Back to football: Here are some early Super 11 picks

VOTE ON IT: Which of Todd’s early Super 11s would make YOUR list? SEE OUR PHOTOS

The AJC won’t be selecting its annual football Super 11 team of high school seniors until late summer. But discussion begins today with you.

I’m going to throw out 11 names. I haven’t studied how all these guys are being recruited. Our Michael Carvell is the expert about that. I just follow high school football. That doesn’t mean I haven’t heard a few things about recruiting. But my picks might more influenced by the players I’ve seen or been told about by high school fans and coaches.

Tell me what you think about these 11. Who would you pick?

RB Ean Pemberton, Grayson: He won’t be a big recruit because he’s not, well, big. He’s 5-3. Pemberton rushed for close to 2,000 yards last season. Should a super high school player be Super 11 if he’s not a big-time recruit?

OL JaWuan James, North Gwinnett: James is almost the opposite of Pemberton. Good high school player, but not the best player on his team last season. Probably not the best lineman on his team. But he’s a HUGE college prospect. He’s 6-6 and has offers from Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tech and about 20 other schools. Should a super recruit be Super 11 if he’s not yet one of the 11 best players in Georgia?

QB Hutson Mason, Lassiter: Mason threw for 3,705 yards last season, five short of the state record. He reportedly has an offer from Iowa, but he lacks prototype QB size. Which means he might not make Super 11 for that reason.

RB Martez Eastland, Ringgold: I’ve seen him on tape only. Major sleeper. Eastland (6-foot, 230 pounds) rushed for 1,621 yards on 211 carries. Son of former Auburn star Donnie Humphrey.

WR Markeith Ambles, Henry County: Caught 40 passes last season for about 750 yards. Returned four kicks for TDs. I saw him play. Definitely a D-1 receiver. Not sure I like him as much as his WR teammate last season, Jamal Patterson.

DL Jeffrey Whitaker, Warner Robins: Generally considered the top defensive lineman in Georgia. Several D-1A offers already. Never seen him play.

DB Alec Ogletree, Newnan: Blocked six kicks last season. That’s a show of athleticism. Also an outstanding basketball player. Had 75 tackles on a 12-1 team. I’ve seen him in two sports. Virtual lock for Super, I’d think.

OL Ed Christian, Lowndes: Top lineman on a team that rushed for 3,600 yards last season. I’ve seen him, and he’s special. Should’ve been first-team all-state but wasn’t primarily because he was a junior.

RB Mack Brown, M.L. King: Rushed for 1,660 yards and 21 touchdowns on 177 carries last season. Probably the state’s top running back prospect.

WR Tai-Ler Jones, Gainesville: Jones caught 81 passes for 979 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. Also a good punter – 43.8 yards per punt. A ton of big-name offers.

QB Connor Shaw, Flowery Branch: Passed for 2,146 yards and 22 touchdowns. Also rushed for 929 yards. His team was the Class AAA runner-up. Big brother plays at Tech.

VOTE ON IT: Which of Todd’s early Super 11s would make YOUR list? SEE OUR PHOTOS

98 comments Add your comment

former redan park coach

March 23rd, 2009
2:54 am

Garrison Glass DT Booker T> Washington High School , TOP DT in Metro Atlanta 83 tackles 4 sacks,8 stops in backfield sleeper that should be considered for super 11


March 23rd, 2009
6:15 am

don’t forget about Walton’s Brandon Burrows! He’s ridiculously good and maybe the best athlete to come through the school, ever…

Football Buff

March 23rd, 2009
7:10 am

Garrison Smith #56 from Douglass HS (Atlanta,Ga) is the best DL in the country! If he does not make the Super 11 the whole poll should be shut down. Smith’s offers,grades and field play says everything ask any major college in the country start with every SEC university.

Grayson Fan

March 23rd, 2009
7:57 am

Ean may not be a top recruit because of his size, but I would consider him one of best backs in Ga.

John Goode

March 23rd, 2009
8:42 am

Zach Amey from Creekside is an excellent football player, I would consider him one the best in the state. RB/LB/KR.


March 23rd, 2009
9:08 am

Hutson mason is a good quarterback, but not a BCS conference quarterback. He lacks size and arm strength and his numbers are more influenced by the spread passing attack(Similar to Texas Tech).


March 23rd, 2009
9:14 am

It would be a shame if they allow size to prevent pemberton from getting it. Remember his is 5′5 150pounds and rushed for 2000 thousands yards in AAAAA football impressive. That alone should get him it.


March 23rd, 2009
9:17 am

Isaiah Johnson – Safety – Sandy Creek – 7 ints and 55 tackles and 6 PBU’s


March 23rd, 2009
9:20 am

Terrell Brigham (ATH)from Burke County. Passed for 1700 and Rushed for 1100. Saftey at the next level. Hidden in the rural town of Waynesboro, Georgia. CSRA Player of year and All-State Honorable Mention.


March 23rd, 2009
12:19 pm

I agree sanders,cornelius, and thornton are some good players.

Chris natsch

March 23rd, 2009
1:10 pm

Football Fan

March 23rd, 2009
1:19 pm

I would say Ean Pemberton is an excellent player, I would consider him one of the best back. And it would be a shame if his size prevent him from getting it.

mike jones

March 23rd, 2009
1:34 pm

They didnt even mention Mack Brown of MLK and there’s an up and coming quarterback by the name of Miles Gooch at Towers. He’s 6′3″ 205lbs and is a beast.


March 23rd, 2009
2:03 pm

Devin Scott from TUCKER HIGH has to be one of the best i’ve ever seen. His only drawback is his size and ask those defenders he blazes through, how much that hurts him. I’m sure they wish they had a bigger target. Devin Scott. Dont sleep on him.

wolverine fan

March 23rd, 2009
2:04 pm

Corey Carmichael…….Woodstock LB..Killer


March 23rd, 2009
2:52 pm

Burrows, Gilbert, and Woestmann from Walton. All have D-1 offers

Nole Supporter

March 23rd, 2009
3:29 pm

Zach Amey, Creekside 135 tackles, 800 plus yards rushing and 15 touchdowns as a Junior. One of the best in the state by far!!!!

Georgia Football Fan

March 23rd, 2009
3:56 pm

Shawn Green, DT Grayson should definitely be on this list as well.


March 23rd, 2009
4:19 pm

You guys better stop putting all these Metro area kids in the Super 11, and neglecting the rest of the state. If that’s the case it should just be call the Atlanta Metro Super 11. The Macon Telegraph should have their own. Also what ever newspaper is dominant further south than Macon should have their own. The best players in the State aren’t represented on this pre Super 11.

Avid Reader

March 23rd, 2009
4:39 pm

I saw 5 with my own eyes – James, Pemberton, Hutson, Brown and Ogletree. The one to keep on the radar is Ogletree. He’s as punishing a safety as you will see in high school football and probably the early front-runner for metro player of the year with Brown a close second. If you are taking suggestions, former Buford running back Storm Johnson should be on this list. He was in line to be the next Wolves back to sign a major scholarship…any word on why he left? Cole Moon (St. Pius X) is another one to keep your eye on.


March 23rd, 2009
4:48 pm

Hutson Mason is loosing his offensive line and several of his talented receivers at Lassiter. The jury is out!

Grayson Student

March 23rd, 2009
4:57 pm

While this isnt likely I would like to see pemberton, green, and terry williams at inside linebacker get it all from grayson. they are 3 very good players

Gwinnett Fan

March 23rd, 2009
5:00 pm

Grayson has several that could be added to this list along with Green and Pemberton, J Champaign and T.Williams

The Robot Nesbitt

March 23rd, 2009
5:17 pm

Todd: The Robot Nesbitt has concluded that players should not be selected for the Super 11 based on status as a prospect. The selection process must be based on performance at the high school level. The top prospects will have their recongition on recruiting sites and programs. The top PLAYERS, not just prospects, deserve attention too.

Please confirm. Thank you.

Robot out.


