Practice opens in North Carolina Monday

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High school football fans in North Carolina, the 2017 season arrives Monday with the opening of camps across the state.  The first games will be played August 17.

Defending Class 4AA champ Wake Forest enters the season as the highest ranked team in the High School Football America Preseason Top 100 that is created with our proprietary algorithm.  The Cougars, who won their first state title in four tries and are coming-off a perfect 16-0 season, are ranked No. 62 in our national rankings.

Related: Final 2016 High School Football America North Carolina Top 10

Wake Forest is led by senior running back Devon Lawrence, who is the little brother of Dexter Lawrence of Clemson, who won the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year award last season.  Dex led Wake Forest to state championship game appearances in 2013 and 2014.

As a junior Devon rushed for over 1,549 yards with 25 touchdowns, including two in the Cougars’ 29-0 championship game win over Page.  Lawrence, who is considered a 3-star college prospect, is ranked as the No. 16 overall recruit in the state by 247Sports’ composite rankings.

Lawrence has 11 offers right now, including one from Clemson.  Any guess, which school has the inside track on Dex’s little brother?

On defense, Wake Forest will be led senior safety Javon Terry, who has given his verbal to North Carolina.

Shelby is looking for a 5-peat this year.  The Golden Lions, who now own nine overall state titles, will be tested September 22 when they travel to South Carolina to take-on three-time defending state champs South Pointe, ranked No. 24 in the High School Football America Preseason Top 100.

Shelby’s top player is inside linebacker Dax Hollifield, who has 20 college offers.  The 4-star prospect is the state No. 5 overall recruit, according to 247Sports.  He’s also the nation’s fifth best ILB.

Shelby is the fourth school in North Carolina to win four straight championships.

Finally, all eyes are on the nation’s No. 1 running back Zamir White of Scotland County.  The Georgia-recruit, who is the No. 6 overall prospect in the 247Sports composite, has averaged over 8.5 yards per carry during his career while rushing for over 5,000 yards with 89 touchdowns.

One game to circle on the calendar will be the season opener on August 17 between Scotland County and Mallard Creek.  Scotland County is coming-off a 14-1 season, losing to eventual 4A runner-up Cape Fear in the state semis.  Last season, Mallard Creek finished 9-3, missing the 4AA championship game for the first time since 2013.  The Mavericks won three straight state titles from 2013-2015.

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.