10 best HS defensive backs: Deep group led by McDowell, Bessent

Georgia’s crop of outstanding defensive backs is deep this season. A couple of dozen have D-1 scholarship offers.

Here are 10 to watch in 2013.

Some of the more heavily recruited players are not included here as defensive backs because their primary position in high school has been elsewhere. Those include Brooks County’s Malkom Parrish and Creekside’s Evan Berry, both quarterbacks, and Tucker’s Dominick Sanders, a running back.

- Cameron Albright, North Cobb: The top defensive player on a Class AAAAAA semifinal team in 2012, Albright had 40 tackles and returned two interceptions for touchdowns. He also had four touchdowns as a receiver on offense. Recruited as a safety, Albright (6-2, 200) has more than a dozen scholarship offers, including those from Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest.

- Allen Artis, Wheeler: Artis’ 109 solo tackles led Cobb County last season. He  helped lead Wheeler to its first playoff appearance since 2006. He was first-team AAAAAA all-state (AP) last season. He has offers from Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Boston College.

- Kalvarez Bessent, Camden County: A cornerback, Bessent had 41 tackles and six interceptions for an 11-2 team last season. He also had 13 receptions for 244 yards and rushed for 481 yards and four touchdowns. Bessent will help Camden overcome the graduate of a similar type player in Georgia freshman J.J. Green. Bessent (6-0, 170) has committed to Alabama.

- Grant Haley, Lovett: Haley again will be the best player on a Top 10 team in Class AA. In 2012, he had seven interceptions. His coach guessed that fewer than 20 balls were thrown to his side of the field when he was in the game. Haley also rushed for 536 yards, caught 18 passes and returned three  kickoffs for touchdowns. Recruited as a cornerback, Haley (5-10, 170) has offers from Florida, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Tennessee and others.

- Cortez McDowell, Locust Grove: The best player on a 6-4 team last season, McDowell had 42 solo tackles (second on the team), three for losses, and two interceptions. He was a two-way starter who had 29 receptions for 679 yards and eight touchdowns and rushed for 209 yards and three scores. McDowell is the top-rated safety prospect in Georgia. His leaders appear to be Auburn, Florida State and Tennessee.

- Nick Ruffin, St. Pius: A cornerback, Ruffin (6-1, 190) had 63 tackles and intercepted three passes for a Class AAA runner-up team in 2012. He also had five tackles for losses. Ruffin has committed to Auburn.

- Akebron Ralls, Mary Persons: He’s only 5-8, 170, and he’s not a burner. Ralls is just a player who gets it done on the field as the best player on a team that has won playoff games in consecutive years for the first time since 2002-03.. He’s intercepted 14 passes in that time and made first-team All-Middle Georgia and all-state. In 2012, he forced four fumbles, ran two fumbles for touchdowns, and blocked two kicks. Ralls has no reported scholarship offers.

- Qua Searcy, Lamar County:  Searcy had 53 solo tackles and three interceptions and forced four fumbles for a 12-1-1 team in 2012.  He also was the leading receiver (18 catches, 419 yards) on a team that rarely passed. Searcy (5-11, 165) has a leader in Louisville but has reported offers from Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Clemson, South Carolina and others.

- D.J. Smith, Walton: One of the top two-way players in AAAAAA, Smith was a shut-down corner with 42 tackles, eight passes broken up and two interceptions in 2012. He also rushed for 356 yards and had 27 catches for 368 yards in 11 games. He favors Tennessee but is being recruited hard by Clemson, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

- Kendarius Webster, Stockbridge: Georgia apparently leads for one of the Southeast’s fastest cornerbacks. Webster (6-0, 185) is a lockdown corner for a team that went a school-best 11-2 in Class AAAA and never allowed more than three touchdowns in a game.

33 comments Add your comment

Dekalb Fan

May 31st, 2013
11:40 am

Any list of top DB’s in Georgia is incomplete without Quentin Turner of Miller Grove. He is undeniably of the Top Ten DB’s in the state.

Dekalb Fan

May 31st, 2013
11:50 am

Todd, what criteria are you using to rate the DB’s? There is no way that rating 10 DB’s ahead of Turner is justified.


May 31st, 2013
12:18 pm

You have to include Felton Hatcher of Thomson High School. He had 9 INTs last year and stands at 6′0 tall. Also play wide receiver and is a freak athlete.