March 23rd, 2009
5:23 pm



March 23rd, 2009
7:22 pm

Ean Pemberton is not the same height he was his sophmore year. As of now he is 5′5 150. Dont let size fool you. Let me remind you, he also won the weight lifting competition at Peachtree Ridge Highschool for his weight class.


March 23rd, 2009
8:15 pm

David Cooper (LB) Brookwood highschool and Charles Perkins (LB) Collins hill………both commited to Georgia Tech


March 23rd, 2009
8:22 pm

Just because guys have offers from big school, does that make them a super 11, or does their contributions to their team and stats take care of that.


March 23rd, 2009
9:32 pm

Any chance of some baseball coverage; football and basketball are over in case the ajc didn’t realize it.


March 24th, 2009
1:59 am

I have saidthis for years. I agree with previous Blogger in that the sports staff of AJC needs to stop saying super 11 as to imply it is all over the state of Georgia; because it is not! Todd this should be renamed to Atlanta area super 11… just can make as many AAAAAAAAA schools have as many super,super super, elite members as you so desire…and the REST of the state can do likewise……….THIS would make it FAIR!!!!


March 24th, 2009
8:01 am

Henry High is not the only school in the county. Check out Ola High School. Two great prospects, Dylan Leonard, OL, 6′4, 290 lbs. with a 4.6 GPA, also TE Dylan Thompson, 6′3″, 220 lbs. Both are being looked at by several D-1 schools including Vandy and Georgia Tech.

Chris Whitfield

March 24th, 2009
9:49 am

Ahhhhh, let the Metro vs. the rest of the State debate begin and it isn’t even April. There are only five players that I would consider METRO on this list. Some of you act like we have never heard of Valdosta or Lowndes or Statesboro or Camden County. While I love the whole North-South, metro-everywhere else debate as much as the next guy, be honest and recognize that there are a lot more schools in the metro area than anywhere else in the state so a good number of anyone’s top list for the state is going to include metro players. It’s like what Jimmy the Greek said way back in the day. You might not like to hear it, but it is the truth. And this is coming from a guy who grew up in Savannah (I think I can name all of the All-State players from that area for the last 10 years on two hands) and worked at South and Middle Georgia papers for most of my career. Todd can probably back this up with more numbers, but if you look at percentage of schools in the metro area versus percentage of schools everywhere else, the number of Super 11 picks follows the numbers. Newnan, Ringgold, Warner Robins, Gainesville and Lowndes are not Metro. Henry is on the fringes, as is Flowery Branch. You might can make an argument, but even then five of the 11 are definitely outside of metro.

Todd Holcomb

March 24th, 2009
10:43 am

Good comments so far. …

My thoughts on some of them:

Metro bias – It’s a myth. I thought Chris summed that up well. Most of these guys are not metro. Flowery Branch is not really metro.

Also, I just looked at the past five years of Super 11 teams. Only once, in 2006, were most of the Super 11 from metro Atlanta. There were six that year. In 2008, 2007, 2005 and 2004, there were more Super 11 outside of metro Atlanta than in. In 2004, there was only one metro Atlanta player in the Super 11.

OK, here are my Super 11 comments:

1 – Football season is never over in Georgia.

2 – If you don’t have an offer yet, you are not likely to be a Super 11 player. So ”being looked at by several D-1 schools” is nice, but not usually Super 11 material.

3- Responding to “Just because guys have offers from big school, does that make them a super 11, or does their contributions to their team and stats take care of that.” … To be a Super 11, I believe you need to be both a great prospect and a great player. Those who are one but not the other are not likely to make it. Good example last year was Mikey Tamburro. First-team all state QB, but no BCS offers. He didn’t make Super 11. Another case: Jonathan Davis. Awesome player with a few but not many BCS offers. He made it. But we debated that one long and hard.

4 – Thanks for the updates on Ean Pemberton. You can’t help but love that player. But here’s my guess: He will have a tough time making Super 11. But he’s got a shot.

5 – Stephen Hill. Who knows how good he’ll be. But he won’t be a Super 11 unless he’s got a fifth year of eligibility. I liked watching him in basketball.

