AJC Top 50 list reveals best of best in Georgia

Collins Hill's Charles Perkins, who enrolls at Georgia Tech next week, is number five on the 2010 AJC Top 50 list. (AJC photo by Josh D. Weiss)

Collins Hill's Charles Perkins, who enrolls at Georgia Tech next week, was not an AJC Super 11 pick in the preseason but is No. 5 on the 2010 AJC Top 50 list. (AJC photo by Josh D. Weiss)

LIST UPDATED 1/29/10 . . .

Ladies and gentlemen, the list you have all been waiting for is finally here.

OK, so maybe you haven’t been waiting on it. Maybe you haven’t even thought about it. And it’s probably not what you expected. But nevertheless it’s here.

I give you today the AJC Top 50. That’s right, I said, 50. Not 150. And, no, there is no Super Southern 100 either. At least not yet.

Here’s the thinking: We all love lists. We love compiling them and readers love perusing them. But our feedback suggests there has been far less interest in the bottom two-thirds of the AJC 150 we’ve done in recent years. So we’re limiting it to the top 50 players in Georgia.

First, a little background. The list was compiled mainly by me and AJC high schools reporter Michael Carvell with input from high school coaches, other high school writers and some national recruiting services. The determinations were based both on the players’ actual performances their senior seasons as well as their potential as college prospects (probably skewed a little more toward on-field production though).

As a result you’ll note that it’s a pretty radical departure from the AJC Super 11 selections that came out back in August. Only four Super 11 picks are among the top 11 here.

You’ll also note that only four of the 50 players have not yet made their college decisions. That’s a clear statement about the trend in modern-day recruiting.

For what it’s worth, Carvell and I battled pretty hard over some of the choices. It’s a much smaller group than in the past and the state of Georgia is as deep in talent as ever, so some very good players aren’t represented. That’s not to say they aren’t great players. Annually more than 100 Georgians sign Division I football scholarships. As ever, this is a highly subjective and unscientific endeavor. So we welcome your scrutiny and feedback.

The list is not scheduled to be published in print until Sunday. So this is, I guess, a sneak preview. Enjoy and have at it.

