*Best player: Rome’s Adam Anderson is the No. 2 OLB prospect in the nation, according to 247Sports’ Composite Ratings. Stockbridge’s Benton Cox is the No. 2 strongside DE prospect. Both were their region’s defensive player of the year in 2016. If forced to choose, let’s go with Anderson, the AJC’s choice as Class AAAAA defensive player of the year. Anderson won a state title. Dameon Pierce of Bainbridge (more than 4,500 career rushing yards) and Marquez Ezzard of Stockbridge (212 receiving yards and three touchdowns vs. Rome in the semifinals) are pretty special, too.
*Best position: Running back. Three of GHSF Daily’s top 10 at the position, as featured Wednesday, are in this class – Rome’s Jalynn Sykes, Ola’s Chris Rodriguez and Bainbridge’s Dameon Pierce. And Buford RB/LB Anthony Grant, a Tennessee commit who had 1,450 rushing yards last season, is included here and in our Top 10 series for his two-way skills. Not making the AAAAA team below are Grant’s Buford teammate Christian Turner, who is committed to Michigan; Sykes’ Rome teammate Jamious Griffin, who rushed for 1,443 yards last season; Cole Gilley of Starr’s Mill, who ran for 1,666 yards; and Kell’s Josiah Futral, who tallied 1,600 yards from scrimmage.
*Highly recruited: Cox (committed to Ohio State) is the consensus No. 19 prospect nationally, No. 4 in Georgia. Anderson is No. 40 and No. 8. He’s a former LSU and UGA commit now leaning back to Georgia.
*Lowly recruited: Austin Donaldson of Stockbridge was the best offensive lineman on a semifinal team that averaged 250 yards rushing. Richard Taylor is a three-year starter on the line at rising Arabia Mountain and has several Ivy League offers. Both were first-team all-region. Neither is a major prospect, yet.
*What else is new? Defending champion Rome has four players on the team, and three spend time on the defensive line. They are DT JaQuon Griffin (committed to LSU), DE Jamarcus Chatman (Tennessee) and Anderson. Not making the all-state list is Rome DT/DE T.J. Cammack, a Navy commit. Cammack, according to Rome coach John Reid, “might be the best of the D-line.” Heck of a compliment.
QB – Justin Tomlin, Southwest DeKalb, Sr.
RB – Dameon Pierce, Bainbridge, Sr.
RB – Chris Rodriguez, Ola, Sr.
RB – Jalynn Sykes, Rome, Sr.
WR – Marquez Ezzard, Stockbridge, Sr.
WR – Tyler Gillis, Buford, Sr.
OL – Christian Armstrong, Warner Robins, Sr.
OL – Austin Donaldson, Stockbridge, Sr.
OL – James Ohonba, Woodland (Stockbridge), Sr.
OL – Jalynn Strickland, Ware County, Sr.
OL – Richard Taylor, Arabia Mountain, Sr.
ATH – Anthony Grant, Buford, Sr.
PK – Michael Lantz, Starr’s Mill, Jr.
DL – Jamarcus Chatman, Rome, Sr.
DL – Brenton Cox, Stockbridge, Sr.
DL – JaQuon Griffin, Rome, Sr.
DL – Dante Walker, Riverdale, Jr.
LB/DE – Adam Anderson, Rome, Sr.
LB/DE – Caleb Tannor, Miller Grove, Sr.
LB – Ernest Jones, Ware County, Sr.
LB/DB – Reid Dedman, Carrollton, Jr.
DB – Donte Burton, Loganville, Sr.
DB – Trey Dean, Dutchtown, Sr.
DB – Nasir Green, Stockbridge, Sr.
DB – Quindarious Monday, Carver (Atlanta), Sr.
P – Eli Mashburn, Warner Robins, Sr.
Coming Friday: Class AAAA
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