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Led by Dalvin Cook and Joseph Yearby, Miami Central is ranked No. 1 in Athlon Sports' High School Football Top 25.
The Athlon Sports High School Football Preseason Top 25, just in time for the Friday night lights across the country. As usual, Florida, Texas and California are well-represented, but there's plenty of talent from coast-to-coast and more teams playing national schedules than ever before.
1. Miami Central (Fla.) Rockets
Miami Central is Athlon Sports’ preseason No. 1 high school football team in the country primarily for two reasons — Dalvin Cook and Joseph Yearby.
The Rockets’ rising seniors comprise a backfield that many major college programs would be proud to have. And who knows? Maybe Cook (who originally committed to Clemson before changing his allegiance to Florida) and Yearby (originally a Florida State commit who has since flipped to Miami) will remain teammates at the next level.
“That’s something we always talk about,” Cook told the Orlando Sentinel. “We’re working together every day, side-by-side, so we talk about that every day.”
But first, the dynamic duo will look to maintain the success they enjoyed last season: Cook rushed for 1,451 yards and scored 22 total TDs while Yearby posted a nearly identical 1,448 rush yards and 21 total TDs en route to earning a Class 6A state championship for Willis McGahee’s alma mater.
Miami Central returns all five offensive linemen, including 6'5", 330-pound senior Trevor Darling. But all eyes will be on Cook, the No. 1 tailback, and Yearby, who doubles as the quarterback in the Rockets’ run-based option offense that averaged 39 points per game during a 12–2 season. Central’s only losses were to Bradenton (Fla.) Manatee (ranked No. 1 in the nation at the time) and Loganville (Ga.) Grayson.
This season, Miami Central plays a schedule that could produce a campaign worthy of a mythical national title. The Rockets face local South Florida powers in reigning Class 4A champions Miami Booker T. Washington and defending Class 3A winners Fort Lauderdale University School, and they take a road trip to battle New Jersey juggernaut Don Bosco Prep.
And if Cook and Yearby have it their way, the Rockets’ explosive playmakers will go out with a bang.
2. Allen (Texas) Eagles
Quarterback Kyler Murray topped 2,000 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards while accounting for 42 total TDs for last year’s Class 5A Division I state champions.
3. Karr (La.) Cougars
New coach Nathaniel Jones inherits the top team in New Orleans, led by Devante “Speedy” Noil, who accounted for 44 TDs for last year’s Class 4A state champs.
4. Booker T. Washington (Fla.) Tornadoes
Coach Tim “Ice” Harris’ son, Treon, quarterbacks a loaded team that will play a national schedule that includes road trips to Norcross (Ga.) and Bishop Gorman (Nev.).
5. Katy (Texas) Tigers
The lone unbeaten team in Class 5A a year ago, Katy has some holes to fill, but that’s nothing new for one of the state’s most tradition-rich programs.
6. John Curtis (La.) Patriots
Abby Touzet quarterbacked the Patriots to a Class 2A state title in 2011 as a freshman and served as the backup last fall. He’s back to run the show in ’13.
7. De La Salle (Calif.) Spartans
Justin Alumbaugh takes over for legendary coach Bob Ladouceur, who steps down after posting a 399–25–3 record.
8. Hamilton (Ariz.) Huskies
Sam Sasso will be the eighth senior starting quarterback in coach Steve Belles’ eight years of guiding the Huskies.
9. Junipero Serra (Calif.) Cavaliers
The reigning Division II champions return a core group led by two-way gamebreaker Adoree’ Jackson.
10. St. John Bosco (Calif.) Braves
Defense will be the calling card for the Braves, who return run-stuffers Damien Mama, Malik Dorton, Jacob Tuioti-Mariner and Chandler Leniu.
11. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) Raiders
Michael Irvin's alma mater has been good since the Playmaker was in high school. A trip to John Curtis (La.) is one of the games of the year.
12. Norcross (Ga.) Blue Devils
Defensive end Lorenzo Carter is one of the top prospects in the country, tallying 18 sacks and 79 tackles as a junior.
13. Bishop Gorman (Nev.) Gaels
Randall Cunningham Jr. leads a loaded squad that plays a national schedule that includes Mountain Ridge (Ariz.), Bergen Catholic (N.J.) and Booker T. Washington (Fla.).
14. Sandy Creek (Ga.) Patriots
The defending Class AAAA champions are ready to roll once again with offensive triplets Cole Garvin at QB, Eric Swinney at RB and DeMarre Kitt at WR.
15. St. Edward (Ohio) Eagles
A traditional Ohio powerhouse, St. Edward opens the year with a showdown against Cleveland Glenville in a game that will set the tone for the season.
16. Hoover (Ala.) Buccaneers
Marlon Humphrey leads the Bucs, who will face their former coach and "Two-A-Days" MTV reality show star Rush Propst — now the coach at Colquitt County (Ga.) — in the season opener.
17. Trinity (Texas) Trojans
Trinity's Polynesian pipeline continues to boast studs like offensive lineman Lemaefe Galea'i and linebacker Inoke Ngalo, both of whom are rising seniors.
18. Ensworth (Tenn.) Tigers
Nashville's top team doesn't rebuild, it reloads — with power back D'Andre Ferby taking over at running back for Miami (Fla.) signee Corn Elder.
19. Good Counsel (Md.) Falcons
An Aug. 30 road trip down to Immokalee (Fla.) will be a challenge for the Falcons, but it is the Sept. 27 game at in-state rival DeMatha that is circled on the calendar.
20. Gateway (Pa.) Gators
The Gators had a rough transition from former coach Terry Smith to Donnie Militzer, who could feel some heat if Gateway doesn't win big this season.
21. DeMatha (Md.) Stags
Penn State commit running back Mark Allen will run behind 6'8", 320-pound behemoth lineman Brock Ruble in the Stags run-heavy offense.
22. Cass Tech (Mich.) Technicians
Junior quarterback Jayru Campbell has led the program to consecutive state championships and has offers from Alabama, Notre Dame and Michigan State.
23. St. Joseph (N.J.) Green Knights
With nearly every key player returning for the Green Knights, anything less than another state title will be a disappointment in Montvale.
24. Gainesville (Ga.) Red Elephants
Quarterback Deshaun Watson already owns state records for passing yards (9,360), combined rushing and passing TDs (155) and TD passes (108).
25. DeSoto (Texas) Eagles
What Desmon White lacks in size (5'5", 150), he makes up for in big-play ability for DeSoto — the alma mater of Broncos pass rusher Von Miller.
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