Photos: See the players in action. Gallery 1 | Gallery 2 | Gallery 3 | Gallery 4

2010 AJC TOP 50 (updated 1/29/10)

1. Da’Rick Rogers, WR, 6-3, 200, Calhoun

Committed: Georgia

2. Alec Ogletree, S, 6-3, 200, Newnan

Committed: Georgia

3. Michael Thornton, DT, 6-2, 280, Stephenson

Choices: Auburn, UGA, Penn St., Kentucky

4. Jeff Whitaker, DT, 6-3, 290, Warner Robins

Choices: Miami, UGA, Auburn

5. Charles Perkins, RB, 6-0, 210, Collins Hill

Enrolled: Georgia Tech

6. Storm Johnson, RB, 6-1, 215, Loganville

Enrolled: Miami

7. Rajion Neal, RB, 5-10, 210, Sandy Creek

Committed: Tennessee

8. Blake Sims, QB, 6-0, 185, Gainesville

Committed: Alabama

9. Isaiah Johnson, DB, 6-2, 175, Sandy Creek

Enrolled: Georgia Tech

10. Michael Taylor, LB, 6-1, 205, Westlake

Committed: Tennessee

11. TJ Stripling, DE, 6-6, 200, Southwest DeKalb

Committed: Georgia

12. Bradley Roby, WR, 6-0, 175, Peachtree Ridge

Committed: Ohio State

13. Austin Shepherd, OL, 6-4, 315, North Gwinnett

Enrolled: Alabama

14. Adrian Hubbard, DE, 6-7, 225, Norcross

Committed: Alabama

15. Connor Shaw, QB, 6-2, 195, Flowery Branch

Enrolled: South Carolina

16. B.J. Bostic, QB/DB, 5-10, 160, Jefferson County

Enrolled: Georgia Tech

17. Kendrun Malcome, RB, 6-0, 220, Southwest DeKalb

Committed: Georgia

18. JaWuan James, OT, 6-6, 300, North Gwinnett

Enrolled: Tennessee

19. Mack Brown, RB, 5-11, 185, M.L. King

Committed: Florida

20. Garrison Smith, DL, 6-4, 240, Douglass

Committed: Georgia

21. Ryan Ayers, CB, 5-10, 170, South Paulding

Committed: Georgia Tech

22. Tai-ler Jones, WR, 6-0, 180, Gainesville

Enrolled: Notre Dame

23. Neiron Ball, DE, 6-4, 210, Jackson

Enrolled: Florida

24. Jessel Curry, LB, 6-2, 215, Buford

Enrolled: Auburn

25. Rajaan Bennett, RB, 5-11, 210, McEachern

Choices: Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee

26. Kolton Houston, OG, 6-5, 270, Buford

Enrolled: Georgia

27. Jonathan Mincey, CB, 5-10, 175, Southwest DeKalb

Committed: Auburn

28. Tyrone Cornileus, LB, 6-2, 195, Stephenson

Enrolled: Miami

29. J.C. Copeland, DE, 6-2, 240, LaGrange

LSU, S. Carolina, Tennessee

30. Telvin Smith, LB, 6-3, 190, Lowndes

Committed: Florida State

31. Markeith Ambles, WR, 6-2, 180, Henry County

USC, LSU, Alabama, Tennessee

32. Morgan Bailey, OT, 6-4, 285, Loganville

Committed: Georgia Tech

33. Hutson Mason, QB, 6-3, 190, Lassiter

Committed: Georgia

34. Anthony Williams, DE, 6-4, 235, Union Grove

Committed: Georgia Tech

35. Ronald Carswell, WR, 6-0,180, Westside-Macon

Committed: Alabama

36. Antonio Goodwin, WR, 6-2, 170, Washington

Committed: Auburn

37. Jalen Fields, DE, 6-5, 250, Dalton

Committed: Georgia

38. Brian Vogler, TE, 6-7, 250, Brookstone

Enrolled: Alabama

39. Ed Christian, OL, 6-5, 280, Lowndes

Committed: Auburn

40. Fred Holton, S, 6-1, 195, Thomasville

Committed: Georgia Tech

41. Raymond Sanders, RB, 5-8, 175, Stephenson

Committed: Kentucky

42. Marques Dixon, CB, 5-10, 180, Southwest DeKalb

Committed: Tennessee

43. Synjyn Days, QB/DB, 6-2, 205, Hillgrove

Committed: Georgia Tech

44. Kenarious Gates, OL, 6-3, 300, Greenville

Committed: Kentucky

45. Shawn Green, DT, 6-2, 275, Grayson

Committed: Georgia Tech

46. Devin Burns, QB, 6-2, 170, Carver-Columbus

Committed: Maryland

47. Kori Gaines, DB, 5-10, 175, Grayson

Committed: BYU

48. Ean Days, RB, 5-11, 190, Camden County

Committed: Illinois

49. Michael Bennett, WR, 6-3, 185, Alpharetta

Committed: Georgia

50. Clarence Jackson, RB, 6-2, 215, North Clayton

Committed: Mississippi

173 comments Add your comment

D(r)ooley

January 8th, 2010
1:10 pm

#1 Da’Hype was having a real hard time catching the ball at the Under Armour game when he finally went up against some great defensive players.

UGA 2010

January 8th, 2010
1:12 pm

Not to bad….first?

UGA 2010

January 8th, 2010
1:12 pm

DawgsRule!

January 8th, 2010
1:13 pm

First….

Dawgs need to secure a few more LB’s and players in the secondary

Brandon

January 8th, 2010
1:14 pm

rooley – he did have a couple that would have been great gabs that he didn’t get. However, he also beat his man several times and either the QB misfired, sometimes badly, or the ball wasn’t going his way. The experts at practice said he consistently proved himself against the best in practice, and actually improved his stock while he was there.

Yellow skeeters are, oh never mind I'm an idiot

January 8th, 2010
1:14 pm

No tech commit could ever be better than a dog commit. How can the dogs not be ranked, we’re 8-5 for xhrist sake and played Tennessee even in the 4th quarter. We were clearly better than alabama by the end of the year

UGA fan

January 8th, 2010
1:15 pm

We NEED DT’s and big CB’s. No more 5′7 cornerbacks.

Chip Towers

January 8th, 2010
1:17 pm

D(r)ooley: I was there and, indeed, there was a ball or two Da’Rick Rogers might could have come down with in the Under Armour Game. But that had more to do with quarterback play than Rogers, in my opinion.

