The best plays, the best recruits in college football this week

Before taking the field as college football players on Saturday, some of the top 2023 and 2024 ESPN 300 recruits are playing under the lights on weekdays.

Los Alamitos High School (Calif.) linebacker and USC tackle Malachi Nelson exploded for the California prep powerhouse’s seventh straight victory Thursday.

Nelson, the No. 1 overall player in the 2023 ESPN 300, accounted for six touchdowns (five passing) at Fountain Valley High School (Calif.) 68-0.

Dante Moore (No. 3 overall in 2023, No. 3 QB-PP), headed to Oregon, threw three touchdowns during Martin Luther King (Michigan) High School 41-28 win over River Rouge High School (Michigan) on Friday.

Here’s how some of the other top recruits in the country looked this week.

No shoe, no problem

Hykeem Williams didn’t let losing his left shoe deter him en route to this 80-yard catch-and-run reception to the house Friday night for Stranahan (Florida) High School against Cardinal Gibbons (Florida) High School.

Florida’s Williams is 24th overall in the 2023 ESPN 300 and the third-best receiver this cycle.

Simmons attacks

Colin Simmons (No. 8 overall in 2024, No. 1 DE) is an emerging force on the defensive line.

A Duncanville High School (Texas) defensive end wreaked havoc in the red zone in the first quarter against DeSoto (Texas) High School on Friday.

The junior has offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Michigan and Ohio State and visited TCU on Oct. 15 for a game against Oklahoma State.

The merchant triumphs

Joshisa Trader is one of two highly touted junior wide receivers for Chaminade-Madonna Prep School (Florida).

Trader (No. 2 overall in 2024) is the top receiver in the junior class and holds offers from Miami, Ohio State, Alabama, Florida, Florida State and Georgia among 30 offers.

He recorded his only catch on Thursday against St. John Paul II Academy (Florida) in a 63-0 victory.

On the year, Trader has 24 receptions for 424 yards and four touchdowns.

Smith’s speed

Jeremiah Smith is a very skilled wide receiver in his own right with 40 offers (Miami, Ohio State, Alabama, USC).

Between him and Trader, Chaminade-Madonna Prep’s opponents have plenty to do on the outside and in the slot.

Smith (No. 12 overall in 2024, No. 2 WR) caught three passes for 80 yards and a touchdown Thursday in a 63-0 win over St. John Paul Academy.

Smith, who plans to visit Auburn in November, has 31 catches for 608 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.

Williams Jr. puts them into a spin cycle

Basha High School (Arizona) quarterback Demond Williams Jr. missed several Chandler High School (Arizona) tacklers during that long trip down the field Friday night.

Williams (No. 169 overall in 2024, No. 7 QB-PP) went to Ole Miss on an unofficial visit on Oct. 15 and holds offers from Ole Miss, UCLA, Oregon, Michigan State and Auburn.

In seven games, he threw for 1,384 yards and 16 touchdowns with just one interception while running for 305 yards and two scores.

A pair of four-star juniors recap Penn State visits

Louis wide receiver Ryan Wingo (No. 23 overall in 2024, No. 4 WR) and Youngstown, Ohio, defensive end Brian Robinson (No. 51 overall in 2024) were among the recruits who saw Penn State beat last week Minnesota.

“The white was like nothing I’ve ever seen,” Robinson wrote in a text to ESPN. “And I love Coach [James] Franklin’s Family Values.”

Robinson will also attend the Ohio State-Penn State game on Saturday.

Wingo echoed some of Robinson’s same sentiments about the Penn State experience.

“The fans there were crazy,” he said in a text to ESPN.

Both Wingo (35 receptions for 670 yards and 11 touchdowns in nine games) and Robinson (58 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 15 TFL in eight games) will be in Ann Arbor for the Michigan-Michigan State game.

The four-star junior defensive tackle will receive an Alabama offer, preparing to visit Michigan

Justin Scott (No. 34 overall in 2024, No. 2 DT) received an offer from Alabama on Oct. 21 — his Oct. 25.

After visits to Ohio State (Oct. 1) and Miami (Oct. 8), junior prep St. Louis will be in Ann Arbor on Saturday. Ignatius College Prep (Illinois). The Wolverines offered Scott back in March, and he welcomes the opportunity to see what Jim Harbaugh’s program is all about.

“Seeing the campus and meeting the coaching staff for the first time,” Scott wrote to ESPN.

Four-star junior safety list

Jaylen Heyward of Rockledge High School (Florida) is the second-best safety in the junior class, according to ESPN’s rankings.

Heyward (No. 44 overall in 2024), who has 25 tackles and three interceptions in seven games, whittled his list down to the final six on Friday: Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Florida, Tennessee and Michigan.

He recently took unofficial visits to Ohio State (Oct. 1) and Georgia (Oct. 8) following Florida’s win over Utah on Sept. 3.

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