High-SchoolNew-Jersey: Nadir Barnwell

Five Days of List-Mas: NJ's underclass football stars

December, 13, 2011

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

Whether you’re putting together a grouping of best quarterbacks or worst albums, or you’re making that special list for Santa, there’s nothing quite like a good list. So in honor of the holiday season we’re bringing you lists all week long — Merry List-Mas!

Today: The top underclassmen in high school football.

The state championships are over and the Class of 2012 had their run, but it’s never too early to start looking at the impressive players in the Class of 2013 and beyond. Who’s going to rule the gridiron in New Jersey next season? We give you the early rundown of who to watch for.

5. Alquadin Muhammad (JR), Don Bosco Prep, DL
Credentials: Led Ironmen to national title and sixth straight Non-Public Group 4 crown, offers from Notre Dame and Oklahoma

4. Nadir Barnwell (JR), Piscataway, QB/DB
Credentials: Led team to second straight North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 title, offers from Florida and Rutgers

3. Kevin Olsen (JR), Wayne Hills, QB
Credentials: 1,686 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, Led Patriots to second straight North Jersey Section 1, Group 3 crown, has 15 offers including Georgia, Stanford and Florida State

2. Jamauri Bogan (SO), Union, RB
Credentials: 2,260 rushing yards, 25 touchdowns, 2011 Gatorade State Player of the Year

1. Jabrill Peppers (SO), Don Bosco Prep, DB/RB
Credentials: Led Ironmen to national title and sixth straight Non-Public Group 4 crown, ESPNHS All-American

Click here to check out some of the other states in our Five Days of List-Mas

Tomorrow: POWERADE state hoops rankings

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

New Jersey football championships preview

December, 2, 2011
There will be championships galore across the Garden State this weekend. Here are five contests to keep a close eye on:

Don Bosco Prep vs. Bergen Catholic
We've seen this before in last year's Non-Public, Group 4 title game and about two months ago. And even though Don Bosco has won both matchups (along with its last 45 games overall and the last five titles), we all want to see this one again. Bergen Catholic gave the Ironmen their greatest challenge this year, bringing a lead into the fourth quarter before falling 33-22 behind late turnovers. The Crusaders have seen great growth since then, as QB Jon Germano has emerged as a big-time passer while the defense continues to be solid. Thing is, with each passing week, the Ironmen seem to get better and find a different playmaker. Plus, while both teams beat St. Joseph (Mont.) and Paramus Catholic, the Ironmen did so in a much more convincing manner behind its suffocating defense. Regardless, this one should be another classic.
My pick: Don Bosco Prep 34, Bergen Catholic 30

Wayne Hills vs. Old Tappan
Here's another rematch of last year's North Jersey Section 1, Group 3 final, when Wayne Hills ran back a kick return for the decisive TD in the final minute. This year's tilt could be just as thrilling with offensive firepower at a plenty. Wayne Hills boasts talented junior QB Kevin Olsen and do-everything player Andrew Monahan, who is expected to play despite being charged with assault a few weeks back. For Old Tappan, arguably the state's top offensive prospect in Devin Fuller makes the Golden Knights a threat to score on every play.
My pick: Old Tappan 28, Wayne Hills 27

Elizabeth vs. Piscataway
At the start of the year, most wondered what was wrong with Piscataway, as the defending North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 champs lost two of their first three games. But the Chiefs have recovered in a major, letting loose an aggressive defensive attack that's produced five shutouts this year. The Chiefs are also explosive on offense behind QB Nadir Barnwell. Elizabeth doesn't have Piscataway's size, but it has the talent and speed, anchored by RB Elijah Hughes (21 touchdowns).
My pick: Piscataway 31, Elizabeth 24

Summit vs. Madison
It's been 24 games since Madison lost a game. The last one? A 23-14 playoff defeat at the hands of Summit. Of course, the defending North Jersey Section 2, Group 2 champs would like nothing more than to avenge that loss, but that will be easier said than done. Summit's offense has been nearly unstoppable this year, averaging 43 points a game during its 11-0 campaign. Madison has the defensive ability to thwart such an attack, though, as the Dodgers have given up less than 10 points per game and shut out their last two opponents. Which unit will bend in this intense matchup?
My pick: Madison 27, Summit 20

St. Joseph (Mont.) vs. Delbarton
Never mind St. Joseph's blowout loss to Don Bosco Prep. It's a new week and the Non-Public, Group 3 championship is at stake. But the Green Knights' foe this weekend is also formidable in 11-0 Delbarton. The Green Wave's defense has been stifling this year, barely allowing 11 points per game. Likewise, the offense has been solid behind RB Jamie White (1,334 yards and seven scores). On the other side, St. Joseph is certainly battle-tested, facing the likes to Bergen Catholic and Don Bosco Prep this year. Take away those two losses and the Green Knights have given up just 81 points in nine wins. But while Delbarton might not be of the caliber of the top two teams in the state, its firepower and success could be too much for the Green Knights.
My pick: Delbarton 27, St. Joseph (Mont.) 23

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Stock is rising for Hughes, Davies on gridiron

September, 29, 2011
"Lookin' at my rollie, it's about that time"... for the New Jersey All-State Football Stock Watch. This week, we feature two players who are living up to the hype and leading the state in production at their respective positions.

UP — Elijah Hughes, Elizabeth RB
He's listed as a running back, but Elijah Hughes is also doing work at wideout this year. Along with his 194 rushing yards and three touchdowns, the Elizabeth senior is leading the state with 14 catches for 339 yards and three scores. Most of that production came in a Sept. 16 win against Hunterdon Central when Hughes caught nine balls for 220 yards and two TDs.

DOWN — Piscataway defense
The hope for Piscataway was that its Sept. 16 loss to South Brunswick was an aberration. But the Chiefs, who entered the season ranked fourth in the state, gave up 28 points for the second straight – this time in a loss to Woodbridge. What's surprising is that the defending North 2, Group 4 champs have no shortage of talent on defense, from Nadir Barnwell, Kyle LaPorte and Tevin Shaw at defensive back and Jonathan Kinslow on the line. But they, along with a special teams unit that surrendered two touchdowns last week, will have to turn things around in a hurry. The silver lining for the Chiefs is that their two losses came against solid squads and with the talent and experience on this team, chances are good that they will rebound.

UP — Ryan Davies, Howell QB
After throwing for 2,864 yards and 36 touchdowns in his first year as starter, most knew that Davies was a legit gunslinger. And not much has changed this season for the senior. Through three games, Davies leads the state in passing, completing 70 of 90 attempts for 907 yards, 12 scores and just one interception. Equally impressive are the five touchdowns he's thrown in each of his last two games, both of which resulted in wins for the 2-1 Rebels.

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.