In a normal year, preseason NFL games would be happening, college programs would be in the thick of summer camp and high school teams across the country would be starting their seasons, officially kicking off football season.
Of course, this isn’t a normal year, and there is plenty of disparity in how each state is handling the high school fall sports season. The 21 members of Michigan’s recruiting class represent 10 states across the country. Since the senior season is valuable for a player’s development and ability to showcase their talents, this list will give a quick rundown of each relevant state’s plan to play football this fall.
Four-star DE Quintin Somerville (Saguaro)
The Arizona Interscholastic Association pushed back the first day of football practices to Sept. 7. The first varsity games will be held the weekend of Oct. 1 and 2 instead of starting this weekend as planned.
In addition, the regular season has been cut from 10 games to eight and the number of teams that make the playoffs has been halved. The championship for the Open conference, where Saguaro plays, will be held on Dec. 11 or 12.
Four-star WR Xavier Worthy (Central East)
Four-star WR Cristian Dixon (Mater Dei)
The California Interscholastic Federation announced back in late July they will be postponing the high school football season until at least December. The official start date has not been decided, but the season may begin in either December or January.
This has had a great effect on both Worthy and Dixon, who have stated that they will skip their senior seasons and instead enroll early at Michigan. This is pretty disappointing given Dixon had something to prove being the man at Mater Dei, and Worthy still has a vast ceiling to explore on the field.
Four-star DE Kechaun Bennett (Suffield Academy)
Three-star OT Tristan Bounds (Choate Rosemary)
Both Michigan commits in Connecticut play for elite boarding schools that are part of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council, which consists of over 110 schools in seven states. The NEPSAC has canceled their fall championships for all sports, including football.
But the two leagues Suffield Academy and Choate Rosemary play have made different decisions on continuing with a fall schedule. The Founders League, where Choate Rosemary is a member, canceled their season altogether.
Meanwhile, Suffield Academy’s Northeast Prep Conference has a wait-and-see approach. The process outlined by Cheshire Academy, another school in the league, says practices have been pushed back to after Labor Day. There will be a limited schedule played in October and November up to Thanksgiving if they are able to “safely compete against other teams.”
Five-star QB JJ McCarthy (IMG Academy)
Four-star C Greg Crippen (IMG Academy)
Four-star LB Jaydon Hood (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Three-star CB Ja’Den McBurrows (St. Thomas Aquinas)
The Florida High School Athletic Association voted to start football practice on Aug. 24 with the first games taking place Sept. 4. Schools can wait until Sept. 18 to play their first game while still qualifying for the state playoffs.
If a school starts playing after that date, they will not be eligible to play in the postseason. This has sparked controversy, as it will likely leave out teams in south Florida counties like Broward and Palm Beach that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic. Seven of the eight state champions from last year were from these two counties. St. Thomas Aquinas is located in Broward County, and there hasn’t been any word if they will start as soon as possible or not.
IMG Academy is not eligible to compete in the Florida state championships anyway, so their start date will not be impacted by this decision. They usually play a national schedule, which will be extremely difficult this year, but do already have a game scheduled against Duncanville High School in Texas Oct. 9.
Three-star LB Tyler McLaurin (Bolingbrook)
The Illinois High School Association postponed football, girls volleyball and boys soccer until the spring. To avoid students having to choose between which spring sport to play, they have divided the school year into four sports seasons. The fall sports moved to the spring will play from mid-February to May 1, while traditional spring sports like baseball, softball and lacrosse will be played from May to the end of June.
Several Illinois high school football players have decided to transfer to neighboring states like Iowa or Indiana to continue playing in the fall, but McLaurin hasn’t indicated he will move anywhere.
Four-star TE Louis Hansen (St. Sebastian’s)
Three-star DE TJ Guy (Mansfield)
Three-star LB Casey Phinney (Noble and Greenough)
Massachusetts has taken a similar approach as Illinois, splitting the year into four sports seasons. Only football, cheerleading and unified basketball will not be allowed to play in the fall. They will be allowed to practice, but their seasons won’t start until Feb. 22. This is the start date of a “floating season” in between the normal winter and spring season the postponed sports and any others that end up being canceled can play.
Four-star OT Giovanni El-Hadi (Adlai Stevenson)
Four-star C Raheem Anderson (Cass Tech)
Three-star WR Andrel Anthony (East Lansing)
Three-star P Tommy Doman (St. Mary’s)
Four-star DT Alex VanSumeren (2022) (Garber)
After initially being allowed to start practice, the Michigan High School Athletic Association postponed the football season to the spring. Football is the only sport currently being pushed back to 2021. The MHSAA is still working on a schedule that will not have football overlap with other sports.
Three-star DE Dominick Giudice (Mater Dei)
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association has pushed back the start of football and other fall sports to Sept. 14. Football games can begin on Oct. 2 with a shortened regular season schedule of six games. The playoffs will only be two weeks long, with no state or sectional championships being played. Traditional Thanksgiving Day games can be played, but otherwise there can be no fall sports competitions played after Nov. 22.
Three-star S Rod Moore (Northmont)
Three-star WR Markus Allen (Northmont)
Ohio governor Mike DeWine approved the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s plan to continue with football in the spring. Practices can start on Aug. 24, with the regular season shortened to six games. However, the playoff will actually be expanded so every team is included. The playoffs will end by Nov. 21.
Four-star LB Junior Colson (Ravenwood)
Tennessee is one of the few states to not make any changes to their high school football schedule this fall. In fact, week one of the season already happened last weekend.
So this section will be a mini-version of Friday Night Recaps solely featuring Colson. Ravenwood demolished Centennial 48-0 with Colson notching four tackles and three tackles for loss.
In total, only 10 Michigan commits are allowed to play football this fall. Given this fact, I probably won’t start up Friday Night Recaps again until at least mid-September when more schools are playing, but stay tuned for a winter version of the series in 2021!