UT-Martin. Team’s leading tackler with 68 stops. Averaging over 11 tackles-per-game and has blocked a FG. Coach Small: “Underrated. Safety who can play in the box but also play on the hash. Can play nickel. He’s going to put his hat on somebody every play.”

Ashton Sample – 6-6, 315, Senior OL – Offered by Berry. Developed into a college prospect. Coach Small jokes “If you had told me as freshman, he’d play for us I would have laughed because he couldn’t walk and chew gum.” Not uncommon for young men who grow fast and just need time to grow into their bodies and here he is as a senior taking over center position previously occupied by four-year starter Aaron Fenimore now at Liberty.

Keaton McNutt – 5-11, 208, Senior – Committed to Auburn – Highest Ranking: Kohl’s 5-Star and No. 4 Long Snapper in the country 2024. Coach Small: “Success story. He had goal of being an Auburn Tiger and traveled around the country, going to camps and becoming a great long snapper.”

So, join Wayne Gandy, Jon Nelson, Hannah Goodin and me for our Emmy Award-winning Football Fridays in Georgia Game of the Week as the East Coweta Indians host the Carrollton Trojans starting at 7:30 p.m. Remember at halftime Hannah will highlight this week’s Make That Kid an Offer nominees.

You can watch Football Fridays in Georgia in so many ways. You have traditional TV (GPB), online at, GPB Sports app, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Twitch.

Now if somehow, you miss it live or just want to watch it again, don’t worry, we replay the entire Football Fridays in Georgia Game of the Week at 11:30 p.m. or you can watch it on demand anytime at 

Enjoy your Football Friday in Georgia!