POY Watch: Gainesville’s Watson making late charge

Gainesville quarterback Deshaun Watson, a sophomore who scored or passed for all five touchdowns in a 35-21 victory over Sandy Creek in the Class AAA quarterfinals last week, is the fastest mover in GHSF Daily’s Player of the Year Watch. Watson can surpass 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing this week in the semifinals.

Three players whose teams have been eliminated remain in the lower half of the top 10, but there are a few outside the list who can finish strong and make a case for themselves. Those include Lovejoy’s Travis Custis, who has rushed for 1,675 yards and scored 30 touchdowns, and Carver’s Marquez Holloway, who ran for more than 200 yards in the quarterfinals and has rushed for 1,646 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Here’s the latest top 10:

1. RB Tyren Jones, Walton: Jones, a junior, rushed for 141 yards and one touchdown on 30 carries and returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown in a 21-13 Class AAAAA quarterfinal victory over Dacula. On the season, Jones has rushed for 2,111 yards and 31 touchdowns on 280 carries (7.5 yards per carry) and has 13 catches for 185 yards and four touchdowns. He has 36 touchdowns overall. Walton is 13-0 for the first time.

2. DT/RB Robert Nkemdiche, Grayson: Nkemdiche scored four touchdowns and had two sacks in a 33-7 victory over West Forsyth in the Class AAAAA quarterfinals. On the season, Nkemdiche has 53 tackles, 16 for losses, and 15 sacks for a team that is allowing 31.7 yards rushing per game. He has rushed for 371 yards and 15 touchdowns on 73 carries. Nkemdiche is the top-rated junior prospect in the county, according to 247sports. Grayson is ranked No. 5 nationally by USA Today.

3. QB Deshaun Watson, Gainesville: Watson, a sophomore, was 24-of-32 passing for 201 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 138 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries in a 35-21 victory over defending state champion Sandy Creek in the Class AAA quarterfinals. The upset ended Sandy Creek’s 41-game winning streak. For the season, Watson is 200-of-327 passing for 2,914 yards and 39 touchdowns with six interceptions. He has rushed for 943 yards and 14 touchdowns on 140 carries. Gainesville is 12-1.

4. QB Eddie Printz, Lassiter: Printz, a junior who has committed to SMU, was 26-of-38 passing for 261 yards and a touchdown in a 24-14 Class AAAAA quarterfinal victory over third-ranked M.L. King. The victory put Lassiter into the state semifinals for the first time. On the season, Printz is 243-of-385 passing for 2,955 yards and 26 touchdowns with seven interceptions. Lassiter is 10-3.

5. QB Taylor Lamb, Calhoun: Lamb was 18-of-25 passing for 224 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-7 Class AA quarterfinal victory over Dublin. For the season, Lamb is 232-of-332 passing for 3,105 yards and 35 touchdowns with seven interceptions. He has rushed for 188 yards and scored seven touchdowns. Calhoun is 13-0.

6. WR/FS Zack Blaylock, Walton: Blaylock, a senior who has committed to Kentucky, intercepted two passes and had four receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown in a 21-13 Class AAAAA quarterfinal victory over Dacula. For the season, Blaylock has 22 receptions for 424 yards and five touchdowns, 10 interceptions, five returned for touchdowns (three for more than 80 yards), and 68 tackles.

7. RB/DB J.J. Green, Camden County: Green, a junior, rushed for 143 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries and caught a 50-yard TD pass in a 32-31 loss to Colquitt County in the Class AAAAA quarterfinals. On the season, Green rushed for 912 yards on 71 carries (12.9 ypc), caught 14 passes for 337 yards (24.1 ypc), scored 23 touchdowns (at least one in each game), averaged 26.8 yards on eight punt returns, intercepted three passes and blocked three kicks. He averaged 117.3 yards rushing (11.0 ypc) in three playoff games. Camden County finished 12-1.

8. RB Mike Davis, Stephenson: Davis, who has committed to Florida, finished his season with 1,918 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns on 213 carries, an average of 9.0 yards per rush. Stephenson was 9-2.

9. RB Miles Jones, Allatoona: Jones, a senior, rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries in a 32-28 loss to Burke County in the Class AAA quarterfinals. Jones finished with 2,142 yards and 30 touchdowns on 272 carries (7.9 ypc) this season. Allatoona finished 12-1.

10. OL/DL Vadal Alexander, Buford: Alexander, who has committed to LSU, made two tackles behind the line in Buford’s 49-13 victory over Elbert County. Defense is his hobby, as he has fewer than 20 tackles on the season while playing only spot duty on the defensive line. Alexander, who is 6 feet 6 inches, 310 pounds, is better known as one of the top three offensive prospects and a key member of an offense that averages 45.8 points per game and 8.2 yards per rushing attempt.

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30 comments Add your comment

Weberboy

November 30th, 2011
8:11 am

Chaz Thornton, junior RB at Stephens County, should be considered for this list. He finished with some 2,300 yards and 30TDs for the Indians who were eliminated in the second round by Cairo.

