Best highlights by top college football recruits this week

ByBlake Baumgartner ESPN logo
Saturday, September 30, 2023

Before they take the field as college football players on Saturdays, several of the top recruits in the 2024 ESPN 300 are playing underneath the lights on weeknights.

Michigan running back commitJordan Marshall(No. 148 overall) set a new bar at Ohio power Moeller High School on Friday, breaking Marcus Blanks' career rushing mark of 4,098 yards amid a 38-7 victory against Elder High School (Ohio).

Blanks went on to play at Toledo after graduating in 2001, and Marshall bypassed the home state Buckeyes when he committed to Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines in March.

Meanwhile, Belle Vernon High School's (Pennsylvania)Quinton Martin(No. 46 overall), the third-best running back in the cycle and a Penn State commit, had four first-half touchdowns on Friday during a 57-6 victory against South Allegheny High (Pennsylvania).

Here's how some of the nation's other top recruits fared this week.

CB Jaylen Mbakwe (committed to Alabama)

Jaylen Mbakwe (No. 4 overall), the second-best cornerback in the class, had an absolutely huge night on the ground for Clay-Chalkville High School (Alabama) on Thursday against Thompson High School (Alabama).

He ran for 268 yards and five touchdowns in a 36-33 victory, improving the Cougars to 6-0 on the season.

Mbakwe is the top defensive prospect in Alabama's class, which ranks fifth.

DE Dylan Stephenson (committed to Stanford)

Stephenson (No. 200 overall) is one of five ESPN 300 pledges for new Stanford coach Troy Taylor in a class that's ranked 22nd in the country. Stephenson's ability to wreak havoc off the edge, as demonstrated by this safety in Miami's Christopher Columbus High School's 44-0 victory over Miami High on Thursday, will be a welcome addition on the Farm.

Through four games this season, Stephenson had 12 tackles (eight solo). As a junior for a team that went 14-1 in 2022, he recorded 22 tackles (20 solo) with four tackles for loss and five sacks.

S Garrett Stover (committed to Ohio State)

Stover (No. 113 overall) is one of 14 ESPN 300 prospects in an Ohio State class that ranks second overall, behind only Georgia.

Stover, the seventh-best safety in the cycle, played most of Big Walnut High School's (Ohio) game against Worthington Kilbourne (Ohio) with a broken thumb but didn't let that derail him in a 49-7 victory.

Stover is accompanied by Seton Hall Prep's (New Jersey) Jaylen McClain (No. 149 overall) as ESPN 300 safeties for the Buckeyes.

OLB Justin Williams (committed to Georgia)

Williams (No. 14 overall) is one of two top-25 defenders, along with defensive tackleJoseph Jonah-Ajonye(No. 21 overall), from Oak Ridge High School (Texas).

The close friends are both headed to Georgia, and Williams dominated in a 48-21 victory over Conroe (Texas) on Thursday.

Williams, the highest-ranked defensive prospect in the Bulldogs' 2024 haul, could see time early on in Athens, Georgia, because of his ability to find his way into the opposing backfield.

Kirby Smart and Georgia have the top-ranked class and nine of its 19 ESPN 300 prospects reside within the top 75.

S Zaquan Patterson (committed to Miami)

Patterson (No. 76 overall) has big plans for his hometown school, Miami, and wants to help Mario Cristobal lead it back to prominence. Friday night for Chaminade-Madonna Prep (Florida) against Coconut Creek (Florida), Patterson, who came into the weekend with 35 tackles (17 solo) and an interception this season, flashed some of the instincts that should have the Hurricanes' defensive staff smiling.

Miami's class is 14th in ESPN's latest rankings.

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