6 – “The best players in the State aren’t represented on this pre Super 11.” You might be right. Let’s hear yours. How many players south of Macon have D-1 offers?

7 – “The Robot Nesbitt has concluded that players should not be selected for the Super 11 based on status as a prospect.” See #3.

8 – Garrison Smith, Douglass. Almost picked him. He’s got a good shot to make the final cut.

9 – Terrell Brigham, Burke County. Almost picked him too. Not sure what kind of prospect he’s going to be.

10 – Hutson Mason, Lassiter. Someone implied above that, while Mason is very good, he is a bit of a system QB and benefited a lot from a good line and receivers (i.e., Lutzenkirchen). Interesting debate. Mason was not the AJC’s first-team all state QB in AAAAA despite superior statistics mainly because we thought Mike Tamburro was a little better, despite what the numbers say. Are you saying that was a good call? I’ll be interested to see how Hutson does this year. I think he’ll do well, but won’t replicate those 2008 numbers. Hope I’m wrong, as I loved seeing Lassiter make a run last year.

11 – Brandon Burrows, Walton. What’s the deal on him? He’s got an offer at UGA as a RB, but he didn’t start last season, at least not at RB.


March 24th, 2009
11:22 am

What is the criterior for being a super 11. Because if you take pemberton from grayson they won’t when 4 games. The value this kid brings to his school and county is out of this world and he should be rewarded for that. The kid is small with a big heart. And just in case you forgot he out played greg reid when they met head to head. Oh didn’t he get player of the year.

Football Buff

March 24th, 2009
11:39 am

Todd why almost on Garrison Smith he is the best Defensive Lineman in the country. Garrison has everything you describe in your post. The kid is more than a prospect he is a Great! player and most of his offers 30 + are from BCS programs and all D-1A. How much more does the kid need on his resume? Picking Smith as a Super 11 should have no thought it should be automatic. Smith has qualified and he is an honor student. At 6′3 260 4.5 forty plays DT & DE I think he is the pick of the litter.


March 24th, 2009
11:48 am

Ed Christian is a great choice to be in the super 11. He has already said he will be going to FSU with Greg Reid and Gerald Demps to play football when he graduates next spring.


March 24th, 2009
11:53 am

DaRick Rogers. You better get on the band wagon. He is a 6′2″ 205 lb. Wide Receiver from Calhoun High School. He runs a 4.45 40 all day long and has a Vertical of 38″. Hide and watch. LSU, UGA, Florida, Purdue, along with a few more, have all offered.


March 24th, 2009
12:07 pm

This is funny. Good thing South Ga has such great coaches because obviously they don’t have the athletes. You AJC folks are so ignorant to football as a whole in Ga.

Todd Holcomb

March 24th, 2009
12:37 pm

Back to the South Georgia debate.

Rivals has 16 players rated 3-star or above so far. Scout has 14. None of those are from south of Warner Robins.

These early ratings are largely based on offers that these players have received.

Why are Rivals and Scout not rating any South Georgia players? Why are more South Georgia players this year not getting more big-time early offers?

Is it metro bias?

Now before someone reads this post out of context, be aware that I am defending my 11 choices, of whom only one is from south of Warner Robins. South Georgia football is awesome. I’m not debating that. But I do think that some fans of South Georgia football feel entitled to having at least three South Georgia football players on any Super 11 team. It doesn’t always work that way.

And finally, my list isn’t what I’d nominate as my Super 11. It’s just a mix of prospects and great players that will initiate the debate. The Douglass DT Garrison Smith should be on there. I agree.


