We are right on the heels of the 2017 Georgia high school football season, so we are rolling out our preseason All-State teams for every classification in the state of Georgia this week. Underneath the All-State selections we wrote about each player selected, our thoughts, and various stats. Also, be sure to checkout additional Preseason All-State selections by clicking HERE.
QB – Michael Barrett, Lowndes
RB – Dante Black, Brookwood
RB – Paris Brown, McEachern
RB – Maxwell Guggemos, Lakeside
WR – Ramel Keyton, Marietta
WR – Malachi Carter, Mountain View
WR – Louis Hall, Woodstock
WR – Matthew Hill, Brookwood
TE – Chigoziem Okonkwo, Hillgrove
OL – Ches Jackson, Tift Co.
OL – Casey Holmon, Brookwood
OL – John Harris, Mill Creek
OL – Jalen Goss, Lowndes
OL – Warren Ericson, North Gwinnett
OL – Blake Watson, Milton
K – Ryan Fitzgerald, Colquitt Co.
ATH – Jaylen McCollough, Hillgrove
DL – Darnell Jeffries, Newton
DL – Robert Cooper, South Gwinnett
DL – Latrell Bankston, Woodstock
DL – Azeez Olujari, Marietta
DL – Thurman Geathers II, North Cobb
LB – JJ Peterson, Colquitt Co.
LB – Owen Pappoe, Grayson
LB – Tyler Bird, North Paulding
LB – Benjamin Tooks, Duluth
CB – Kenneth Dicks III, Lambert
CB – Taiyon Palmer, Archer
CB – Myles Sims, Westlake
S – Derrik Allen, Lassiter
S – Reagan Lake, Kennesaw Mountain
S – Tommy Rogers, Parkview
P – Jackson Gravely, North Paulding
RET – Cameron Cobb, Tift Co.
Class 7-A is the largest classification in the state of Georgia and this is the 2nd year in it’s history. Last season, Roswell and Grayson tussled in the state championship game keeping everyone on the edge of their seat. Grayson made a late 4 quarter push to tie it up and send the game into overtime where they eventually won 23-20 on a made field goal. Heading into this season 7-A is wide open, and will feature the highest percentage talent the state of Georgia has to offer.
Moving right over to the offensive side of the ball which is headlined by Lowndes amazing dual-threat Michael Barrett. Last season he carried the offensive load totaling 4036 yards and 48 touchdowns. He is returning as both the 2nd leading rusher (1283 yards) and passer (2753 yards) in Class 7-A. He was also the most efficient QB in the classification with a 133.7 QBR.
Dante Black makes our selection at running back. The Brookwood student-athlete only played in 6 games last year, but rushed for 739 yards and 8 touchdowns in the 2nd half of the season. He will have one of the best offensive lines in Georgia this year. Paris Brown from McEachern is an electrifying junior who rushed for 1147 yards, making him the 3rd returning rusher in Class 7-A. We are expecting the Indians to be a very run-heavy team this year, so expect Brown to only improve from last year’s numbers. Lakeside senior Maxwell Guggemos is the leading returning rusher in the classification with 1344 yards and 16 touchdowns. Perhaps even more impressive is that he did it in just 8 games and during that span averaged 168 yards per game. The 2nd closest player was almost 40 yards away from the powerful back out of Lakeside.
Ramel Keyton was the favorite target last year at Marietta High School for sophomore QB Harrison Bailey. The two really built a connection and last season he led the whole classification with 1347 yards in just 10 games. The junior runs elite routes, tracks the deep pass really well, and has great ball skills leaping up for the pass. Malachi Carter had 1012 yards receiving last season which ranked at the top in 7-A. The Mountain View senior collected 58 receptions and scored 11 touchdowns which earned him Gwinnett County Wide Receiver of the Year. Louis Hall from Woodstock led the state of Georgia with 97 receptions last year. The new Furman commit had just over 1000 yards receiving and two long returns for a touchdown on special teams. Brookwood’s Matthew Hill is one of the best athletes in Georgia. While Black was out earlier in the year, he received carries at RB and rushed for 625 yards and 8 TD’s. When Black returned he moved over to his primary WR position and caught 41 passes, 849 yards receiving (20.7 ypc) and 9 touchdowns. Chigoziem Okonkwo is a big athlete at 6’3″ 220 pounds who played really well his junior year for Hillgrove. The 2018 tight end had 907 yards, 48 receptions and 12 touchdowns.
