High School Football

Top 10: Lexington high school football players you’ll want to see in 2019

More from the series

2019 Kentucky high school football preview

The 2019 high school football season kicks off Friday, Aug. 23. New high school sports beat writer Jared Peck is rolling out several stories over the next two weeks in the Herald-Leader and on Kentucky.com previewing the season around the city, region and state and highlighting the top players and games. Click below to read all of his previous stories.

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The city of Lexington is home to some great high school football thanks to the talent that springs up year after year.

It’s impossible to make a top-10 list and not leave out some great players, especially when there are some schools with multiple standouts. But here, in alphabetical order, are 10 Lexington players who will likely make a big impact on the 2019 season for their respective teams.

Beau Allen

School: Lexington Catholic.

Profile: Allen, a 6-2, 200-pound senior quarterback, led the state in passing last season, going 233-for-357 for 3,729 yards and 42 touchdowns against nine interceptions while also leading the Knights in rushing at 740 yards in 99 attempts with eight TDs. The three-star prospect turned down offers from such schools as Michigan and Georgia to commit to Kentucky and should be a favorite to win the city’s first ever Mr. Football honor.

Dekel Crowdus

School: Frederick Douglass.

Profile: Rated as a four-star prospect and the No. 1 junior in the state by 247Sports.com, recruiting interest in Crowdus, a 5-10, 169-pound wideout/athlete, has spiked over the last several months as college offers have come pouring in — he has 15, including UK, Louisville, Michigan and Ohio State. Crowdus led the Broncos in receiving in 2018 with 831 yards and 11 TDs on 37 catches.

Jaylen Lawson

School: Lafayette.

Profile: Lawson, a 6-1, 200-pound senior linebacker for the Generals, returns as the team’s leading tackler after pulling down 105 a year ago, including 60 on his own and 12.5 for a loss. He also netted three sacks and forced and recovered two fumbles, helping him earn H-L second-team all-city honors.

Devin Neal

School: Frederick Douglass.

Profile: Neal, a 6-0, 190-pound cornerback rated by 247Sports.com as a three-star recruit, has committed to Cincinnati. He’s the Broncos leading returning tackler from a year ago (55). Among his 2018 highlights, he jumped a route for a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown in Douglass’ 46-0 win over Bryan Station.

Walker Parks

School: Frederick Douglass.

Profile: Rated as the No. 5 offensive tackle in the nation and the No. 2 recruiting prospect in Kentucky, Parks, a four-star 6-5, 275-pound senior, locked down an offer from Clemson’s Dabo Sweeney when he visited the three-time national champions last October. A total of 13 schools, including dad David’s alma mater Kentucky, and schools such as Notre Dame and Auburn, have sought his services.

Jamarcus Robinson

School: Paul Laurence Dunbar.

Profile: Robinson, a 5-10, 152-pound senior wide receiver, led the Bulldogs in receiving with 338 yards on 22 catches and five TDs, accounting for more than half the team’s passing attack and earning honorable mention H-L all-city honors. Among his highlights, he broke off a 63-yard TD run on an end-around against McCreary Central. He could have a big year in Coach Wes Johnson’s second season.

DeAirious Smith

School: Lexington Christian Academy.

Profile: Smith, a 5-10, 160-pound senior wideout/defensive back, led the Eagles in receiving with 923 yards and 11 touchdowns on 60 catches. He also picked off two passes as a defensive back. “He makes big plays and has good instincts, so we expect a big year out of D,” Coach Doug Charles said.

Amodeus Taylor

School: Bryan Station.

Profile: Taylor, 5-5, 160-pound sophomore running back/wide receiver, steps into a bigger role in the offense coming of a rookie year in which he went for 289 yards and two TDs rushing and 153 yards and two TDs receiving in a limited role. “He’s probably one of the best pure football players in the city,” Coach Frank Parks said.

Miles Thomas

School: Tates Creek.

Profile: Thomas, a a 6-3 175-pound senior wideout, led the Commodores with 802 yards receiving and 11 TDs in 2018. The son of former NFL player and former UK assistant coach Lamar Thomas, he is rated as a three-star recruit by 247Sports.com and has five college offers, including Louisville, Purdue and Syracuse.

DJ Van Horn

School: Henry Clay.

Profile: Van Horn, a 5-10, 165-pound senior quarterback entering his third season as the Blue Devils’ starter, was on pace to have a breakout 2018 until suffering a broken ankle against Bryan Station in their eighth game. He returns to a team Coach Sam Simpson says can lineup four wideouts taller than 6-2, so, the son of former junior and super middleweight boxing champ Darrin Van Horn should be able to improve on his 1,063 passing yards and 11 TDs. He also rushed for 328 yards and four TDs.

Other notables

(Returning players who made the 2018 Herald-Leader All-City Team)

Bryan Station: Braden Ferguson, Kiodai Martin, Bryson Fields and Kyran Campbell.

Frederick Douglass: Jager Burton and Ryan Leigeb.

Henry Clay: Graham Wald, Chris Dabney and Jordan Kimball.

Lafayette: Jay Brank.

Lexington Christian: Jayden Barnhardt, Thomas White, Xavier Brown, Neal Dickey, Drew Long, Trey Hood and Will Vernon.

Tates Creek: Luke Duby, Elliott Bryant and Marcus Bosley.

Jared Peck, the Herald-Leader’s Digital Sports Writer, covers high school athletics and has been with the company as a writer and editor for more than 19 years.
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