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.