Best plays, highlights by top college football recruits this week

Before they take the field as college football players on Saturdays, some of the top recruits in the 2023 ESPN 300 and 2024 ESPN 300 are playing underneath the lights on weeknights.

Nine days after decommitting from Auburn, Central High School (Phenix City, Alabama) wide receiver Karmello English (No. 71, No. 15 WR) caught a pair of touchdowns in a 41-26 loss to IMG Academy on Friday.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound English had committed to Bryan Harsin and the Tigers back on July 4, only to reopen his recruitment a day before Adam Hopkins (No. 67 overall, No. 14 WR) pledged to play on the Plains on Sept. 15.

Hopkins had a pair of touchdown receptions on Friday in Thomas County Central High School's (Georgia) 48-13 victory over Godby High School (Florida). Hopkins (No. 67, No. 14 WR), 5-11 and 175 pounds, chose Auburn less than a week after going on his official visit there (Sept. 10).

Elsewhere, Arch Manning (No. 2) and Isidore Newman School (Louisiana) suffered its first loss of the season on Friday to USC-bound linebacker Tackett Curtis (No. 75) and Many High School (Louisiana), despite Manning tossing two touchdown passes.

Here's how some other of the nation's top recruits looked on Friday night.

Quintessential Quinton

Quinton Martin displayed some of the explosiveness on Friday that should have him rising up recruiting boards.

Martin's 96-yard punt return for a touchdown helped Belle Vernon High School (Pennsylvania) record a 21-7 victory over Thomas Jefferson High School (Pennsylvania).

The 6-3, 195-pound Martin is 26th on the 2024 Junior 300 and is the third-best athlete in the 2024 cycle, according to ESPN's rankings. He has taken unofficial visits to Michigan, Penn State, West Virginia, Virginia, Florida State, Ohio State and Virginia Tech.

Bradford balls out

Jayden Bradford connected with Carnell Tate for a 43-yard reception on third down that Tate took to the house in the second quarter of IMG's 41-26 win over Central High School (Phenix City, Alabama) on Friday.

The 6-1, 190-pound Bradford is the No. 41 overall prospect in the 2024 class and the fourth-ranked QB in the class. He recently took an unofficial visit to South Carolina last weekend for the Gamecocks' game against Georgia.

That trip followed trips to Texas, NC State and Louisville in June and Penn State in July.

Tate (No. 231, No. 26 WR), at 6-2, 185 pounds, has been committed since June 20 as part of Ohio State's studded wide receiver haul for 2023.

Capers cracks down

T.J. Capers is the top-ranked outside linebacker in the 2024 class.

And during Columbus High School's (Florida) 23-19 victory over Miami Northwestern High School (Florida) on Thursday, the 6-3, 230-pound Capers showed why with this tackle.

Capers, who's ranked 11th overall in 2024, had six tackles and a sack in the Explorers' victory on Thursday. Two weeks after taking a trip to Miami, he's on an unofficial visit to Michigan State this weekend -- his second time up in East Lansing since July 30.

Another week, another return

Peyton Bowen is the highest ranked recruit for a Notre Dame class that currently sits second in ESPN's class rankings, only behind Alabama.

The 6-foot, 185-pound Bowen, ranked No. 30 overall, is the third-ranked safety in the 2023 cycle.

In a 49-21 victory Friday for John Guyer High School (Texas) over Little Elm High School (Texas), he continued to show his versatility courtesy of a punt return for a touchdown.

Dowdell dazzles

Dante Dowdell had a huge night for Picayune Memorial High School (Mississippi) in a 49-7 victory over Pearl River Central High School (Mississippi) on Friday.

He ran for 228 yards and three scores on just nine carries in the blowout win. Dowdell (No. 183) is the No. 8 running back in the class of 2023 and the fifth-best prospect in Dan Lanning's haul, which sits 13th in ESPN's rankings. Dowdell is the Ducks' first top 10 running back since Seven McGee (No. 134, No. 8 RB) signed in 2021.

Other Notables

  • Jadyn Davis (No. 38), the fourth-best dual-threat quarterback in the 2024 class, threw for five touchdown passes in Providence Day High School's 42-0 shutout of Christ High School (North Carolina) on Friday.

  • Michael Van Buren (No. 52) is the third-ranked pocket passer in the 2024 cycle and threw a pair of touchdown passes in St. Frances Academy's (Maryland) 26-7 victory over Dutch Fork High School (South Carolina) -- snapping Dutch Fork's 43-game regular season winning streak.

  • Taylor Tatum, who sits 98th overall in the 2024 Junior 300, is the sixth-best running back in his class and ran for 187 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries in Longview High School's (Texas) 21-13 victory over Lancaster High School (Texas).