Football Fan

November 30th, 2011
9:10 am

I think I saw someone tweet to Michael Carvel this weekend in the recruiting section that it looks like POY candidate Jones was fumbling his chances away based on the fumble he had in the Dacula game…well I just want to point out to that individual that the fumble in that game was the 1st fumble that Tyren has lost the entire season out of 280 carries (he has only fumbled twice but recovered the other one). That is what you call holding on to the football. An all-around back that can run you over (as he has done to many a LB and DBs), break your ankles (as he has done to many), run away from the pack, blocks with aggression and catches the ball out of the backfield.

Go Raiders! Good luck this weekend against Lassiter.

BamaBornDukie

November 30th, 2011
9:57 am

@Football Fan…..

If someone did indeed tweet that about Jones….1 word to describe that person…..”HATER!”

Jones has been outstanding all season, in particular in big games and in the playoffs. The kid scored 5 TDs in the 1st half in Round 1 against Milton….4 TDs in the 1st half of Round 2 and then his 5th TD on the 3rd play of the 2nd half in Round 2 against South Cobb. In Round 3 he returned a punt for a 62 yard TD on his 1st touch of the game and also scored another 43 yard TD run.

~900 All-Purpose yards & 12 TDs in 3 playoff games….technically 2 playoff games as he only played the 1st half in Round 1 & Round 2.

Bigdawg1989

November 30th, 2011
11:37 am

Come on GHSF Daily….Where is Andrej Suttles WR from East Paulding on this list? At last check, he had 47 catches for 855 yards and 10 TD’s (despite facing double teams almost every play), tack on another 4 TD’s on punt returns and there is no way he shouldn’t at least get mentioned!!! Best receiver I’ve seen all year, he is slightly undersized just makes plays…definitely has D1 talent. A bunch of college programs are missing the boat by not giving him a scholarship offer. Coach Richt, Bobo are you out there?????

b

November 30th, 2011
12:02 pm

Watson’s stats do not begin to tell the tale how valuable he is to Gainesville.
Unbelieveable poise and decision maker with all the intangibles.

The Truth

November 30th, 2011
12:09 pm

If Gainesville wins the state championship, Watson for POY should be a no brainer. He has carried that team all year, particularly in the playoffs…when it matters. IMO, he is the best quarterback in the state regardless of classification. Any D1 school that doesn’t offer this kid at the end of this year should fire their recruiting coordinator. Are you reading this Dawg fans? I’m sure Bobo will find a flaw in him somewhere just like Grantham did with AJ Johnson. If I were Ga Tech, I would offer Watson for football and basketball now! No worries. More than likely he will be a Gator, turn that program around and smack UGA around for a few years. Regarding Chaz Thornton, he had 1 long run against Gainesville and almost got caught from behind by some white kid. Other than that, he did absolutely nothing!

Football Fan

November 30th, 2011
12:15 pm

If Walton wins the state championship, Jones for POY should be a no brainer. He has carried that team all year, particularly in the playoffs…when it matters. IMO, he is the best running back in the state regardless of classification. Any D1 school that doesn’t offer this kid at the end of this year should fire their recruiting coordinator.

See how easy that was for me to change a few words in your post….these are all great players on this list so I don’t think the choice is a no brainer for the voters. Justy sayin.

The Truth

November 30th, 2011
12:28 pm

Wow Football Fan. You are a frieking genious! Walton has been favored in all of their playoff games. Gainesville wasn’t picked to get out of the first round. They have 1 D1 player on the roster…Watson. Walton has a few. Gainesville wouldn’t be in the playoffs without Watson. Could you survive without your guy? Probably so. Everything be equal, would you rather have a great quarterback or running back? Just sayin.

BamaBornDukie

November 30th, 2011
1:01 pm

@The Truth

I’m not HATING on Watson whatsoever….but you have clearly NOT watched Walton play if you think they’d be in this position without Tyren Jones. Have you even seen any of his video/film? If not……no need to put another player down in order to boost another player up.

KD

November 30th, 2011
2:09 pm

You state in your article that Miles, the leading rusher in AAA, with 2,100 yards,yet Weberboy says that the kid from Stephens rushed over 2,300 yards. If this is correct then that means that he is the leading rusher in AAA. aLso, I believe that Gainesville has more than 1 D1 player on their roster, and finally i have heard that Watson because of his age has only one year remaining of eligibility left, can someone tell me if that is true or not.

gainesa

November 30th, 2011
2:34 pm

Kenno Loyal should be on this list. This kid plays RB,LB,P, and K! Could make all state at any of these positions! What are you doing Mark Richt?

Jefferson

November 30th, 2011
2:41 pm

Look who has the most passing yards of the group, a junior.

RaiderNation

November 30th, 2011
3:16 pm

They ALL look like amazing players…..HMmmmmmm
I Hope Alabama scoops up some of this talent, would love to see more of them.

ROLL TIDE:)

just my 2cnts

RaiderNation

November 30th, 2011
3:17 pm

crud, now i am broke:(

Todd Holcomb

November 30th, 2011
3:38 pm

I don’t have Chaz Thornton’s official final numbers, but my estimate is about 2,179, which would put him ahead of Miles Jones in AAA. So I will retract that statement about Jones leading AAA.

