State champions from Arizona and Georgia are in Texas on Friday as part of the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series on ESPNU. Valdosta, the AAAAAA champion from Georgia, meet Chandler, the 6A champions from Arizona, at 6 p.m. ET.
Here are some star players on each side to keep your eyes on:
The Wolves can score and averages more than 500 yards in total offense per game, and that can be attributed to their skill position players.
Sophomore quarterback Jacob Conover got better as the season went on and finished with 3,444 yards and 29 touchdowns passing, completing 71 percent of his passes with a 138.5 quarterback rating. Senior running back T.J. Green, an Oregon State commit, has a chance to show why he emerged as one of the best players in school history. He rushed for 2,084 yards and 33 touchdowns, averaging 9 yards per carry, and caught 13 passes for 277 yards and four scores. Senior receiver Johnny Johnson III, an Oregon commit, had 74 catches for 1,204 yards and eight TDs.
Senior linebacker Parker Henley is the anchor of the defense with more than 100 tackles. Sam Pepper, who leads the team in sacks; Michael Kelly and Kendon Walker are all key players on that side of the ball.
The quarterback is the key cog for the Valdosta offense, which averages 306 yards per game. Josh Belton and Hunter Holt split time at the position, with Belton throwing for more than 1,350 yards and 15 TDs and Holt passing for nearly 1,100 yards and 12 TDs. JR Ingram is the leading receiver with 16 touchdowns.
The two QBs also are the team’s leading rushers. Holt ran for nearly 700 yards and Belton for more than 400. Junior Jeremiah Proctor has the most yards on the ground among the running backs with 250 yard and 5.8 yards per carry.
With Chandler’s desire to throw the ball, the Wolves will need to be careful of Valdosta’s opportunistic secondary. Junior Jalen Everett is listed at 5-6, but he plays much bigger. He has six interceptions on the season; Senior Jaelyn Temple has four picks; and senior linebacker James Bushware has three. Bushware is also the team’s leading tackler.
Valdosta also brings pressure up front, led by Devonnsha Marshall and Tyle Blue. Zakoby McClain is a versatile linebacker who will be all over the field.