Buford, the school that claims six state championships over the past seven seasons, is moving up to Class AAAA this season, but it’s more than obvious from GHSF Daily’s preseason all-state team that the Wolves will not be unarmed in the higher classification.
Six Buford players made the list, and none would be called a sleeper. DL Quay Picou (Tennessee), OL Nick Polino (North Carolina), LB Austin Smith (Tennessee) and PK Matt Bonadies (UAB) have committed to Division I schools. LB/RB Joshua Thomas, perhaps the team’s best all-around player last season, a 1,000-yard rusher who made all-state as a linebacker, is the No. 62 consensus prospect in Georgia. TE/DL Isaac Nauta is the No. 3 consensus recruit among juniors.
Then consider some of the Buford players who didn’t make our list – DB David Curry is committed to Virginia. RB/DB Evyn Cooper has 13 offers, including those from Georgia and Georgia Tech. And Blake Ferguson, committed to LSU, is rated the No. 1 long snapper in the state.
Don’t expect Griffin, the reigning champion, to concede, however. The Bears have three preseason all-state players. So does perennial contender Sandy Creek. Marist, North Oconee and Woodward Academy have two each.
The team is led by Westover DT Trenton Thompson, the consensus No. 1 recruit in Georgia.
QB – Caleb Shiflett, Northwest Whitfield, Sr.
RB – Shannon Brooks, Pickens, Sr.
RB – Kawon Bryant, North Oconee, Sr.
RB – Eric Swinney, Sandy Creek, Sr.
WR – Keyston Fuller, Griffin, Sr.
WR – Christian Owens, Griffin, Sr.
TE – Isaac Nauta, Buford, Jr.
OL – Ben Cleveland, Stephens County, Jr.
OL – Sage Hardin, Marist, Sr.
OL – Mitch Mathes, Troup, Sr.
OL – Nick Polino, Buford, Sr.
OL – Chandler Tuitt, Sandy Creek, Jr.
PK – Matthew Bonadies, Buford, Sr.
DL – Kenneth Brinson, Marist, Sr.
DL – Austin Bryant, Thomas County Central, Sr.
DL – Quay Picou, Buford, Sr.
DL – Trenton Thompson, Westover, Sr.
LB – J.L. Banks, North Oconee, Sr.
LB – Jordan Colbert, Griffin, Sr.
LB – Austin Smith, Buford, Sr.
LB – Joshua Thomas, Buford, Sr.
DB – Rashaad Bolton, Veterans, Sr.
DB – Arrington Farrar, Woodward Academy, Sr.
DB – Richard LeCounte, Liberty County, So.
DB – Brian Miller, Sandy Creek, Sr.
P – William Collings, Woodward Academy, Sr.
Coming Thursday: Class AAA preseason all-state team.
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