Todd Holcomb

November 30th, 2011
3:40 pm

Suttles of EP had 59 receptions/ 1011 yards/ 14 touchdowns…8 rushes/115 yards/2 touchdowns…21 punt returns /232 yards/ 2 touchdowns…

Todd Holcomb

November 30th, 2011
3:43 pm

”Gainesville wouldn’t be in the playoffs without Watson.”

Watson is valuable, but let’s not get carried away. Gainesville’s closest region game was 41-21. I think Gainesville would’ve found a way to sneak in the playoffs without Deshaun.

DW

November 30th, 2011
7:40 pm

Deshaun is 16, birth day is Sept.14,1995

Border Dweller

November 30th, 2011
7:41 pm

I don’t understand how JJ Green drops from #3 to #7 after racking up a ton of yards and tackles against Colquitt.

Kermit

November 30th, 2011
8:38 pm

@ Border Dweller Camden lost.

Todd Holcomb

November 30th, 2011
9:39 pm

”I don’t understand how JJ Green drops from #3 to #7 after racking up a ton of yards and tackles against Colquitt.”

It’s not so much a rating of the players as it is the players’ chances of being the ultimate POY. If your team is still playing, you’ve still got that opporturnity to build up your resume, or put the final touches on it. As great a year as Green has had, I can’t see him being the ultimate POY unless he’d carries his team a little further. And #7 ain’t bad for a junior.

MC 12

November 30th, 2011
10:40 pm

Todd, Gainesville has a lot of weapons on both sides of the ball. If you look at their stats for the year almost every game they have a different player taking the lead. Just like last week it was Caleb Hayman (6′2″ 200lb WR junior) who started his first game last week and only had 4 catches and 2 touch downs for the season and had 5 catches , 89 yards, and 2 touch downs against Sandy Creek. Next week it will be another player taking the lead. One thing that has been constant all year long has been the play of Deshaun Watson, he is the REAL DEAL!

TJ

November 30th, 2011
11:21 pm

Just curious. How can the #1 recruit in the nation be #2 in his own back yard? Or are you insinuating he is overated by your colleagues that crowned him? Not taking anything away from your #1, I just wanted to know your more detailed thoughts on why Nkemdiche is not #1 in GA.

BamaBornDukie

December 1st, 2011
12:14 am

@TJ……….This list is no different than the Heisman Trophy. Just because you were the Player of The Year in College Football doesn’t mean you will be the #1 Overall Pick in the next NFL Draft. Cam Newton was an exception not the norm as there have been several Heisman Winners that didn’t get drafted or were drafted in the late rounds.

Tyren Jones is also a highly rated recruit as well as he is the #1 RB in the State of Georgia for 2013. So it’s not like #1 isn’t a legit college prospect.

Todd Holcomb

December 1st, 2011
9:22 am

TJ – It’s not a rating of college prospects. It’s more about the seasons that they are having They both are having tremendous years. Tyren was more valuable in the regular season, IMO, and I’ve been looking for reasons to elevate Nkemdiche based on his post-season, but it’s hard to drop a guy who scores 10 touchdowns in the first two rounds, then rushes for 100+ and runs a punt back for a TD in a close QF.

Bigdawg1989

December 1st, 2011
11:02 am

Todd – thanks for the accurate stats on Andrej Suttles and appreciate you making my point!

BullDawg Rick

December 1st, 2011
12:03 pm

Not smacking on Gainseville as they are in my backyard, along with Flowery Branch…

But how can a AA team that plays such a weak schedule totally shuts out the Red Elephants 49-0 & rips apart a very good Carver-Columbus team & get no respect from the nose in the ground posters??

Matters not, Buford wins an unprecedented 5th Ga State Championship Dec 9th…

Grayson’s Rams will also keep the AAAAA championship in Gwinnett County.. The best sports county in the US of A…

Go Dawgs!!

TJ

December 1st, 2011
12:34 pm

Good clarification Todd, thanks. Statistically Jones is a beast and the reason Walton is going to be in the dome. Nkemdiche’s stats are down from last year as the secret is out on him. Hard to have stats on double and triple teams to free up his other team mates to make plays. One last comment, stats are hard to come by on the grunts in the trenches. I would like to see more love for those guys that make those backs and receivers look good.

creek1

December 2nd, 2011
5:12 am

Things to watch for tonight for the fans of BC is that Watson will Tebow u to death. He will throw the quick screen pass, if u r ready u can pick six. Gainseville will never get into punt formation on 4th down it is all done from the shotgun & Watson will quick kick or go for it & he has a good leg. His punts r low & long they will roll forever. When it comes to the long pass Watson will duck down behind the line then will come up & throw. It will be fun to watch tonight because I have no dog in this fight. I have never seen BC play but Watson & the rest of his team will make it interesting. Good luck to both teams & ENJOY

Benall

December 2nd, 2011
9:08 am

BullDawg Rick. Buford has some very creative recruiting strategies and everyone knows it. If they truly played with the kids who were born and raised there, like it was in the 80’s & 90’s, Buford would be a Non Factor in this conversation or a State Championship conversation.