Brandon

January 8th, 2010
1:18 pm

Interesting that Garrison Smith is all the way down to #20 on this list. Scout has him as the #1 DT in the nation, a top 10 overall player, and #1 player in the state of GA. I’m not saying they are right, but that is a HUGE discrepency.
When it’s all said and done and we look back, I think Storm Johnson will prove himself to be the best RB from this state in this class, and that Mack Brown will not be in the top 3. Ken Malcome might bulk up and get moved to FB.

hiveredtech

January 8th, 2010
1:18 pm

How on earth does Denzel McCoy get over 30 offers and not make the Georgia Top 50? He had offers from GT, Alabama, Miami, Tennessee, Notre Dame, FSU, Auburn, Stanford, Clemson, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Oregon, Kentucky, California, Louisville, NCState, etc. etc. etc.

Chip Towers

January 8th, 2010
1:23 pm

Jerry Glanville: I’ve deleted your post because, as stated often of late, you’re not to post using the names of real-life players and coaches. But to answer your question, Henry Anderson and Juwan Thompson were noted and duly discussed but did not make the cut. . . . Remember, use another handle please.

D(r)ooley

January 8th, 2010
1:26 pm

Chip – I know Da’Rick is a great player and Georgia is fortunate to have him coming to Athens.

Larry

January 8th, 2010
1:27 pm

I agree that Da’rick had some Da’rops at the UA game, but the QBs were even worse. Every recruiting expert has talked about how raw/weak the QB class is this year. It will be interesting to see how it plays out in a few years. What was encouraging about Da’Rick is that he dominated the top talent in practice all week. After watching Nash Nance this year, I bet that he would have done better than everyone on Da’Rick’s team except for Cory Rettig.

Jax Dawg

January 8th, 2010
1:29 pm

Chip. Why is Garrison Smith so low on your top 50 and the website guys have him through the roof?

Vinings Dawg

January 8th, 2010
1:30 pm

This list is a joke. Only a few players from Region 1AAAAA. The best football is played there. Camden needs to be in that region. An obvious metro slant.

Chip Towers

January 8th, 2010
1:35 pm

Brandon: Interesting indeed regarding Garrison Smith. He may well turn out to be an All-American at Georgia and a high NFL draftee. But as a high school senior this past season he toiled on a very bad team (0-10 or 1-9 I think) and was suspended for one game. I argued for him being a little higher. But no matter, he’s great prospect. . . .

hiveredtech: McCoy is a super young man and good player. But reporters who covered his games and coaches that went against Northview did not view him as a difference maker. McCoy’s got a full ride with the ACC champions so he could have the last laugh.

Chip is a Mutt!

January 8th, 2010
1:36 pm

Hey Hivered,

You are right. If McCoy had committed later in the process or committed to the lordly cesspool he would be to 10. What a joke. Another Bud Light example of “Real Men of Genius”

jimmy

January 8th, 2010
1:37 pm

check rivals we down to 10

DJ

January 8th, 2010
1:38 pm

With regards to the questions about the Smith kid, maybe the number of paid subscribers on here don’t influence rankings like Rivals or Scout???

GeoffDawg

January 8th, 2010
2:09 pm

Surprised at how low Garrison Smith and Mack Brown are ranked but as you said, their on field production played a big part in that. By that same note though, shouldn’t Hutson Mason be a lot higher?

freshd

January 8th, 2010
2:11 pm

i saw Rogers twice and he is a good looking player but he seems to take plays off. the first time i saw him was in the state championship game against Buford and he was shut down by a couple of 5′ 9″ cornerbacks, and I saw him in the UA, where he droppped some balls.

UGAly

January 8th, 2010
2:19 pm

Laughable. I guess it shows the business side of “journalism” that you must tout some over others to try and please all of your readership base. I’d like you to come back in 5 years to rerank these players based on how they actually performed.

just the messenger

January 8th, 2010
2:24 pm

I have personally spoken with a player who’s team played against McCoy. Not that great, good but not great. Good luck to him and his family he is about to get a GREAT EDUCATION and hopefully coached up by a great new DC. Giff Smith is a good DL coach!!!!!!

