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High school football: 20 freshmen across the country tearing it up against older competition

Freshman football couldn't hold these guys, so they're playing against the big boys as ninth-graders
Bolingbrook freshman quarterback Jonas Williams

Jonas Williams photo by Dean Reid

When talking football, a 14-year-old against an 18-year-old seems like an unfair fight.

Not so for the following 20 players.

Freshman football couldn't hold these guys, so they're playing against the big boys as ninth-graders.

Who did we miss? Email to give a shout-out to other freshmen across the country who are showing out this season playing varsity football.

Naeem Burroughs, Jacksonville Bolles WR (Florida)

Burroughs has been a big-play magnet thus far for Bolles, making 15 catches for 307 yards and three touchdowns this season. He received an offer from Vanderbilt earlier this month.

Legend Galeai, Lakes QB (Washington)

Galeai is the first ninth-grader to earn the starting quarterback job at Lakes in coach Dave Miller's 38 years in the program, and he's quickly showing it was the right call. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound quarterback has eight touchdown passes and no interceptions through three games, throwing for 568 yards.

Jalen Harris, Chester QB (Pennsylvania)

Just five games into his high school career, Harris has already set the school record with 20 touchdown passes this season, and he's thrown only one interception. The 6-foot-1 quarterback also has three rushing touchdowns for the 5-0 Clippers.

Chris Henry Jr., West Clermont WR (Ohio)

The son of former West Virginia and Cincinnati Bengals star receiver Chris Henry, Chris Henry Jr. is already 6-foot-3 and leading run-heavy West Clermont in receptions. He has 17 of the team's 45 catches this season and held several Division I offers before even starting his ninth-grade year.

Zelus Hicks, Parkview S (Georgia)

Hicks has hit the ground ground running for Parkview, including a two-interception game against North Gwinnett (returning one of them 98 yards for a score). The 6-foot-3 safety — who also played varsity as an eighth-grader — already has an offer from Georgia, and the only question is how much bigger he'll get over the next three-plus years of high school football.

Dutch Horisk, St. John Bosco DE (California)

Horisk is not only playing but playing well for the No. 1-ranked team in the country. Just the third freshman to ever play varsity for St. John Bosco, he's been getting after the quarterback, and the 6-foot-3, 240-pounder already has offers from USC, Louisville and Arizona.

Kevon Johnson, St. Edmund RB (Louisiana)

Johnson sprinted out of the blocks for St. Edmund, racking up 248 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns in his first game of the season, plus an 83-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. He had 300 yards rushing and six touchdowns last week, giving him 781 yards through just three games.

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O'Mari Johnson, Wesson WR (Mississippi)

Johnson isn't sneaking up on anybody this year, as he scored eight touchdowns playing varsity last year as an eighth-grader. Through fives games as a ninth-grader, the 6-foot-1 speedster has 900 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns.

Julian Lewis, Carrollton QB (Georgia)

In six varsity games this season, the 6-foot-1 Lewis has completed 66.3% of his passes for 1,598 yards, 23 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Among his many scholarship offers are Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Ole Miss, Oregon and Texas.

Sabby Meassick, Tohopekaliga QB (Florida)

Meassick entered ninth grade with a lot of hype, having earned an offer from the Florida Gators as an eighth-grader. He's lived up to it so far. Through four games the 6-footer has thrown 24 touchdown passes and only one interception for Tohopekaliga.

Bo Polston, Decatur Central QB (Indiana)

Polston is really starting to hit his stride at the halfway point of the season. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound athletic quarterback had his best game of the year last week, throwing for 386 yards and three touchdowns on 18-of-26 passing.

Brayden Robinson, Red Oak WR (Texas)

Robinson has already earned the nickname "Quick 6" thanks to his blazing speed and big-play ability. The 5-foot-9 receiver recently had a three-catch, 119-yard game with a 65-yard TD grab. He's even earned accolades for his blocking skills this season.

Corey Sadler Jr., Cass Tech WR/DB (Michigan)

Sadler's game of the year came in a six-touchdown performance (all receiving and return touchdowns) against Renaissance in a 66-0 Cass Tech win. He's also excelling on defense, taking snaps at quarterback and is already racking up Division I offers.

Ansu Sanoe, Lakeridge RB (Oregon)

Sanoe is already 6-foot-2, 220 pounds and excels as a running back, wide receiver and linebacker. He has 237 total yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries and eight receptions, and he received an offer from Miami in the summer before ninth grade.

Matt Sieg, Fort Cherry QB (Pennsylvania)

Sieg is doing most of his damage with his legs, rushing for 750 yards and 13 touchdowns at midseason. The 6-foot-1 two-sport star (baseball) also has 637 passing yards and five TDs.

Brady Smigiel, Newbury Park QB (California)

The 6-foot-5 son of first-year Newbury Park coach Joe Smigiel is airing it out right away for the Panthers. He has 1,774 yards and 21 touchdown passes through six games and is scaring opponents with the notion that they have another three-plus years of facing him.

Cody Taylor, Greenwood OL (Arkansas)

It's tough to earn playing time as a freshman when you play the position demanding the most size, but Taylor is getting it done. The 6-foot-4, 270-pounder has become a regular contributor right away for one of the best teams in Arkansas. He'll be one to watch over the next few years as he gets even bigger.

Malachi Toney, Plantation American Heritage WR (Florida)

Toney has 245 yards receiving and six touchdowns playing for one of the best teams in the country. He's already earned offers from the likes of Georgia, Texas A&M, Miami and Louisville.

Jonaz Walton, Central-Carrollton RB (Georgia)

Walton was named his team's offensive player of the game in his varsity debut, and he hasn't slowed down since then. The 5-foot-9 running back has a 250-yard, six-touchdown game this season and earned an offer from Georgia.

Jonas Williams, Bolingbrook QB (Illinois)

Williams won the starting job late in the preseason, and he showed right out of the gate why. In his varsity football debut just days after starting high school, he completed 19 of 24 passes for 407 yards and seven touchdowns. Williams threw for another 402 yards and five touchdowns last week in a close loss to Lincoln-Way East.