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: Brookwood WR Andre Sims
The skinny: The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Sims set Brookwood school records for receptions in a season (56), receiving yards in a season (915), receiving TDs in a season (9), receiving yards in one game (167) and catches in one game (10). He also returned six punts for 140 yards to put him over 1,000 all-purpose yards for the year. Sims said he played one game as a defensive back and recorded eight tackles and one interception.
Colleges: Michigan State was the first major-college offer for Sims, who quickly accepted. The Spartans recruited Sims to play his “natural position” of defensive back in college. Sims was also getting looks from LSU, Vanderbilt, Ohio State and Virginia Tech when he committed in April.
The lowdown: You know that little speedy wide receiver who gets behind the safeties on almost every play? You know, the one who you are sitting in the stands watching, asking the people around you “Are the coaches seeing that? Do you think they will throw one deep to that kid — just to see what happens?” Andre Sims is that kid. He is an absolute nightmare for cornerbacks and safeties who like to cheat up the field in anticipation of a running play. If the defensive secondary takes a few errant steps, Sims will blow by them. You’ve got to remember that Brookwood High, which was once the posterchild for “three yards and a cloud of dust” (aka run-oriented offense), has opened up the playbook, hence Sims’ assault on the record book. Brookwood coach Mark Crews will toss one deep to Sims 2-4 plays per game. Just the threat of a deep pass to Sims can distract and stretch the opposing defense. The little guy could break all of his own school records as a senior. He has above-average speed (4.43 in the 40-yard dash) and looks much faster in pads. He runs decent routes but can get away with it in high school because of his raw speed. He will need to get stronger, as Sims is tackled too easily after initial contact.
If it was completely my vote: Sims is a longshot for the Super 11, but he is easily one of the state’s best WRs. He put up big numbers in one of the state’s toughest regions as a junior, but the college recruiters still had concerns about his size. They wanted to get him in summer camp to see what he could do in the WR and DB drills with their own eyes. Michigan State wrapped him up before anyone could get a closer look. If you’re 6 feet or under, it is very difficult to get a D1 scholarship at WR. Sims said he will play DB at Michigan State, and he projects very well at that position. He has quick feet, decent hips (needs a little more flexibility), and is fearless going up against much bigger players to fight for the ball. Sims projects to contribute immediately on all special teams at Michigan State.
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.