Launching Pad: Five juniors to keep an eye on

Glades Central (Belle Glade, Fla.) junior William Likely is a two-time DB MVP at the Nike Camp Tom Hauck/ESPNHS

WR Tyler Boyd, Clairton (Clairton, Pa.)

Boyd is the latest star to play for one of Western Pennsylvania's top small school programs in Clairton. The school is riding a 34-game winning streak dating back to the season opener of 2009 and this year seems to be just like the past with a 3-0 start.

A stwo-way starter as a sophomore at wideout and defensive back, Boyd was looking to improve upon last year's numbers but over the summer things changed when Clairton's starting running back went down with a torn ACL. Thrust into a new role, it didn't take long for the 6-1, 183 pound athlete to make an immediate impact at the team's new running back. In just the second game of the season, Boyd went for 203 yards on just 13 carries with four rushes over 20 yards.

Also starting again at safety, Boyd has two picks and in last week's game returned one for a touchdown to go along with a 62-yard rushing score, leading to a 44-0 win over Carlyton (Carnegie, Pa.). Despite the early success running the ball, Boyd tells ESPNHS, "I am going to be a receiver in college and just doing what is needed to get the team victories this year."

Through three games this fall he has rushed for 390 yards on 24 carries and scored 11 total touchdowns. On the recruiting front, Pittsburgh is the first team to offer the local star with a good amount of other schools showing interest.

"Right now I am getting a ton of mail and emails from so many different schools it is hard to tell what schools are really recruiting me more than the other," Boyd said when asked to name a few that he felt would be close to offering soon. He did say he is looking to stay close to home and did not want go cross country. - Michael White

DL Taco Charlton, Pickerington Central (Pickerington, Ohio)

Although his name might sound like a delectable Mexican dish, don’t be fooled; Taco is a force to be reckoned with. The swift and talented defensive end prospect out of the Buckeye State made waves at the 2011 Ohio State Nike Football Training Camp, and has carried that momentum into his junior season.

“We got off to a slow start losing our first two games, but we won our last game and are looking to turn our season around. I have been playing a lot of different positions to help my team out. I have played linebacker, defensive end and tight end. Although I am learning new positions, I feel I have been playing well.”

Aside from showcasing his versatility this season, Charlton has noticed much improvement since his sophomore season.

“I really worked on my hands and my get off in the off-season. I don’t think I have the best stats so far this season, but I’ll put better numbers up as I become more comfortable playing all over the field.”

Charlton told ESPNHS that his recruiting is really beginning to pick up. He already holds offers from the likes of Michigan, UCLA, Cincinnati, Syracuse and Purdue.

“I have no favorites as of yet. Im just focused on getting it done on the field and helping my team win.” - Nick Ekbatani

OL Brayden Kearsley, Aloha (Aloha, Ore.)

Kearsley is a junior offensive lineman to keep an eye out for in the Pacific Northwest. At 6-5, 270 pounds, Kearsley possesses the lean frame that most college coaches love to build upon. He showcased good feet and lightning quick reactive ability which helped him shut down the inside move all day at the 2011 Oregon Nike Football Training Camp. Aloha is 2-1 to start the season, and Kearsley is enjoying himself through three games of his junior season.

“I have not allowed a sack and have over 25 pancake blocks so far”, Kearsley told ESPNHS on Monday.

“I have really worked hard to improve my pass protection this year, which is something I wanted to get better so I can fit into BYU’s ‘Air Raid’ offense.”

Kearsley has been long committed to BYU and says his commitment is rock solid.

“I am a Cougar for life and will not change my mind. But it is nice to hear from schools like Notre Dame, Michigan, Oregon, UCLA, Colorado, Alabama, and Nebraska. College football recruiting only happens once, and I am enjoying it.” - Nick Ekbatani

DB/WR William Likely, Glades Central (Belle Glade, Fla.)

This diminutive athlete isn’t the biggest at just under 5-7, 161-pounds, but what he lacks in size Likely makes up for with big play ability. During his freshman season he recorded 65 tackles, five interceptions, and seven return touchdowns while leading the team in tackles in the state championship game against Cocoa. Likely made a name for himself on the camp tour with a MVP performance at the 2010 Gainesville Nike Football Training Camp.

He didn’t have much of a drop-off his sophomore year collecting 53 tackles, eight interceptions, and six touchdowns en route to being named an all-area selection by the Palm Beach Post. Last spring, he was named DB MVP of the Miami Nike Football Training Camp as an underclassman for the second consecutive time.

This season he is spending time at wide receiver to help the Raider offense. So far he has already scored seven touchdowns including a 99-yard kick return that was featured on SportsCenter's Top Plays. On defense he has posted 15 tackles and 11 pass break ups.

Alabama, Florida, Florida State, LSU, and Miami are showing early interest and the Muck-area star was in Tallahassee last weekend for the Florida State-Oklahoma game. He is planning to attend the Alabama-Florida game in Gainesville next Saturday.

The speedy cover corner told ESPNHS, “Alabama is really recruiting me hard. I attended Florida’s Friday Night Lights camp and they are up there too. Miami is a good school, I just have to wait and see what the NCAA does.”

Florida State is his childhood favorite and the ‘Noles are in the mix as well. Look for this to be in-state battle, but don’t count out a SEC power to land this talented two-way prospect. – Kynon Codrington

RB Dontre Wilson, DeSoto (DeSoto, Texas)

DeSoto has a long tradition of producing college stars and even NFL players, particularly at the running back position with Byron Hanspard and more recently Cyrus Gray (Texas A&M), Marcus Murphy (Missouri) and Antoine Jimmerson (North Texas). The next in line for the Eagles, who currently sit at No. 31 in the FAB 50, could be junior scatback Dontre Wilson.

Wilson, a 5-10, 170 pounder, ran for 555 yards and scored 18 touchdowns last fall as a sophomore, and is off to a solid start this fall despite seeing limited time in a few contests for the 4-0 Eagles due to blowouts. So far he’s rushed for 258 yards and a team-best six touchdowns, including a 16-carry, 148-yard, two-touchdown performance against state power Cedar Hill (Cedar Hill, Texas).

“There is a lot of interest out there in Dontre right now,” DeSoto coach Claude Mathis told ESPNHS Wednesday.

“Off the top of my head he’s been offered already by almost every top 15 program out there – Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Notre Dame, Clemson and a bunch more.

“He’s comparable to Marcus (Murphy) in size but is both faster and quicker.”

Two Eagles in the Class of 2012, Bryson Echols and Curtis Riser, ended their recruitments early this spring by committing to Texas shortly after they were extended offers. Mathis thinks Wilson will play it out longer than his teammates, particularly in light of all the out-of-state interest from programs that he really hasn’t gotten a chance to learn much about at this early stage. - Brian Stumpf