10 best HS defensive linemen: Norcross DE rated No. 1 in nation

Defensive line might be Georgia’s best position this coming high school season.

To continue our look at the state’s best players, here are 10 to watch on the defensive line. Although this is not based on their college potential, these 10 are major college prospects. How valuable are these guys in high school? Three played on state championship teams in 2012.

That includes Lorenzo Carter of Norcross, the top-rated defensive end in the country.

- Mekhi Brown, Carver-Columbus: A rising junior, Brown is committed to Alabama. He had six sacks and seven other tackles for losses. Teams began to run away from his side and leave a tight end and running back to block him on passing situations last season. Brown is 6-6, 230.

- Lorenzo Carter, Norcross: A first-team all-state player in 2012, Carter led Gwinnett County in sacks with 18 and made 136 tackles for the Class AAAAAA championship team. Rivals rates Carter (6-5, 235) as the No. 1 weakside defensive end and No. 5 overall player in the country.

- Keshun Freeman, Callaway: Freeman had 96 tackles, 17 of them for losses, last season for Callaway in 12 games. He’s rated as one of the top 25 weakside defensive ends in the country and has offers from Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Louisville, Duke, Harvard and others.

- Jamiyus Pittman, Colquitt County: The best D-lineman in South Georgia, Pittman had six sacks and forced two fumbles last season for Colquitt’s state semifinal team. He has offers from Miami, N.C. State, Kentucky and others.

- Dontavius Russell, Carrollton: Committed to Georgia, Russell (6-3, 300) was a run-stopper for Carrollton’s 8-4 team in 2012. He had 58 tackles and three sacks.

- Dante Sawyer, North Gwinnett: Sawyer had 96 tackles and seven sacks in 2012, when he was his team’s best underclassman. Sawyer (6-3, 240) favors Georgia and Alabama but also is considering Auburn, Ohio State and Tennessee.

- Elisha Shaw, Tucker: 247Sports rates Shaw as the No. 4 player in Georgia and No. 1 defensive tackle. Shaw was all-region and all-DeKalb County despite modest statistics in 2012. He had seven tackles for losses.

- D’Andre Walker, Hughes: As a sophomore, Walker was the Region 3-AAAAAA defensive player of the year in 2012, when he was credited with 21 sacks and 18 tackles for losses. Hughes was 10-2 and won its first-ever region title. Walker (6-2, 200) has offers from about 20 major FBS programs, including Georgia and Alabama. He played more as a defensive end last season but projects as a linebacker in college.

- Andrew Williams, Eagle’s Landing Christian: Williams had 17 tackles for losses and six sacks for the Class A private-school champions in 2012. Alabama and Auburn are among several schools that have offered.

- Chris Williams, Sandy Creek: Williams had 17 tackles for losses and 11 sacks for the Class AAAA championship team. Despite being undersized in terms of height (6-0, 285), Williams has offers from Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Kentucky and others.

12 comments Add your comment


May 23rd, 2013
10:09 am

Kendall Baker of Marist sure deserves a mention — could have also included him on the offensive line list.


May 23rd, 2013
1:44 pm

This list is far more accurate than the offensive line list. That list left off a lot of players like Micah Hyatt and Terronne Prescod.

4th and Long Gone

May 23rd, 2013
1:50 pm

“That includes Lorenzo Brown of Norcross, the top-rated defensive end in the country.”

I think you combined two students into one, Mekhi Brown and Lorenzo Carter. Probably should have said “Lorenzo Carter of Norcross”.

Tocooa Dawg

May 23rd, 2013
5:54 pm

It would be nice if these guys stayed in state to play.

Todd Holcomb

May 23rd, 2013
8:38 pm

re: Lorenzo Brown. … Thanks for the catch, 4th & Long. Lorenzo Carter, Mekhi Brown. …

Actually, Lorenzo Brown is a former Centennial basketball player who starred for NC State. That’s how my brain wires got crossed.

”This list is far more accurate than the offensive line list.”

I don’t doubt that. Prescod for sure.


May 24th, 2013
8:03 am

Loads of talent. Let’s hope Richt can keep the talent in state especially Carter. That guy is a beast. I haven’t seen Mekhi but Carter is special and would fit in nicely after Jarvis Jenkins goes pro. Shaw is another guy from this list that we could use at UGA

Lion Pride

May 24th, 2013
8:03 am

Jospeh Alexander Tri-Cities, 6′3 305. Has early offer from Ga Southern. Ask his former NFL coaches Marcus Stroud and Jonas Jennings about this kid. Hard worker, good motor, this train is bringing it.

[...] The AJC.com has named Jamiyus Pittman the ‘best defensive lineman in South Georgia.” Read why they gave him this title here [...]


May 24th, 2013
10:23 am

OK, this is a rant. This state also had the #1 player last year also and Dawgs lost him. Where does this go. Why are these TOP tier players shunning Athens? GATA and get this guy Mark.


May 25th, 2013
6:10 am

No disrespect to Colquitt County, but the best D-Lineman in South, Ga. is Dontavius Sapp from Valdosta. The AJC shouldn’t even write about South Georgia players because they have no ideal about any of the teams or players down here!!!


May 25th, 2013
3:15 pm

Carrollton also had one on the 10 best for O-line as well.

Boys of Fall

May 28th, 2013
9:11 pm

One kid that is up and coming is Will Yancey at Landmark Christian.(class A private) He is a rising junior. He had 5 sacks and 7 tackles against Pace last year and blew his knee out with 2 min left in the game. Pace was triple teaming him to keep him out of the backfield. He should be a beast this year and will get some recognition.