Five Cobb County football players were named to ESPN’s updated top 300 seniors, including Hillgrove defensive end Myles Murphy, who was listed as the second-ranked college prospect in the country.
Hillgrove coach Phil Ironside recalled the time Murphy was a ball boy for the Hawks' varsity team in middle school. Now, he is a five-star prospect and one of the best players in the nation.
Murphy's size has continued to grow throughout his high school career, so it was not exactly a shock to Ironside that his defensive end is ranked so highly.
“When you see his size and the way he runs, it’s no surprise at all,” Ironside said.
Murphy is ranked No. 4 in the country by the 247Sports Composite and No. 10 by Rivals.
Marietta tight end Arik Gilbert (No. 15), defensive end B.J. Ojulari (193) and quarterback Harrison Bailey (246) also made the ESPN list.
St. Frances Academy of Baltimore and IMG Academy of Bradenton, Florida were the only teams on the list to have more players on the list than Marietta, with six apiece. Marietta was tied with four other schools, but it was the only team in Georgia to have three players on the list.
Marietta coach Richard Morgan said Gilbert, Ojulari and Bailey have been an integral part of the Blue Devils since they were underclassmen.
“They are definitely a very talented group,” Morgan said. “(They are) a great group of kids who have worked really hard to get to where they are right now.”
Last season, Bailey, a Tennessee commit, led Cobb County with 2,809 passing yards, despite a late-season injury. Gilbert, Bailey’s No. 1 target, also paced the county with 1,210 receiving yards.
Ojulari had an impressive stat line of his own. In 2018, he recorded 104 tackles, 90 of which were solo. He also played on the offensive line.
Gilbert and Ojulari have not committed to a college program as of yet.
“(Ojulari) means everything to our program, because he’s literally on the field practically the entire evening,” Morgan said. “He’s got such great leadership and plays so hard.”
McEachern wide receiver Javon Baker was ranked No. 229 by ESPN. First-year Indians coach Franklin Stephens said Baker is a playmaker on both special teams and offense.
But Baker, an Alabama commit, is just one member of the Indians’ talented senior class, Stephens said.
“Fortunately for him, at McEachern, we have several guys (who can score),” Stephens said. “Sometimes, he’s going to have to set the role as a decoy, but I think that he’s going to have his opportunities.”