We are on the doorstep of the 2019 football season in Georgia! Down below we have posted our Top 10 Rankings for every classification in the GHSA with a write-up about each #1 selection with a bubble section included as well.
These are our my initial thoughts on who the best teams are in Class 1-A through 7-A, and we will be updating weekly throughout the 2019 season, so please stay tune for more coverage. Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom and share your thoughts! Also, be sure check out all of our preseason content by clicking MORE PRESEASON.
3. Colquitt Co.
6. North Gwinnett
10. Tift Co.
BUBBLE: Roswell, Hillgrove, Collins Hill, Forsyth Central, Westlake, Cherokee, Camden Co., Brookwood, Mill Creek, Walton & East Coweta
Parkview – Last year’s young squad was led by all Gwinnett County athlete Malik Washington, but he’s now off to Northwestern. In return, the Panthers bring back a strong core of upperclassmen that have a ton of experience under their belt now. Jordan Williams is an underrated signal-caller who threw for 1976 yards at a 68% clip and 14 touchdowns. Junior Cody Brown is quite possibly the state’s best running back, and at 6′ 220 lbs., the explosive athlete will be looking to improve on his 1589 yard and 25 touchdown season. Can he eclipse 2k yards? The Panthers will be riding Brown to success. Bookend tackles Tyler Wagner and Jackson Wall both stand 6’5″ and weigh at 290 lbs., in the middle senior Zachary Nerbonne is underrated player – the trio have a tremendous motor when blocking. Senior receiver CJ Daniels is a smoother operator that will benefit from Parkview’s run game. On the defensive side Parkview has two preseason All-State linebackers in Kobe Wilson and Antonio Ward. The duo figure to be one of the more dynamic linebacker pairing in the state. Peachtree Ridge transfer Mason Huntley is very quick off the ball and looks to be a difference-maker at defensive tackle. Parkview secondary is stacked with FBS caliber-talent with junior Quincy Bryant as the headliner. Watch their ball-controlling offense really breakdown defenses with Cody Brown’s effect on the game, and their defense should prove to be one of the best in the state – that’s a good recipe for 2019 success.
1. Lee Co.
BUBBLE: Stephenson, Dacula, Alpharetta, Creekview, Sequoyah, Dalton, Centennial, Dalton, Johns Creek, Glynn Academy, South Paulding, Northgate & Bradwell Institute
Lee Co. – Last year, Class 6-A was the most predictable unpredictable class in the entire state. At the top, Lee County never faltered, and was locked into the #1 spot for all of 2018 in our rankings, but through 2-10, it was utter chaos. That could be much the same in 2019, and at the top, again, we have to go with Lee County. Kyle Toole, who committed to Troy over the summer, returns again as the starter. His surgeon like approach at QB resulted in 3072 yards, 33 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions, but perhaps the most important stat, he was undefeated. He has a number of options at receiver, but no one better than the ultra-talented junior Chauncey Magwood. Both him and fellow junior linebacker Baron Hopson have been starters at Lee Co. dating back to their freshman year, where they impressed in the Corky Kell Classic, and this year both make the preseason All-State team. Wing Green and Parker Rogers are two of the strongest offensive linemen in the state with lifts that exceed 600 lbs. A big transfer over the summer was 2018 All-State returner Caleb McDowell; he was Bainbridge’s hatchet-man that did everything in route to their state title run in 5-A. Lee County deserves to be at the top, they have won back-to-back state titles, but is this team as good as last year’s? A cursory look, and there is potentially more chinks in their 2019 armor, and that will have every 6-A team swinging for that top spot.
