Brookwood is the defending champion in Class AAAAA football. Camden County and Lowndes are programs that have won three titles apiece since 2003.
Which will be the team to beat in 2011?
None of those, according to MaxPreps, which released one of the first national preseason polls on Wednesday.
Instead, Grayson – the only AAAAA program that has reached the quarterfinals or better each of the past four seasons – is the choice of Steve Spiewak, who coordinates the MaxPreps’ top 25.
Grayson, which returns about 11 of 22 starters, is the only Georgia team ranked, coming in at No. 25.
“The more I looked into Grayson, the more I liked them,’’ Spiewak said. “They have a quarterback [Nick Schuessler] who can allow them to expand out of their Wing T offense. Korey Jones [a running back] seems like a legit athlete that can be used a number of ways. Devin Gillespie and Terrius Watson will also benefit from an experienced offensive line. On defense, [defensive lineman] Robert Nkemdiche might be the best defensive player in the country next year, and I expect Zach Barnes to have a breakout season on the defensive line as well. If the offense comes together as expected and the linebackers can mature quickly on defense, this could be the best team Grayson has ever had.’’
Grayson, a Gwinnett County school that opened in 2000, has never won a state title. In 2010, the Rams upset No. 1-ranked North Gwinnett and then Valdosta on the road last year before falling to Colquitt County 31-24 in the semifinals.
Don Bosco Prep of New Jersey is MaxPreps’ No. 1-rated team.
MaxPreps Preseason Top 25: