McEachern wide receiver Dacari Collins (2) runs the ball for a touchdown as Cedar Grove cornerback Tee Denson (21) tries to stop him early in the first half of Friday's game at McEachern. (Daniel Varnado/Special)

Class AAAAAA football blog: Talent level turned up a notch for 2020

The Georgia High School Association’s most-recent reclassification, which added 17 schools to Class AAAAAA (and sent 19 former AAAAAA schools elsewhere) for the 2020 football season, gave a significant boost to the level of talent in the state’s second-highest classification.

Twenty-three of the state’s top 75-rated seniors will take the field for Class AAAAAA schools next season, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. That’s a 53 percent increase over the 15 that made the top 75 in 2019. Last season’s group was led by seventh-rated Phillip Webb, a linebacker from Lanier who signed with LSU. 

In particular, newcomers Westlake from Class AAAAAAA and Buford and Carrollton from AAAAA accounted for 11 of the 23 players in the top 75. Westlake alone had six of them, including three high-profile transfers. 

Here’s a look at the Class AAAAAA players in the 247Sports Composite rankings’ top 75. The numbers by the players’ names represent their overall ranking among Georgia seniors. 

3. Smael Mondon, Paulding County: Mondon (6-3, 218) has played defensive back, slot receiver, running back, quarterback and on special teams, but he’s being recruited as an outside linebacker, where he’s No. 2 nationally in the 247Sports Composite rankings. He has received a reported 37 offers, including from Oklahoma, Clemson, Georgia, Alabama, Auburn and nine other SEC schools. 

12. Jonathan Jefferson, Douglas County: The 6-foot-4, 255-pound defensive lineman was named first-team all-region in 5-AAAAAA and honorable mention all-state in 2019 after finishing with 77 total tackles, including 15 sacks and 13 other tackles for losses. He is rated the No. 11 strongside defensive end nationally and No. 143 player overall. Jefferson has committed to Georgia. 

15. Jaquez Smith, Westlake: Smith (6-1, 190) is one of three high-profile players transferring to Westlake. He is moving to the Lions from Hapeville Charter, which went 10-2-1 and reached the Class AA quarterfinals in 2019. Smith is a four-star recruit ranked No. 28 at his position and No. 171 overall nationally. Smith has received 20 offers, including Alabama, Georgia and Notre Dame. 

16. Dacari Collins, Westlake: Collins, another transfer to Westlake, was a first-team all-region pick and a GACA all-state selection last season at McEachern, which won the Region 3-AAAAAAA title over state champ Marietta. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Collins is a five-star recruit ranked No. 31 among wide receivers and No. 175 overall nationally. He committed to Clemson in September 

19. Julian Nixon, Centennial: The 6-foot-4, 205-pound wide receiver is attracting attention despite playing for a team that finished 0-10 last year after suffering major graduation losses. The four-star recruit is rated No. 36 nationally at his position and No. 201 overall. Nixon recently listed his top college choices as Georgia, Auburn, LSU, Ohio State, Florida, Oklahoma and Tennessee. 

22. Nathaniel Wiggins, Westlake: The 6-foot-2, 170-pound Wiggins is a transfer from Grady, where he made first-team all-state at wide receiver in 2019. He also plays defensive back. Wiggins is a four-star recruit and ranked as the No. 11 athlete and No. 209 overall senior nationally. Wiggins has a reported 24 offers, including at least one from all of the Power 5 conferences. 

23. Chaz Chambliss, Carrollton: The 6-foot-2, 239-pound outside linebacker had 23 solo tackles, 25 assists, 4.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss and five QB hurries for a Carrollton team that went 12-1 and reached the Class AAAAA quarterfinals in 2019. Chambliss, ranked No. 20 at his position and No. 248 overall nationally, has 26 offers, including Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU and Ohio State. 

24. Chief Borders, Carrollton: Chambliss’ partner at linebacker this season will be Borders, a transfer from McEachern. Borders (6-3, 230) is a four-star recruit who’s ranked as the No. 22 outside linebacker and No. 262 player overall nationally. He also has played some wide receiver and tight end. Borders has received a reported 26 offers but committed to Florida in November. 

34. Joshua Robinson, Douglas County: Robinson, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound defensive end, had 33 solo tackles, 23 assists, nine sacks and 10 tackles for loss for the Tigers last season. He is a three-star recruit who is rated as the No. 27 weakside defensive end and No. 458 player overall nationally. He has received 30 offers, including Georgia Tech, Florida, Florida State and Notre Dame. 

35. Miles Campbell, South Paulding: Campbell, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound tight end, had 54 receptions for 620 yards and seven touchdowns last season for the Spartans, who went 9-3 a year after finishing 2-8. He also ran for 33 yards on 13 carries, attempted three passes and made eight tackles. Campbell, rated No. 11 at tight end and No. 459 overall, has 27 offers, the latest from Purdue. 

Other Class AAAAAA players in the state’s top 75: 

36. Chauncey Magwood, WR, Lee County 

39. Kaleb Edwards, S, Dacula 

40. Aalah Brown, WR, Valdosta 

41. Christian Zachary, WDE, Carrollton 

49. Gabe Ervin, RB, Buford 

52. Jakiah Leftwich, OT, Westlake 

54. Justin Franklin, ATH, Douglas County 

55. Demarko Williams, CB, Westlake 

57. Leo Blackburn, TE, Westlake 

58. T.J. Lewis, QB, Glynn Academy 

60. Kani Walker, CB, Douglas County 

71. Baron Hopson, ILB, Lee County 

75. Amari Wansley, S, Buford

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