Only a few football-playing resumes in Georgia are as complete as Champ Bailey's. The former Charlton County star made first-team all-state in high school, consensus All-America in college and first-team All-Pro in the NFL. Neither Herschel Walker nor Fran Tarkenton can match that.
As a high school player, Bailey played in the secondary, where he would make a living, but also lined up at running back, quarterback and receiver and put up 5,855 all-purpose yards in his career. Retired in 2014, Bailey is likely to end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, another individual title. It's doubtful any player would have more.
Bailey is not the only small-town football legend from the current Region 2-A. QB Nick Marshall of Wilcox County and RB Herbert Mingo led their Class A schools to their first state titles as a state championship surprisingly eluded Bailey.
Marshall was a three-time first-team all-state player, a two-time Class A offensive player of the year and state record-holder with 103 career TD passes. Mingo was the AJC's all-class player of the year in 1988, when he led Clinch to a state title.
Here are our choices for the best players in history in the current 2-A:
*Atkinson County: Donnell Sirmons
*Charlton County: Champ Bailey
*Clinch County: Herbert Mingo
*Irwin County: Walt Sumner
*Lanier County: Junior Gnonkonde
*Telfair County: Lafonzo McLean
*Turner County: Ben Thomas
*Wilcox County: Nick Marshall
Best player in school history series
Readers may make their suggestions about schools by replying to this e-email.
Produced by Georgia High School Football Daily, a free e-mail newsletter. To join the mailing list, click here.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.