The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Associated Press announced their all-state teams on Christmas Day. This week, GHSF Daily will go through each classification, one per day, and look at some of the choices and provide some insight on how these teams are chosen.
The AJC’s all-state team was picked this year by GHSF Daily. Todd Holcomb, a former AJC sports writer, has coordinated the selection of the AJC’s team the past three years. The AP team is chosen by a panel of Georgia sports writers.
Here are players who made first-team all-state in Class AAAA:
Coach of the Year: Chip Walker, Sandy Creek (AP, AJC)
Player of the year: Rajion Neal, Sandy Creek (AP)
Player of the year: Storm Johnson, Loganville (AJC)
QB: Ronnie Bell, Sandy Creek (AP)
QB: Jerick McKinnon, Sprayberry (AJC)
RB: Rajion Neal, Sandy Creek (AP, AJC)
RB: Storm Johnson, Loganville (AP, AJC)
WR: Dimitri Holmes, Clarke Central (AP, AJC)
WR: Chris Conley, North Paulding (AP)
WR: Ronald Carswell, Westside (AJC)
TE: Logan Winkles, Upson-Lee (AP, AJC)
OL: Morgan Bailey, Loganville, (AP, AJC)
OL: Watts Dantzler, Dalton, (AP, AJC)
OL: Tim Wynn, Mays, (AP, AJC)
OL: Shaun Hill, Apalachee (AP)
OL: Alan Posey, Clarke Central (AP)
OL: Charles Emert, Statesboro (AJC)
OL: Kasey Morrison, Forsyth Central (AJC)
K: Justin Moore, Marist (AP, AJC)
Player of the year: Isaiah Johnson, Sandy Creek (AP)
Player of the year: T.J. Stripling, Southwest DeKalb (AJC)
DL: T.J. Stripling, Southwest DeKalb (AP, AJC)
DL: Xzavier Dickson, Griffin (AP, AJC)
DL: Grady Jarrett, Rockdale County (AP)
DL: Owen Williams, Westside (AP)
DL: Lacy Coleman, Sandy Creek (AJC)
DL: Nermin Delic, Northwest Whitfield (AJC)
LB Bobby Liggins, Hephzibah (AP, AJC)
LB: Cartavious Woods, Griffin (AP)
LB: Clinard Stokes, Sandy Creek (AP)
LB: Blake Young, Sprayberry (AP)
LB: Jeff Haney, Apalachee (AJC)
LB: Naim Wakeel, Southwest DeKalb (AJC)
DB: Isaiah Johnson, Sandy Creek (AP, AJC)
DB: Sharrod Golightly, Southwest DeKalb (AP, AJC)
DB: Ryan Ayers, South Paulding (AP, AJC)
DB: DeMarco McNeal, Banneker (AP)
DB: Demetruce McNeal, Banneker (AJC)
P: Keenan Adams, Bainbridge (AP, AJC)
ATH: Jerick McKinnon, Sprayberry (AP)
ATH: Clarence Jackson, North Clayton (AJC)
RET: Marques Dixon, Southwest DeKalb (AP)
Rajion Neal vs. Storm Johnson (OPOY): Neal rushed for 1,816 yards in 15 games, including 175 in the state final. He has committed to Mississippi State. Johnson rushed for 1,937 in 11 games and scored 31 touchdowns for Loganville. What we liked about Johnson is that he faced four of the eight quarterfinal teams, including the champion (Sandy Creek) and runner-up (Clarke Central). He averaged 180.8 yards and scored 12 touchdowns in those games.
Isaiah Johnson vs. T.J. Stripling (DPOY): Hard to compare a safety and a defensive end, but both are big-time recruits – Johnson to Georgia Tech and Stripling to Georgia – who lived up to the billing this season. Johnson’s team won the state title. Stripling had more than 20 sacks.
Ronnie Bell vs. Jerick McKinnon (QB): Bell threw for 2,003 yards and led Sandy Creek to a state title as a first-year starter. Great pick. We went with McKinnon, whom the AP chose as its first-team athlete. McKinnon passed for 1,450 yards and rushed for 1,243 in four fewer games than Bell. Both are juniors, so look out in 2010.
Chris Conley vs. Ronald Carswell (WR): We love Conley, a junior who was on our preseason all-state team and is already a big-time recruit (offers from Georgia, Tennessee and Georgia Tech). But his 81 catches were against a non-region schedule. We picked Carswell, a senior who caught 41 passes for 11-2 Westside. Carswell has committed to Alabama.
Shaun Hill/Alan Posey vs. Charles Emert/Kasey Morrison (OL): Linemen are hard to sort out. Hill and Posey are juniors who were the top linemen from Region 8-AAAA teams that we ranked in the top four, Apalachee and Clarke Central. Emert, of Statesboro, is a four-year starter who has committed to Furman. Morrison, of Forsyth Central, is a two-time first-team all-Region 6-AAAA pick who has a couple of low-end Division I-A offers.
Grady Jarrett/Owen Williams vs. Lacy Coleman/Nermin Delic (DL): Jarrett and Williams are juniors who had ridiculous statistics on top-notch teams. Jarrett had 18.5 sacks and 31 tackles for loss for Rockdale County. Williams had 15 sacks as a defensive tackle and is only a junior for Westside of Macon. We chose seniors whose numbers were a little less than that but who were no slouches. Coleman, who has committed to Louisville, had 15 tackles for loss on a state championship team. Delic, who has committed to Kentucky, was the defensive player of the year in 7-AAAA.
Cartavious Woods/Clinard Stokes/Blake Young vs. Jeff Haney/Naim Wakeel (LB): The AJC team allows for only three linebackers. All five here had more than 130 tackles, and there’s no room to separate them statistically or most any other way. We picked Haney, the defensive player of the year in what we thought was the toughest region (8-AAAA), and Wakeel, the leading tackler for what we thought was the toughest defense (Southwest DeKalb).
DeMarco McNeal vs. Demetruce McNeal (DB): Now how funny is that? The AJC and AP agreed on three defensive backs, but for the fourth, they disagreed on which brother to pick from Banneker. Demetruce McNeal, a safety who has committed to Auburn, made 104 tackles as a safety, while DeMarco, a shutdown cornerback, had six interceptions and scored 10 touchdowns doing handyman work. We forgot which one we picked. It doesn’t matter.
Jerick McKinnon vs. Clarence Jackson: We put McKinnon as our quarterback. Jackson of North Clayton was our first-team athlete. Jackson rushed for more than 1,900 yards and also played a bit at linebacker, his projected position at Ole Miss. Jackson was our second choice for offensive player of the year in AAAA. He was honorable mention all-state with AP.
1-AAAA: AP 3; AJC 3
2-AAAA: AP 0; AJC 1
3-AAAA: AP 1; AJC 1
4-AAAA: AP 2; AJC 2
5-AAAA: AP 6; AJC 5
6-AAAA: AP 5; AJC 5
7-AAAA: AP 4; AJC 4
8-AAAA: AP 6; AJC 4