Ches Jackson from Tift County is a hard-nosed blocking lineman. The new App State commit shows great athleticism when he is pulling and can deliver some big hits. Casey Holmon will pave the way this season for Brookwood’s offense. The Duke commit makes a return to the All-State team after last fall’s selection. John Harris is another steady offensive lineman to make his way out of Mill Creek. The senior committed to Virginia Tech during the offseason and shows a proficiency in the run and pass. Jalen Goss is a physical freak out of Lowndes. At 6’7″, and 260 pounds, Goss has the raw ability to dominate defenders by shear size and athleticism alone. Warren Ericson is a great all-around offensive guard prospect who committed to Georgia this offseason. The North Gwinnett linemen does a great job of protecting quarterback Cade Fortin in their spread offense. Blake Watson is a tough lineman out of Milton who paved the way in their smash-mouth rushing attack. He had really good games last season against some of the top defensive ends in Georgia.
Jaylen McCollough from Hillgrove is one of the best two-way players in the state of Georgia and is our pick at athlete. Whether he is playing running back or safety, he just seems to dominate the competition. He is just a junior and widely consider one of the best recruits in 2019. Cameron Cobb racked up a lot of yards on returns last season for Tift County. The quick slot back scampered for two touchdowns that went for a 95 yards on a kickoff and 55 yards on a punt.
Ryan Fitzgerald out of Colquitt County is our pick for kicker. Last season he nailed 11 out of 16 as a sophomore, but during the offseason he has made some major improvements to his leg strength and can now reach 60 yards with no problem. Jackson Gravely from North Paulding averaged a classification best 41.2 yards per punt on 40 punts with a long of 66 yards. The North Paulding senior has excellent hang-time as well.
Moving over to the defensive side of the ball, where Darnell Jeffries out Newton is returning after a stellar junior year. He totaled 76 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 5 sacks and an amazing 48 QB hurries. Robert Cooper is an absolute load for South Gwinnett who completely changes the makeup of a game. The 6’3″ 340-pound linemen is the #1 rated DT in our database and plans to go to Florida State. Latrell Bankston had the best statistical season in the state of Georgia at defensive tackle. He totaled 90 tackles, 12 sacks and 22 tackles for loss. Azeez Olujari was all over the field for Marietta last year where he totaled 94 tackles (10.4 per game), 16 tackles for loss and 6 sacks. He has continued to add weight (broke school power clean record) this offseason and should be a terror. Thurman Geathers II is the returning sack leader in 7-A after a 15 sack season last fall. The 2018 defensive end is part of the historic Geathers family and he has 6 family members who played in the NFL.
JJ Peterson is looking to rebound on the defensive end after he played all over the field for Colquitt last fall. His high school has more weapons and experience on the offensive side of the ball now, so we expect Peterson to go full bore on defense this season. Grayson’s Owen Pappoe played on one of the most talented defenses ever in the state of Georgia and still managed to record 99 tackles, 7 sacks and 1 pick six. Pappoe, aptly named “The Freak”, has been one of the top players in 2019 since he walked on campus at Grayson. Tyler Bird of North Paulding has moved over to inside linebacker and should see an increase on his 82 tackles last season. He committed to App State over the summer and is outstanding in pass coverage. Benjamin Tooks had 97 tackles last season as a sophomore for Duluth. His 10.8 tackles per game is the highest returning average for any linebacker in 7-A.
Kenneth Dicks III was a major playmaker last fall at Lambert. He just committed to Wake Forest and scored one of the best SPARQ’s (139) scores this offseason in the country. He collected 38 tackles and hauled in 5 interceptions. Taiyon Palmer is a lockdown cornerback for Archer who had 3 interceptions (should have been 4 – bad call). His elite quickness and refined fundamentals shuts down his side of the field. Myles “Spider” Sims is our #1 rated cornerback in our database. He is an elite athlete at 6’2″ and totaled 5 interceptions last season for his Westlake squad. Derrik Allen does everything for Lassiter. He plays receiver, returns kicks, and most importantly plays defensive back. In the secondary he lines up all over, and is one of the heaviest hitters in the state of Georgia. Reagan Lake from Kennesaw Mountain is the returning tackle leader in Class 7-A with 136 tackles, which he did in just 10 games. He also totaled 4 interceptions on the season last fall and just seems to make big plays. Tommy Rogers from Parkview totaled 121 tackles last season and 2 sacks. He shows really good fundamentals tackling out in space where he amassed 85 solo tackles.
All stats are from MaxPreps or the Recruit Georgia database.