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 on Aug. 15)
The AJC Super 11 candidate: Tucker FS Chris Sanders
The skinny: The 6-foot, 181-pound Sanders plays everywhere on the field for Tucker. He is projected to play safety in college. As a sophomore in 2008, Sanders started a few games at linebacker on the Class AAAA state championship team. Last year, Sanders started both ways at free safety (32 tackles, 2 caused fumbles, 1 interception, 1 tackle for loss) and wide receiver (7 receptions for 158 yards and 2 TDs). He also handled the team’s punting duties, averaging 35 yards per punt. This year, Tucker will spread Sanders around on offense, while he will rotate between linebacker and safety on defense, while playing all special teams.
Colleges: Sanders was UGA’s first commitment for its 2011 recruiting class.
They said it: “Although [Sanders] does not have a prototypical linebacker body, he has the type of violent physicality that allows him to be successful at any position on defense.” Tucker assistant Harrison Spurlock.
The lowdown: Sanders may be the best athlete in Tucker’s football program, which is saying a lot. The Tigers are one of the state’s top annual producers of college prospects. With Tucker linebacker James Vaughters (another rising senior, committed to Stanford) hindered by a broken wrist last year, Sanders filled the void as a defensive playmaker. Many of his best plays didn’t show up in the stat category, as they were big hits in the secondary. If you’re a wide receiver going over the middle, beware of Sanders trying to knock your head off. However, Sanders is not nearly as intimidating on run defense, just doing whatever is necessary to make the sure tackle. On pass defense, Sanders has excellent range, instincts and closing speed at safety. He is “high risk, high reward” type of defender — willing to gamble on a game-changing plays when the ball is heaved into the air. He plays with extreme aggression, although offenses can use that against him on play-action and misdirection plays. He is ideal size for a high school safety, but will need to get bigger and stronger for college. Like most high school kids, he tackles way too high but can get away with it at this level.
If it was completely my vote: His toughest competition will come from his teammate, Vaughters, as it is tough but not impossible for two teammates to make the AJC’s Super 11. Chris Sanders is a great high school player, and I love how he never comes off the field yet keeps up a high caliber of play. There are a lot of things to like about Sanders.
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 FS Chris Sanders? Please post below.