Best player in school history: Region 5-AAAAA teams

Quincy Carter, who led Southwest DeKalb to a state championship and was named Georgia’s all-classification player of the year, went on to play at Georgia and in the NFL. (AJC file photo)

There was no helicopter flying over Southwest DeKalb in 1995, when Quincy Carter committed to Georgia Tech. But if recruiting were as crazy then as it is now, Carter would’ve gotten the Justin Fields treatment too.

Today, Fields is the No. 1 dual-threat QB prospect in the country. He committed to Georgia on Friday as the paparazzi sought him out at Harrison High in Kennesaw.

In 1995, the state’s dual-threat QB phenom was Carter, a Parade All-American and Georgia’s all-class player of the year after leading Southwest DeKalb to a state championship. In fact, one could argue that Carter was the best dual-threat quarterback that Georgia had seen until Cam Newton, unless one goes back another generation to Fran Tarkenton.

Carter took a detour into professional baseball in the Chicago Cubs organization, then re-emerged at Georgia (instead of Georgia Tech) as a 20-year-old true-freshman starting quarterback in 1998. He would leave Georgia as the second-leading passer in school history (6,447 yards). Carter went on to play five seasons in the NFL.

Carter is GHSF Daily’s choice as the best player in Southwest DeKalb’s history.

As a matter of note, the most accomplished player from schools in the current Region 5-AAAAA would be Steve Wallace, who played 12 seasons in the NFL and won Super Bowls with the 49ers. But Wallace, while a good player at Chamblee, never made an all-state team.

The pick for Chamblee is Andy Spiva, the AJC’s lineman of the year from Class AAA in 1972. Spiva went on to an all-SEC career at Tennessee and is still regarded as one of the best linebackers in Vols history. He played briefly in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons, but his career was derailed by a knee injury. Spiva was killed in an automobile accident in 1979.

Another of this region’s best-ever choices also died tragically. Jesse Tarplin of Cross Keys was a first-team all-state player who would become a two-year starter at linebacker at Georgia Tech, where he would gain all-ACC recognition. Tarplin became a MARTA police officer. He was killed in 2015 during a traffic accident while working a funeral procession.

Here are GHSF Daily’s picks as the best players in the history of the current Region 5-AAAAA.

*Arabia Mountain: Breshad Perriman (2010)

*Chamblee: Andy Spiva (1972)

*Clarkston: Robert O’Neal (1988)

*Columbia: Henry Harris (1982)

*Cross Keys: Jesse Tarplin (1994)

*Lithonia: Kelvin Kight (1999)

*Miller Grove: Stephen Hill (2008)

*Southwest DeKalb: Quincy Carter (1995)

Best player in school history series

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