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How many local football players will be on FBS rosters this fall?
The Next Level

How many local football players will be on FBS rosters this fall?

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Although the 2020 college football season occurring this fall still remains uncertain, what is evident is that several local alums from a number of area high schools will be ready to go with their teams if and when they’re given the go-ahead.

There are 36 alums from eight local high schools who are set to play with their respective FBS football teams this season. That number could potentially grow, as several players — including Central alum Markail Benton, Glenwood alum Cameron O’Neil and LaFayette alum JaTarvious “Boobie” Whitlow — have entered the transfer portal but have not announced their final decisions.

Below is a breakdown by high school of these players and what to expect if and when they get to suit up this season:

Auburn High

Avery Atkins, LSU — Atkins excelled in his sophomore season at LSU by posting a near-84 percent touchback percentage on 131 kickoffs and is vying to add starting punter duties this fall for the defending national champions.

Brandon Crum, South Alabama — Crum is looking to expand his role as a tight end for the Jaguars after reeling in six catches for 65 yards in 12 games as a true freshman last year.

Mohamoud Diabate, Florida — Diabate wasted little time proving himself worthy of the big stage last season with 17 tackles and 4.5 sacks and should prove to be one of the Gators’ stud linebackers this season.

Aaron Diggs, Coastal Carolina — Diggs was one of Alabama’s top running backs last fall at Auburn, but now he’ll turn his attention to playing outside linebacker for the Chanticleers as a true freshman.

Tommy Nesmith, Auburn — Nesmith is looking to build off a true freshman campaign in which the walk-on saw the field during the Tigers’ shutout victory over Samford.

Omari Porter, Stanford — Porter was a star defensive back for the Tigers and now takes his talents to Palo Alto, California, where he’ll play in the secondary for the Cardinal.

Griffin Speaks, Baylor — Speaks transitioned from quarterback to safety as a true freshman and is looking to build off a first year in which he made the Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team.


La’Damian Webb, Florida State — Webb has arrived in Tallahassee after a successful two-year run in junior college, which included a 2019 season in which he rushed for 940 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Central-Phenix City

John Broussard, Memphis — The former Auburn University football player is fresh off his first year at Memphis during which he played in eight games and registered six tackles.

Javion Cohen, Alabama — Cohen set the standard on the Central line for the past three seasons, and his success has earned him a spot with the Crimson Tide this fall.

Mason Cook, Georgia State — Like Cohen, Cook made the most of his time at Central and has arrived at Georgia State as a true freshman eager to fight for playing time.

Terrell Gordon, Georgia State — Gordon and Cook each excelled with the Red Devils after transferring over from Columbus (Ga.) schools, and now he’ll work to earn a spot in the Panthers’ secondary as a true freshman.

Joshua Jones, Kentucky — Yet another standout offensive lineman from Central’s class of 2020, Jones earned SEC offers in high school and walks into Lexington with a chance to prove himself.

Robert Marsh III, Troy —Marsh was a constant contributor as a Red Devils receiver, and now he’ll try and work his way into the lineup as a preferred walk-on with the Trojans.

Tucker Melton, Bowling Green — Melton was a crucial part on two Central teams that played for state championships, and he’s now set to fight for his shot with the Falcons.

PJ Ramsey, Air Force —Ramsey was a force to be reckoned with on defense the last few years at Central, and he’s parlayed those big moments into a spot at the Air Force Academy.

Justyn Ross, Clemson —Ross played in two national championship games in his first two seasons with the Tigers but is expected to miss 2020 due to offseason spinal surgery.

Jahlil Ryles, MTSU — Ryles looks to come back strong in 2020 after playing in six games as a redshirt freshman before suffering an injury that cut his season short.

A’Montae Spivey, Arkansas — Spivey will be playing for a new coaching staff in Fayetteville this fall following a true freshman year in which he played against Mississippi State and LSU and registered seven carries for 26 yards.

Ray Thornton, Clemson —Thornton appeared in four games as a true freshman for the Tigers — including getting in on three defensive snaps — and will look to grow his role with the team this year.

EJ Williams, Clemson — Williams followed in Ross’ footsteps in Phenix City and is now bound for Clemson, where he’ll try to help fill the void that Ross’ absence has created for this season.


Shawn Jennings, South Alabama — The brother of New England draftee Anfernee Jennings, Shawn Jennings finally saw action last fall after multiple injuries the past few years and enters 2020 after a 20-tackle, two-tackle for loss showing in five games as a junior.


Trikweze Bridges, Oregon — Bridges is looking for even bigger things after a true freshman year in which he saw action in the Ducks’ win over Montana and was part of a Rose Bowl champion squad.

Kristian Story, Alabama —Story arrives in Tuscaloosa as a decorated high school football player courtesy two re-written AHSAA records and anticipates playing defensive back for the Crimson Tide.


Jake Bentley, Utah — Bentley made a big change in the offseason and will arrive in Salt Lake City looking to excel in his senior year after his junior campaign at South Carolina ended after one game due to injury.

Charlie Benton, West Virginia — Benton is looking for a bounce-back in 2020 after suffering a season-ending injury in the Mountaineers’ opener in 2018 and not appearing in any games the following year.

Will Boler III, UAB — Boler was stellar as a redshirt sophomore with 58 total tackles and will hope to build on that campaign for which he was named to the All-Conference USA honorable mention team.

Rakavius Chambers, Duke — Chambers has been a mainstay on the Blue Devils’ line throughout his career, and he’s determined to take the next step as a senior even after an impressive 2019 in which he was on the field for 867 snaps and started 12 games.

Josh Johnson, Louisiana-Monroe — Johnson has become a true darkhorse All-American candidate thanks to an impressive junior year in which he rushed for 1,298 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Justin Lewis, UMass — Lewis racked up four tackles in the Minutemen’s game against Southern Illinois last year and will look to do more in 2020 after missing playing time last season due to injury.

Marshall Meyers, Auburn — After an impressive career with the Bulldogs ended last fall, Meyers has stayed close by and became a walk-on placekicker for the Tigers. 

Jaylen Stinson, Duke — Stinson did a little bit of everything as an Opelika Bulldog, and now he’ll join Chambers in helping the Blue Devils compete week in and week out in the ACC.

Roy Yancey, South Alabama — Yancey will be a senior this season and will try and build off a breakout campaign in which he had 45 tackles and two tackles for loss as a junior for the Jaguars.


Eric Shaw, South Carolina — Shaw starred on both sides of the ball for a Reeltown team that made the state title game in 2019 and will look to make his athleticism translate to the next level as a tight end for the Gamecocks.

Smiths Station

Jarred Long, UAB — Long will be one of the new faces in Birmingham this fall after transferring to join the Blazers after a stint at Brevard College.

Deandre Williams, Navy — Williams made true strides by compiling 10 tackles and one sack as a redshirt freshman last fall and will hope to keep that going for the Midshipmen this season.

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