Each summer since 1985, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has published its Super 11, a list of the top 11 players in high school football for the coming year. The criteria have changed over the years, but recently a Super 11 is a player that is both highly productive on the field and highly recruited off the field. In 2009, GHSF Daily picked the AJC’s Super 11.
Here’s a look at 11 players who are on the radar for 2010:
OL David Andrews, Wesleyan: Andrews has been rated the No. 1 junior center prospect by Scout.com. For Wesleyan, which spent most of 2009 ranked No. 1 in Class A, Andrews started both ways and averaged 70 snaps per game, though he was out by halftime several times because of lopsided scores. He’s 6 feet, 3 inches and 270 pounds.
RB Isaiah Crowell, Carver (Columbus): Crowell, who was first-team all-state in Class AAA as a junior, rushed for 1,907 yards and 22 touchdowns on just 175 carries. He has the potential to be as highly sought as any Georgia running back since the turn of the century.
DE Ray Drew, Thomas County Central: Drew, already a four-star recruit by Scout.com, was the Region 1-AAAA defensive player of the year. He had 72 tackles, 22 of them for sacks or other losses.
LB A.J. Johnson, Gainesville: Johnson had committed to Tennessee but backed off amid the Lane Kiffin ordeal. He averaged more than 10 tackles for Class AAA runner-up Gainesville and made first-team all-state. Flowery Branch coach Lee Shaw has called Johnson “unblockable.”
QB Nick Marshall, Wilcox County: The Class A offensive player of 2009, Marshall led Wilcox to a state title. He threw for 2,956 yards and 32 touchdowns. He’s also at least as highly regarded as a basketball player and might choose that sport.
DB Brian Randolph, Kell: We’re surprised he’s not already a four-star recruit by Scout. Randolph is a two-time first-team all-state player in Class AAAAA. In 2009, he made 136 tackles on defense and rushed for 1,303 yards on offense. He also caught 23 passes. He has several SEC offers already.
QB Chris Milton, Charlton County: Super 11 selections must be top recruits and top players. Milton has Part B down to the extreme. He was 166-of-267 passing for 2,664 yards and 33 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,159 yards and scored 17 touchdowns for Charlton, which finished 11-1-1. He’s only 5-10 and 165 pounds, so if he’s a blue-chip prospect, it won’t be at quarterback. Charlton County is dropping to Class A next fall.
TE Jay Rome, Valdosta: Former Valdosta coach Rick Tomberlin predicted Rome would be the No. 1 prospect in Georgia before Rome had started his sophomore season. He might be right. The son of Valdosta legend (and former NBA player) Stan Rome, Jay caught 25 passes last season and was an outstanding blocker. He’s also the best basketball player in Region 1-AAAAA.
DB Damian Swann, Grady: Swann is a two-way player similar to Kell’s Randolph but is a receiver on offense. He caught 48 passes for 824 yards and had 67 tackles and six interceptions on defense for a 10-2 team. He was first-team all-state in Class AAA.
DT Gabe Wright, Carver (Columbus): Wright is another big-time prospect from Carver, joining Crowell, Wright was a run-stopper who played in the middle of Carver’s line and sometimes was overshadowed by Corey Crawford, who signed with Clemson.
WR Zack Walker, Johnson County: Guys like Walker and Milton of Charlton County are going to need a trail of big-time schools chasing them, but Walker, the fourth Class A guy, has the on-field performance with 72 catches for 1,172 yards and 14 touchdowns. He’s 6-1, 175 and not believed to be related to the other famous Walker of Johnson County, that being Herschel.
Look out for: The two most hotly pursued juniors not on the list are probably Tucker linebacker James Vaughters and North Gwinnett quarterback C.J. Uzomah. If not for injuries that slowed them in 2009, they’d probably be on this list. Another is Griffin defensive end Xzavier Dickson. He had a monster junior season and is in the running for Super 11. Last week, Chip Towers of the AJC made a list of the top 10 recruits for 2011. He also included wide receiver Chris Conley of North Paulding and lineman Watts Dantzler of Dalton. Those two also easily could be Super 11.
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