Brandon

January 8th, 2010
2:24 pm

freshd – if you saw Rogers play against Buford, you probably also saw a perfect example of how a very good, well coached football team defense can make it difficult on a another team’s star player when they are not any other weapons of his caliber on offense. Roger’s was not shut down by 1 player. He did make some plays. However, he was doubled a lot, and had coveraged rolled his way. I thought Buford’s coaches out-coached Calhoun. They should have created a couple of plays Buford hadn’t seen before to get Rogers out in space and to counteract what Buford was doing, but that didn’t happen. Also, Buford’s front 7 gave them fits all day long. It doesn’t matter how fast or quick a WR is if the QB can’t set his feet and make good throws.

WestOfAthens

January 8th, 2010
2:29 pm

It’s good to know CMR and CRG have built a strong fence around this state. Top talent stays home, at least according to some sources. Hey, they (recruiting rankings) are all an opinion anyway, right?

Some of UGA’s best players have emerged from the shadows I think i will just take a wait and see approach.

Dawgie Bowser

January 8th, 2010
2:38 pm

I’d like to see some new players that have some integrity and can stay out of jail. Colt Mccoy is a class act. I especially liked the after game interview. “I’m standing on the rock.” His words were from the heart and will remain with me for a long time to come. Great guy, we need more like him.

Preston

January 8th, 2010
2:41 pm

Chip, can you tell us if the Air Force DC is being considered at UGA?

GT Option

January 8th, 2010
2:51 pm

Hey West of Athens….CRG has enough money in his bag to pay for a real strong fence around this state!

good year to my yellow jackets

January 8th, 2010
2:52 pm

ACC champions ranked 13th in final polls, Dogs unranked despite Independence Bowl win

What Game Were You Watching, Brandon?

January 8th, 2010
2:53 pm

Ryan Dillard was manned up on Rogers about 50 pecent of the time in that game. The only balls Rogers caught were a couple of comebacks and tunnel/bubble screens. When he did catch the ball, Buford made sure to fly to the ball to keep him from turning a 5-yard catch into a 50-yard TD (which is what he did all season). Rogers eventually scored on a 15-yard reverse.

Ryan will be one of the top DB’s in the nation for the class of 2012. While manned up on Rogers, he batted down a ball on the first drive and had a pick in the fourth quarter when Rogers tried to run by him on a go route.

Simply put, Rogers is NOT the top player in the state. He might be the top TALENT, not the top player. He’s always been the biggest, fastest kid on the field. Always been able to run by or jump over people. Tai-ler Jones is a better receiver at this point. Runs better, smoother routes, catches the ball with his hands.

Rogers could end up being great in college and play in the NFL because he’s so physically gifted. But right now, he needs a lot of work.

In fact — and I know this sounds crazy to most folks — I don’t see him playing a lot next season. At this point, he’s not better than Green (of course), King (whose records he broke), or Troup (who improved throughout the season). Maybe he’s as good as Durham or Wooten, but they have a leg up on him because they know the offense.

This is not crapping on the Rogers. He’s an athletic freak. But Ryan Dillard and the rest of Buford’s back seven showed that athletic ability is not enough when it counts. Don’t know about Rogers’ work ethic. If he has a solid one, eventually, he’ll be a star. If he doesn’t, he’ll be Fred Gibson.

Sad Reality

January 8th, 2010
2:59 pm

But can #1 Da’Rick read and write. I thought I read that his SAT scores and HS GPA were not so good. Will he qualify?

GeoffDawg

January 8th, 2010
2:59 pm

Do we really have to get into this ACC Champs = tallest midget debate again?

Nilo Silvan

January 8th, 2010
3:04 pm

JaWuan James seems ranked a little low. He was said to be the best pro prospect of all of the offensive linemen at the Under Armour game.

HS Fan

January 8th, 2010
3:05 pm

Funny how UT offered Nance but he doesn’t make the top 50. I hope he stays with Vandy because he might get to play there, will get a great education, and will learn a lot from a great person (Bobby Johnson). Kedron Aker # 10 of CHS hasn’t seemed to have received a lot of press but I saw him play 5 games this year and he is impressive.
And for those of you who only saw Da’Rick play Buford and the UA game you missed some superstar catches and runs this year. Most talent I have ever seen in HS but we will see how he matures. An ex-NFL probowler who is an assist. coach said he has the physical skills to play in the NFL today and that should be something the UGA coaches can work with

Nilo Silvan

January 8th, 2010
3:06 pm

Sad Reality–I have heard that Rogers has not qualified yet, won’t be an easy task getting him into school for next year.

collegeballfan

January 8th, 2010
3:07 pm

Chip. Couple of things I find disturbing. I am a Tech fan first but a strong UGA fan #2. Having given that caveat, here is what is disturbing. GT has 9 players committed, UGA has 9 players committed & UGA is in the hunt on 2 more. That totals 20 of the top players.
That means 30 of the top 50 players in Georgia are going out of state!

