By Robert Wilson
Greenville Christian senior quarterback D.J. Smith will go into this week’s game against the No. 7 team in the country as the nation’s leader in total offense.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Smith has 1,525 yards – an average of 508.3 yards per game – in defending MAIS Class 3A Greenville Christian’s wins over defending MAIS Class 6A state champion Madison-Ridgeland Academy, MAIS 6A Jackson Prep and MHSAA Class 2A Riverside.
Now, Greenville Christian puts it 14-game winning streak on the line against 2020 Georgia public school Class 7A runner-up Collins Hill High, which is ranked No. 7 in the nation by MaxPreps, and has the nation’s No. 1 player – senior wide receiver-cornerback and Florida State commitment Travis Hunter. Hunter started off his senior year with a 13-catch, 232-yard, 2-touchdown performance in a season-opening, 36-10 victory over Brookwood, Ga., High. Collins Hill received a forfeit win over Sprayberry, Ga., High last week. Collins Hill, located Suwanee, Ga., finished 12-3 last season. Two of Collins Hill’s losses were to Grayson, which finished ranked No. 4 in USA Today’s Super 25 final national poll. Grayson defeated Collins Hill 38-14 for the 7A state title.
The game is one of three in the Atlanta Freedom Bowl this weekend at Milton High in Alpharetta, Ga. Greenville Christian and Collins Hill are scheduled to play Friday at 6:30 p.m. Central.
“We are looking forward to playing against one of the best teams in the country and representing Mississippi,” Greenville Christian coach Jon Reed McLendon said. “We are going to go over there and do our best.
“The way we got involved in this was one of our assistant coaches, Justin Leavy, played wide receiver at Delta State and was doing a regional combine for the NFL and his representative’s son goes to Milton and got us in touch with the Freedom Bowl. I’m glad it worked out so we could play.”
Smith ranks third in the nation with 915 passing yards and is tied for first in scoring with 66 points. He ran for 227 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 145 yards and one TD and played only 2 ½ quarters in last week’s 41-0 victory over Riverside. Smith threw for 589 yards against Prep – 4 yards short of the MAIS record set by MRA’s Philip Short against Prep in the 2019 state championship game.
Senior wide receiver and Yazoo City High transfer Chris Bell, a Southern Miss commit, leads Greenville Christian in receiving with 14 catches for 357 yards and six TDs and has one TD on a punt return. Senior defensive back J Elam, a Mississippi State commit, has four interceptions and has one TD on a punt return.