Note: The AJC’’s Michael Carvell will be blogging live from “Sims vs. Shaw” at Flowery Branch on Friday night. Please join us here on ajc.com
Two of the nation’s top high school quarterbacks will be on the same field in Georgia on Friday.
It’s Gainesville’s Blake Sims (committed to Alabama) vs. Flowery Branch’s Connor Shaw (South Carolina). Gainesville is ranked No. 1 in Class AAA, while Flowery Branch was last year’s state runner-up.
How rare is this QB showdown between Sims vs. Shaw? “I was talking to an old friend who used to recruit for Ohio State,” Gainesville coach Bruce Miller said. “He said he’d go through entire states without seeing a major-college quarterback … and to see two of them from the same county (Hall County) in the same game is something special.”
Here’s the tale of the tape between the QBs:
> Size: Sims had a growth spurt over the summer and stands at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, while Shaw has a nice frame at 6-2, 200. Both will have to add muscle before playing in the SEC. Advantage: None.
> Statistics: Sims has passed for 1,402 yards and rushed for 449 yards, while scoring 31 total TDs. Shaw has 2,016 yards passing and 584 yards rushing, along with 37 TDs. Advantage: None.
> Accuracy: Both have only three interceptions. Sims has completed 62-percent of his passes, while Shaw — clearly the biggest improvement of his game since last year — is at an astounding 73-percent. Advantage: Shaw.
> Speed: Sims can score from anywhere on the field with his legs, even returning a punt for TD. Sims averages 7.7 yards on QB keepers. Shaw has deceptive speed, and his “dual threat” athleticism is revered by Steve Spurrier. Advantage: Sims
> Style: Both play in spread offenses and can scramble, which causes major problems for defensive secondaries. When rolling out, Sims is often encouraged by his coach to run — if there’s space, while Shaw tends to wait a little longer for WRs to get open. Advantage: None.
> Clutch: Sims hasn’t been tested yet, rarely playing after halftime, as Gainesville has won by an average of 42 points. Shaw threw the game-winning TD pass on the last play of the game vs. West Forsyth. Advantage: Shaw.
> Castmates: Sims has WR Tai-Ler Jones (Notre Dame), and if not the state’s best defense, then perhaps the No. 1 LB duo with A.J. Johnson (Tennessee) and Thomas Sprague. Shaw has sophomore RB Imani Cross (976 yards rushing). Advantage: Sims
Who is your pick for Georgia’s top QB? Gainesville’s Blake Sims? Flowery Branch’s Connor Shaw? Lassiter’s Hutson Mason? North Gwinnett’s C.J. Uzomah? Who else you would throw in there? Please make your choice below.