May 31st, 2013
1:30 pm


May 31st, 2013
3:29 pm

Bryce Lewis / Parkview / Class of 2014
Darious Latimore / Central Gwinnett / Class of 2014
JaQuan Simpkins / Norcross / Class of 2014
Jordan Noil / Norcross / Class of 2014
Bobby Young / North Gwinnett / Class of 2014
Zedekiah Brown / Central Gwinnett / Class of 2014
Nick Glass / Peachtree Ridge / Class of 2014

Check out the Gwinnett vs Georgia 7 on 7 Tournament at Central Gwinnett tomorrow beginning at 9 a.m

Todd Holcomb

May 31st, 2013
3:39 pm

DF – Thanks for mentioning Quentin Turner. He’s on the radar. Very fast, from what I hear. … There is not set criteria, but strong recommendations for all-state and all-county from coaches and media last year combined with attention they’re getting from colleges all play into it. The other guys that I listed had more of one or the other, or both, IMO. But it’s all subjective. Preseason attention means less than post-season attention.

re: Felton Hatcher. Definitely heard of him. Good case could be made on his behalf – 8 (or 9) INT, 52 tackles, for a really good team. He was first-team all-state w/ the GA Sports Writers and part of a 12-1 team. Not that it rules him out, but I couldn’t find much about his college recruiting.

Todd Holcomb

May 31st, 2013
3:43 pm

re: Brandon Roberts – Don’t know as much about him except that he has a couple of major offers and that Lowndes appears to be in great shape on the defense this season. Will keep an eye on Brandon.


May 31st, 2013
4:56 pm

This list is for Corner Backs only, right? :-)


May 31st, 2013
6:54 pm

No mention of the highest rated DB in the state. Malcolm Parrish. The AJC is a joke when discussing recruiting. Oh I forgot he is UGA target.


May 31st, 2013
6:56 pm

Sorry missed the beginning of the article.


May 31st, 2013
8:00 pm

The Alabama Coaching Staff seems to think Chris Williams of Camden County is pretty good too….. :-D

This is a JOKE

May 31st, 2013
8:14 pm

Christopher Murphy from Lassiter not on this list and Rank 44 CB in the country by Rivals; 24 CB in the country by SigningDay.com, 21 best player in the state by NUC are you kidding me.

Todd more research please!

May 31st, 2013
8:20 pm

Murphy of Lassiter is the best pure cover corner in Georgia


May 31st, 2013
9:14 pm

Wow! That’s a big statement. There are quite a few really good DBs in the state this year. So how do you determine which one is the best? When you say pure cover, what exactly does that mean? :-)

Truth Hurts

May 31st, 2013
9:55 pm

Malcolm doesn’t even play DB full time, and is nowhere near rated as the best DB in the state. One of the best ATHLETES, but not DBs.

Wesley Green of MLK is one of many who are better than Parish.

Mr. Wolverine

May 31st, 2013
11:32 pm


Quentin Turner is a not a Top 10 Defensive Back in the State. He is a Top 5. Creating such list are very tough, and I really commend what the AJC is doing because it creates a buzz.

He covered the top receivers in the toughest Region in Class 5A. He is fast, but his best asset is his knack to find the football. This kid is a true DB.

Most importantly, he is a great kid.

I do want to ask this question, does anyone evaluate each student-athlete? Since we live in an age where everything is virtual and digital, I suggest that fans should be able to watch film on each student athlete.


June 1st, 2013
8:21 am

What I mean regarding pure corner is the fact that Murphy has all the technical skills to play corner. He is not a WR or QB, etc. trying to play corner, he is a corner. He is always placed on the other team best WR especially if they pass a lot. Most of the time the QB doesn’t have the guts to throw the ball. Being one of the best is not always about hype or stats.

One of the Best

June 1st, 2013
8:22 am

Wesley Green is one of the best, like I said before, it’s not always about stats. He shut people down.

Dekalb Fan

June 1st, 2013
8:23 am

Todd, Quentin Turner has several D-1 offers that include Tennessee, Syracuse, Duke and several others. Turner held the All State WR at MLK to 2 catches last year and had an interception in that game. He was also an All-State selection last year.

