Since 1985, the AJC’s Super 11 team has transformed into one of the nation’s most elite lists, consisting of the best 11 high school football players from the talent-loaded state of Georgia. Over the next few weeks, we’ll go over the top candidates for this year’s AJC Super 11, which will be released next month before the kickoff of the 2010 season.
The AJC Super 11 candidate: Tucker LB James Vaughters
The skinny: The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder is one of the top student-athletes to ever come through the state. James has a 4.0 GPA, and is a candidate at linebacker for high school All-America honors. As a sophomore in 2008, Vaughters was a two-way starter at Tucker, which won the Class AAAA state championship and had five seniors sign with major colleges. He posted 38 tackles, 8 tackles for losses, 6 sacks, and 4 fumble recoveries. As a junior last year, Vaughters broke his right wrist before the season, missing three games. He toughed it out to play 9 games, finishing with 57 total tackles, 2 tackles for losses, 1 sack and 1 fumble recovery.
Colleges: Vaughters pulled a minor surprise when he bypassed UGA and Georgia Tech to commit to Stanford. He was also considering Alabama and Ohio State among his 35 scholarship offers.
They said it: “I honestly believe we can do something at Stanford that has never been done and that is win a championship.” — James Vaughters, after committing to Stanford last month.
The lowdown: If Vaughters hadn’t been hindered by a wrist injury last season, then he would be a viewed by many as “lock” for the AJC’s Super 11. The wrist injury certainly didn’t cause college coaches to blink, as he remained one of the state’s most heavily recruited prospects until his Stanford commitment. However, the AJC’s Super 11 is based on the state’s top 11 football players, not top 11 college prospects. A lot of the vote is based off a player’s performance during his junior season, and that’s when Vaughters was hindered by the injury.
If it was completely my vote: Yes. First of all, this kid is a wonderful role model for all student-athletes in this state. You can’t say enough about his outstanding academic achievements. Back to football: As far as the injury, I have no problems in overlooking it because of this: Vaughters is a proven commodity as one of Georgia’s top high school players after all the big-time plays he made as a sophomore on the state championship team.
Note: The AJC’s Super 11 team consists of the state’s top 11 senior football players, and not college prospects. It is selected by AJC staff members in a partnership with our friends from GHSFD, based on observing the player either in person or on film. A very important part of the process is getting recommendations and feedback from high school coaches from around the state, along with running the names by a few college coaches. It’s an imperfect process, but we do our best. The AJC’s 2010 Super 11 team will be released next month.
What are YOUR thoughts on this AJC’s Super 11 candidate, Tucker LB James Vaughters? Please post below.