Best player in school history: Region 8-AAAA teams

A Whitefield player warms up before a high school football game against Mount Paran Christian, Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, in Kennesaw, Ga.

Branden Camp/Special to the AJC.

There are not many easy choices as the best-ever players in the history of the Region 8-AAAA schools.

Bryant Shirreffs, in his third season as starting quarterback at UConn, gets the nod at Jefferson over Dennis Law, the first Dragon to make the NFL. Shirreffs led Jefferson to its first state title in 2012, when he passed for 2,369 yards, rushed for 1,372 and had a hand in 38 touchdowns.

Oconee County’s Tony Taylor beat out high school and college teammate Tyson Browning. They were part of the Warriors’ 1999 state title team before playing together at Georgia. Taylor played briefly in the NFL.

Geno Smith is the only two-time first-team all-state player and AJC Super 11 member from St. Pius. Grant Holloman, Nick and Philip Rogers and David Beakin are some other Lions that were strongly considered.

At Stephens County, Pat Swilling is easily the most accomplished player, a star at Georgia Tech and the NFL, although Ken Swilling as a more decorated high school player.

Chris Smith, Madison County’s current head coach, got all-state recognition before going on to Presbyterian.

The one school where there’s little doubt is North Oconee. Kawon Bryant’s 6,903 career rushing yards rank eighth on the all-time Georgia list. Bryant is now playing at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Ala.

*Jefferson: Bryant Shirreffs (2012)

*Madison County: Chris Smith (1991)

*North Oconee: Kawon Bryant (2014)

*Oconee County: Tony Taylor (2001)

*St. Pius: Geno Smith (2011)

*Stephens County: Pat Swilling (1981)

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