Truth Hurts

June 1st, 2013
9:05 am

There are TONS of great DBs in Georgia because of the athleticism of the kids in this state – right up there with Florida, Texas and Cali.

And here is a sleeper for you: Christian Coleman of Class A Our Lady of Mercy. One of the best DB/RB/ ATH in the state. He’s the 200 meter and long jump champion. Ran a 4.34 reportedly this spring and has great technique. Trains with Shaquille Wiggins (Sandy Creek/UGA), Taurean Ferguson (Jonesboro/Vandy), Rashard Fant (Our Lady of Mercy/Indiana), Cam Jackson (Creekside), Khari Lain (Sandy Creek) and others at iDareU.

Truth Hurts

June 1st, 2013
9:06 am

Wesley Green trains at iDareU as well. Best training group for football in Georgia!!


June 1st, 2013
9:13 am

Walton also has a rising Jr. CB, nicknamed ‘Jawbreaker’, that’s pretty dadgum good…..started last year as a sophomore.


June 1st, 2013
9:13 am

You guys can’t forget about Mike Rogers from Campbell in Smyrna. He has already been offered by a number of D-1 schools including Arkansas, Ole Miss, Clemson, Cincinnati, Minnesota and Central Florida. He also had a story written about him in the UGA sports newspaper.


June 1st, 2013
11:44 am

Some excellent corners in the state year in and year out. I do agree there are some guys who are thought of highly that were “missed” but on any of these lists in a state like GA (or Tx/CA/FL) you are going to have plenty of guys deserving of “top-10 status” that just won’t be there for one reason or another.

Of these, I have only seen Smith at Walton and Murphy at Lassiter play. Murphy is another in a line of very,m very good CBs/DBs/S to come out of Lassiter the past few years. Orjioke/Clark/Shank/Moore/Dowling/etc.

Biggest thing with some players mentioned on here by many, some may never have to stats they could because coaches know to stay away from certain guys or they will be burned. I know that happened in the playoffs 2 years ago when Clark was at Lassiter, no one threw his way during the regular season and he limited some of the top WR in the metro area to just minimal stats. And in the playoffs, he made people pay dearly for challenging him.

Just the way it is, no one will ever be 100% happy. These lists are always more for discussion purposes and just a pre season primer in my mind. Plus, there will be some other people that will make a name for themselves in camps this summer that people are unaware of at this time.


June 1st, 2013
1:00 pm

Todd, match these offers as a rising JUNIOR against any DB on your list: South Carolina, Ole Miss, Clemson, Wisconsin, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, BC, and a few more……Safety Arrington Farrar of Woodward.


June 1st, 2013
5:15 pm

I won’t argue with your opinion because everybody has one. But just because he plays the position well doesn’t mean he’s a natural/pure at it. IMO, a player’s instinct makes him a natural at a certain position. But it maybe that were speaking about the same thing, but in a different way…….. :-)


June 1st, 2013
6:23 pm

Montrell Custis 6-0 180 lbs cousin of Travis Custis. He will be a Jr. Started for 2 years with #1 rank defense in GEORGIA

Bill Cosby

June 2nd, 2013
5:46 am

Kiante Walton of Carver-Columbus-DB
-Shut down the best WR in the State of GA last year in Peach co Demarcus Robinson ,now @ FLA



June 3rd, 2013
12:17 am

2015 S Arrington Farrar 6′2” 200 Woodward Academy 15 Offers in 3 weeks

Truth Hurts

June 4th, 2013
9:33 am

Farrar looks great getting off the bus, but has A LOT of work to do in terms of technique. The guys on this list and many of those mentioned in the comments are WAY ahead of him.

He looked lost against Blessed Trinity when they went to their spread passing game and was even benched for parts of the game. He was over matched against Cedar Grove and their wide open passing game. He has those offers due to his size, which is unbelievable for a rising JUNIOR in high school.

He’ll end up in a D-1A program for sure, but he needs to get better so he doesn’t end up being an afterthought once he gets to college.


June 5th, 2013
4:59 pm


June 5th, 2013
5:00 pm

Two sleepers for you, Jeremy James of Flowery Branch and Davanta Reynolds of Tucker.


June 7th, 2013
8:40 am

Just play ball…..film don’t lie. All the hype is BS.