2. Warner Robins
6. Jones Co.
8. Ware Co.
BUBBLE: Griffin, New Hampstead, South Effingham, Wayne Co., Locust Grove, Clarke Central, Starr’s Mill, Harris Co., Loganville, Banneker, & Cedar Shoals
Dutchtown – No other classification is more wide open right now than Class 5-A. Just look back at last year’s state playoffs where Bainbridge came not just out of left field, but from underneath a car in the parking lot to win the state title 47-41 over Warner Robins – which will certainly go down in state lore as one of the greatest title games ever. For the last few years coach Fedd at Dutchtown has been building a winner, and in 2019, his team looks to be at the top of the heap. On offense, they have do-it-all athlete Nate McCollum who is currently committed to NC State. Flip over to the defensive side of the football to Alabama commit William Anderson, who is looking to repeat another 20 sack season – the 2020 star is widely considered one of the best pass-rushers in the country. Junior quarterback Arendez Fedd is a fire-plug of an athlete with a powerful arm that has two years of experience attached to his resume. Lining up with Anderson on the defensive line is Louisville commit Dezmond Tell, and flanking Anderson is Solomon Riggins who provides additional pressure. The Dutchtown d-line unit is as explosive and disruptive as any unit in the state. At safety Tyler Nelome made our preseason All-State honors and Devin DeLaine is a legit D1 talent with a good feel for the game too. Coach Fedd came over from Brooks County in 2017, and brought that south Georgia swagger to the program with an emphasis in the weight room, and in 2019, the Bulldogs might just see their hard work that starts in the offseason end with a championship.
3. Blessed Trinity
7. St. Pius
8. Flowery Branch
9. Woodward Academy
10. Mary Persons
BUBBLE: Ridgeland, Eastside, Burke County, North Oconee, Oconee Co., Upson-Lee, Pickens Co., Stephens Co., Perry, Cedartown, Carver-Columbus & Sandy Creek
Cartersville – It was all supposed to be over when Trevor Lawrence left in 2017, but the 2018 Hurricanes didn’t seem to get the memo, and don’t expect the 2019 edition to be any different. Returning is Tee Webb, the Louisville QB commit who threw for 2726 passing yards and 39 touchdowns his first year as the true starter. Ultimately, Cartersville came up short last season against Blessed Trinity in the state title, where the Titans separated themselves in the 2nd half to win 23-9. That lauded 2019 class at Blessed Trinity has now finally graduated, and Cartersville returns an experienced squad that is prime to repeat as state title attendees, but this time with a victory in hand. Losing Marcus Gary to graduation will be no small task, he rushed for 1456 yards and 21 total touchdowns his senior year, but the Hurricanes are returning a lot of key contributors across the board. On the offensive line seniors Jonah Gambill, Blake Woods and Matthew Surrett are earth movers that compose the best unit in the classification. Their defensive backfield is one of the best in the state of Georgia with versatile safeties Evan Slocum and Marko Dudley surveying the field, while cornerbacks Marquail Coaxum and Devonte Ross lock down receivers. Class 4-A is a very talented classification with 5-6 teams all with a legit argument for the #1 spot, can Cartersville stay afloat and win their 15th game of the season?
1. Peach Co.
3. Cedar Grove
4. Pierce Co.
8. Pace Acd.
BUBBLE: Lovett, Monroe Area, Crisp Co., North Hall, Sonoraville, Morgan Co., SE Bulloch, Liberty Co., Jefferson, Appling Co., Cook & Hart Co.
Peach Co. – Peach has been to the state title twice in a row, and in 2019 look to see that trend end with a championship. Jaydon Gibson returns with right at 2500 yards of total yardage in 2018. He is surrounded by a wide range of play-makers, but perhaps the most explosive is senior slot Noah Whittingham, who is still perhaps most famous for the out of bounds call from the 2017 state title game. Peach is as deep as any small team across the country with rich talent on either side of ball. Sergio Allen is an elite linebacker that has compiled over 200 tackles the last few seasons – he is committed to play football at Clemson. Junior Terrence Ferguson is one of the best offensive linemen in the state and seniors Jamarian Lockhart, Octavious King and Bryce McGuire do a terrific job carving out space. This is a strong senior class headlined by several FBS recruits in CB Daelen Smith, ATH Justin Harris, DL Jaqualin McGhee and the aforementioned Whittingham. Expectations are sky-high right now at Peach, and with the proper ratio of experience and talent, they claim the #1 spot in our polls.
3. Hapeville Charter
4. Rabun Co.
5. Brooks Co.
7. Heard Co.
BUBBLE: Swainsboro, Chattooga, Washington Co., Elbert Co., Douglass-ATL, Toomb Co., Hephzibah, Screven Co., Jefferson Co., Berrien, Jeff Davis & Dodge Co.
