Top 10: Players to Watch
Next Wednesday, Sept. 16, the Register presents its annual High School Football Preview Section, which will include capsules on every team in the state and the Preseason Top 10 Poll. Happy reading.
1. Khairi Fortt, Stamford
The 6-foot-2, 220 pound outside linebacker is the state's top recruit, and the fifth-rated in the county at his position, according to the recruiting site Scout.com, which says that Fortt has great size, speed and is a versatile athlete that can play either inside or outside.
Fortt has narrowed his college choices to Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Penn State, Tennessee and USC.
2. Tebucky Jones, Jr., New Britain
A 6-foot-1, 180 pound wide receiver. Has already committed to UConn. Is the 6th-ranked recruit in the state. Son of former NFL player Tebucky Jones.
Was arrested this summer on an assault charge. That could be a distraction once the summer starts, but Jones has the talent to be the state's top receiver.
3. Byron Jones, St. Paul/Lewis Mills/Goodwin Tech
This 6-foot, 175 pound receiver also committed to UConn. Jones is the third-ranked non-prep school recruit behind Fortt and Jones, Jr., on Scout.com.
4. Nick Merullo, Hand
This senior quarterback had a memorable sophomore year, leading the Tigers to an 11-1 record and a berth in the Class MM final before losing to New Canaan. Merullo was injured in the preseason last year, and missed the season opener, in which Hand lost to New London.
It took several weeks for Merullo to reach full strength. Merullo, fully healthy, is expected to have a huge season. Also a catcher for the baseball team, Merullo is still debating which sport to play in college. Father, Matt, was a former MLB player.
5. Jason Lassiter, Hamden
Lassiter, a senior quarterback, like Merullo, is one of the top quarterbacks in the Southern Connecticut Conference. Lassiter could beat opponents throught the air or on the ground.
Led Green Dragons to Class LL state semifinals last season. With Lassiter again under center, Hamden could go even further this year.
6. Jacob Drozd, Seymour
6-foot-2, 215 pounds. Can play either defensive end or linebacker. Is probably the best returning player in the Naugatuck Valley League.
Drozd has size and speed, and incredible athletic ability. Won high jump title during indoor track season, and was the outdoor javelin champion.
7. Maurice Morrison, Wilbur Cross
Long and lanky wide receiver. Stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 175 pounds. Is a bit undersized, weight-wise, but has tremendous speed and mobility in the open field.
Will be one of the top receivers in the SCC, if not the best. Should get plenty of attempts. Also a solid defensive and special teams player.
8. Pierre Narcisse, Windsor
Senior quarterback. 6-foot-3, 190 pounds. Became the starter midway through his freshman year. Threw for over 1,500 yards last season while leading Windsor to Class L state semifinals.
Has an above-average arm, good footwork and has decent speed when forced out of the pocket.
9. Casey Cochran, Masuk
Just a sophomore, Cochran is considered one of the best quarterbacks in the state. Led New London to the Class SS state title last season as a freshman after stepping in for the injured Jordan Reed, who is now at Florida.
Cochran transferred to Masuk in the offseason. Son of former New London, New Britain and Bloomfield coach, Jack.
10. Tyler Girard-Floyd, Montville
Junior running back is a beast. Stands 6-feet, weighs 245. Gained 1,930 yards and scored 29 times last season as a sophomore.
Led Montville to Class SS state semifinals in 2008. Indians should again be contenders to win that division this year.