March 24th, 2009
1:03 pm

Hutson Mason hands down is a Super 11 tallent. I don’t care if you think he is a system QB or not the kid passed for 3700 yards and nearly 30 TD’s that is unheard of! More important he did it against good competition (they played 4 teams ranked in the top 10 AAAAA, one in AAAA). Hutson is not “under sized” as stated above, he is 6′3″ and just under 190 lbs He has a great arm and can make all the throws you want by a D-1 QB. I have been fortunate to see other QB’s for the last 35 years in the south and Georgia. I know what a D-1 QB looks and plays like! He’s got it. As far as performance, when faced head to head he has held his own or out performed all comers including Mikey Tamburo,Connor Shaw (see 7on7 tournament 2008). Lassiter had a good team last year, not great. They had numerous weaknesses(speed back,WR) but a well rounded team. Hutson was able to lead them to the 2nd round of the GA State AAAAA playoff. It would be even more spectacular if Lassiter had a bonified D-1 speedster at RB or WR. Lutz did make it easier for Hutson due to his tremendous tallent but defenses can key on one man. Iowa has offered and Purdue is close as is E. Carolina, and NC State. Anyone who thinks this kid is not D-1 or still questions his ablilities either did not see him, saw him only one time or has some personal thing going. He is doing more with less than any other QB I know.


March 24th, 2009
1:29 pm

I think AJC should look at three thing when picking SUPER 11 players. #1 CORE GRADE POINT AVERAGE #2 D1 OFFERS #3 Resume on and off the field. SUPER 11 PLAYERS shouldn’t just be athletes. They should be student-athletes. Grades should be the first thing you look for, because in the past too many SUPER 11 PLAYERS didn’t have the grades. A athletes should already be qualified to play at the next level. The SUPER 11 PICK SHOULD BE STUDENT-ATHLETE HONOR.


March 24th, 2009
2:25 pm

Hutson Mason will not replicate his numbers from last year. If he gets 2500 yards and 20 or so touchdowns this year he’s good but he does benefit from a spread pass attack that really doesn’t require great arm strength which fits him well because he lollipops throws 30+ yards. His strength is his accuracy and his recievers help him a lot.

Todd Holcomb

March 24th, 2009
3:19 pm

Surprised no comment on Blake Sims of Gainesville. In retro, I wish I’d picked him instead of Connor Shaw. Shaw is fine, but Sims threw for 2,785 yards and also ran for 1,000 last year. Didn’t realize until today he had an offer from UGA.

True Blue: I think you make good points. We need to research better and find out the risky recruits. In retrospect, Eric Fields was a mistake last year for Super 11. He didn’t qualify. But what about a guy like Greg Reid? He was probably the best player in the state. There was some academic concern about him, but had we left him off, that would’ve been an even bigger mistake given the season he had both on the field and in the national limelight, signing w/ FSU. Same with Jonathan Davis, IMO. Tough issue. Glad you brought it up.


March 24th, 2009
4:06 pm

If you honestly can say Hutson Mason does not have arm strength, then you have never seen him play. Ya the Trojans throw the ball a lot but we would be saying that about connor shaw if he was in that offense. Whoever said Hutson was undersized must have there info wrong i have seen this kid play, but all though i have never met him he has the size and arm strength to throw any pass. lollipop passes… haha someone doesn’t get out on friday nights


March 24th, 2009
7:24 pm

I’ll go for Storm Johnson, big strong fast RB. Didn’t carry alot of ball for Buford, but still rushed for 1300 yards and 21 TD’s. Saw his videos on scout and rivals. This kid can really carry the mail. Has alot of offers from several BCS schools. Loganville will be on the map with Storm running from that I.

bee shabazz

March 24th, 2009
9:32 pm

Georgia high school football is good, SOUTH FLORIDA high school football is better! Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.Speed, speed, and more speed and THANK GOD nobody down there runs that GODAWFUL WING-T OFFENSE!


March 24th, 2009
10:06 pm

What about Garrison Smith and David Yankey!!!


March 24th, 2009
10:54 pm

Storm Johnson a must, kid is amazing with strength, speed and vision. He will put up crazy numbers at Loganville..Already has major offers from the big time SEC programs.

ATL Dawg

March 24th, 2009
11:27 pm

How can you leave out A. Ogletree from Newnan. He is a speciman and will be one the highest recruited players in the nation. He is scary good.


March 24th, 2009
11:35 pm

Lowndes had Super 11 and player of the year last year and did not win state.
I prefer the non super 11 player years when we did win state. Super 11 is pretty good
but state championships is where it is at! ps-I think the super 11 should be made
up of 11 ball players from Grayson and Pemberton should be player of the year.