Callaway – The state has gone pass-happy but 2-A is not a complete believer just yet. In 2018, the state title featured two run-heavy teams clashing together with Heard County defeating Rockmart 27-6. Turning the page to 2019, and our pick for the #1 spot is another run-heavy team in Callaway. Tank Bigsby ended up leading all of Class 2-A with 2221 rushing yards last season and was clutch down the finish with 700 yards in the playoffs, including a dominating win against top ranked Hapeville Charter. Pairing up with Bigsby in the backfield is the ultra-athletic quarterback Jacob Freeman. He does good job of running the RPO, sells his fakes well, and that keeps the defenses from completely keying in on Bigsby. Preseason All-State offensive linemen and Auburn commit Tate Johnson figures to be the key piece on the OL, but Callaway will also have to replace key linemen Jaiden Cameron and Keiondre Jones due to graduation. SR Markus Morman is an underrated slot receiver and JR Jalin Shephard is one of the best cornerbacks in the state with outstanding instincts. This will be a tough class to stay at the top for the entire season. Class 2-A, relative to their talent base, is one of the deepest of any classification in the state of Georgia.
Class A Public
1. Clinch Co.
2. Irwin Co.
4. Mitchell Co.
6. Mt. Zion-Carrollton
7. Schley Co.
8. Marion Co.
9. Turner Co.
BUBBLE: ECI, Claxton, Montgomery Co., Greene Co., Jenkins Co., Trion, Wilcox Co., Manchester, Hancock Central & Bowden
Clinch Co. – This was the toughest pick by far in our rankings. Irwin Co. and Clinch Co. have been fighting tooth and nail for the last few years now. Irwin Co’s Buddy Nobles is no-doubt a great coach, and this year’s senior-laden team returns with the classifications returning leader in rushing with DJ Lundy, but Clinch Co. also has a ton of talent heading into 2019. This offseason, Don Tison was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach at Clinch after legendary coach Jim Dickerson decided to retire. Junior Tyler Morehead was the engine of the team last year with his two-way ability, and someone Tison will lean on heavily. The speedy athlete had over 1100 yards rushing and 7 interceptions as a sophomore. On defense, several preseason All-State picks look to make an impact. Craig Harris is a huge defensive tackle weighing over 300 lbs., while Darius Dorsey is one of the more underrated linebackers in the entire state. True, they lose do-it-all athlete Trezmen Marshall to UGA, but Dorsey’s emergence senior year should certainly lessen that blow. The towering 6’7″ Florida commit Jeremiah Johnson proved why he is one of the toughest match-ups in Georgia during the state title game last year with 3 receptions for 100 yards and two scores – arguably the the deciding factor in the game. The junior finished the year with 550 yards on just 21 receptions with 6 touchdowns. Senior Michael Walker is a two-way slot/defensive back that can break off explosive plays.
Class A Private
2. Athens Academy
3. Prince Ave.
6. Hebron Christian
7. Calvary Day
8. Fellowship Christian
9. Mount De Sales
10. Whitefield Acd.
BUBBLE: Mount Paran Christian, Brookstone, George Walton Acd., Savannah Christian, Mt Vernon Presbyterian, North Cobb Christian & Riverside Military
ELCA – The Chargers stormed away with the state championship in 2018 with another victory over Athens Academy. The 44-17 shellacking produced their 2nd title over the Spartans in just the last two seasons. ELCA has been dominant over the last decade in Class A Private winning 9 consecutive region championships and 4 consecutive state titles now. Senior running back Keaton Mitchell had 49 touchdowns last season and 2509 yards. Offensive linemen Sherick Rhodes and Bryson Estes both made preseason All-State, continuing a line of dominance in the trenches that has been the hallmark of any Charger squad. Devon Dorsey and Justin Robinson are matchup problems at receiver, they will be looking to connect with new QB Gabe Wright, who has mostly played in mop-up duty until now. On the defensive side of the ball Marquise Black is a dominating force that will look to repeat as All-State.