THAT SUCKS!

Kentucky almost looks like an in-state school and Alabama is over here eating dessert. Richt and Johnson have got to keep more players in the state.

chipperdawg

January 8th, 2010
3:07 pm

Top 2 committed and a chance at 2 more of your top 5 (and I think we’ll get one of them). I like my Dawgs having “picks of the litter!!” Here’s hoping Kirby is coming to help coach’em up!!!!

HS Fan

January 8th, 2010
3:10 pm

The problem Da’Rick might have being cleared ny the NCAA is the fact he was homeschooled his 9th grade yr. His academic ability although not as good as his athletic ability, will be fine if he chooses… kind of like running his routes when he isn’t going to get the ball… a lot less effort

Tech fan

January 8th, 2010
3:16 pm

Glad to see Tech loading up on defensive players + the best RB in the state (according to this). It’s a small class for Tech but a good one. Hopefully these guys will get a chance to play for Al Groh as the new DC.

Tech fan

January 8th, 2010
3:18 pm

collegefootballfan- Georgia only has two D1 schools with over 100 D1 prospects. Tech has limited scholarships (13 I think) and 12 went to in-staters. Johnson is trying to keep these kids in-state, trust me. UGA and GT can’t get them all.

Eddie

January 8th, 2010
3:34 pm

The days of unlimited scholorships is long gone. A lot of good prospects in Georgia. They are can’t go to Tech and Ga.

WA Eagle

January 8th, 2010
3:34 pm

No Way you can leave Henry Anderson and Juwan Thompson off this list! Juwan carried the ball over 200 times over the last 2 years and had only 3 or 4 fumbles! On top of that , the D knew he was getting the ball almost every time and he still ran for over 1200 yds, at least 3or4 games only playing a half! As for Henry, he was double teamed almost every play and still dominated every week. Next off , check out his highlights on you tube and see how he chases the ball. Never takes a play off. I think you guys forget about the workhorses and focus more on the glitz and glamour…I’m just sayin’!!!!!

collegeballfan

January 8th, 2010
3:35 pm

Tech fan – I see you point. But UGA is signing 24 players & GT is signing 14 to 17, depending on who goes NFL, a total of about 40 between them. Twenty of the top 50, per this list admittedly, is just not good enough.

And I realize Johnson is making an effort for in state players, unlike some of his predecessors. I just want to keep the better players in the state.

Jay

January 8th, 2010
3:38 pm

It’s interesting that these AJC people have Antonio Goodwin as the #36 player in the state and ESPN has him as the #24 player in the country.

Jay

January 8th, 2010
3:42 pm

After Whitaker and Thornton sign w/ Auburn that will be 6 of the top 50, by your rankings anyway. I will take that.

fan

January 8th, 2010
3:50 pm

i no jay goodwin he need be rank higher than that to me he is the best wr. in the state of ga. hands down

ugaaccountant

January 8th, 2010
3:54 pm

If Tai’ler Jones is only the 22nd best player in Georgia in your opinion, and the AJC is clearly a fan of his so probably overranking him, then why does he get the most articles about him? Drama isn’t what the legit media should be following, leave that to reality tv.

Coprophagia Bulldog

January 8th, 2010
3:54 pm

We is the best in the country. Next year we will win the NC and the year after that. We will be so good that we will only play 10 men to make games more interesting!,

Frank

January 8th, 2010
4:25 pm

Nice list, is ist 100% accurate? Who knows, but it is a good list for discussion, and all of the players on it deserve to be there. Are there others who belong? Probably.
I think most of us agree this is just “candy” to get us through to signing day, and then we can argue until the spring games. I already am ready for kick off.

THWGT!!!!

Johnny Test

January 8th, 2010
4:56 pm

You just never know.. Reshad Jones was at the top of this list and never lived up to his billing.. Where was David Pollack and David Green on this list years ago? They were not on it. Give me a 3 star David Pollack any day.

We got some good players on paper but….. we shall see.