Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Class AA preseason all-state team

*Best player: Aaron Beasley. The Heard County senior, who is committed to Tennessee, rushed for 1,749 yards and scored 31 touchdowns last year. And now he's 20 pounds of muscle heavier at 220. "He didn't get to sit over and rest like many players on good teams do," Heard County defensive coordinator D.J. Curbow noted. "We [didn't] have depth, so he played about every meaningful snap at free safety." At that spot, Beasley had 66 tackles, three interceptions, three recovered fumbles, one fumble-return touchdown, one sack and seven pass breakups.

*Best position: Running back. Aside from Beasley, who is stationed at defensive back on this team, there are several 1,000-yard rushers returning in this class. Among them are A.J. Brown (1,570), R.J. Carr (1,498) and Zabrion Whatley (1,530), who made it, and Bremen's Tyran Dobbs (1,315), Douglass's Juan Powell (1,352) and Dade County's Malaki Webb (1,200), who didn't. 

*Highly recruited: Keiondre Jones. The Callaway senior, who is 6 feet, 4 inches and 340 pounds, is the consensus No. 8 guard prospect nationally. He is committed to Auburn. 

*That's interesting: Elbert County wide receiver Metrius Fleming was the Class AA medalist at the state track meet last spring, when he led the Blue Devils to the title by winning the 110-meter hurdles (14.2 seconds) and long jump (22 feet, 11.25 inches). He had only 24 receptions in a run-oriented offense but for 688 yards (28.7 per catch) and eight touchdowns. He also rushed for 126 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries. That's 10 touchdowns on 34 touches. 

*Snubbed? Elijah Mayes. The Hephzibah defensive lineman has at least one Division I offer, and he just made the Augusta Chronicle's Dream 16 preseason team. Class AA is stacked with D-I recruits along the front seven. Mayes is as good as those guys, and he ironically might've stood a better chance if Hephzibah had stayed in AAAA this season. 

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*What else is new? Defending champion Hapeville Charter and runner-up Rabun County have only one player each represented as both lost several major figures from their teams. Both will be good again, but this signals a wide-open race. And remember that Benedictine, Class AA's best program the past five years, is out of the picture. The Cadets are in AAA now. Of the 28 players on this all-state team, 26 play for schools that have not won state titles in more than 20 years. And 17 play for schools that have never won state titles. 

OFFENSE 

QB (dual) - Jaden Jenkins, Jefferson County 

QB (dual) - Emmanuel Mann, Jordan 

RB - R.J. Carr, Dodge County 

RB - A.J. Brown, Harlem 

RB - Zabrion Whatley, Rockmart 

WR - Kevin Cochran, Thomasville 

WR - Metrius Fleming, Elbert County 

TE - Sean Brown, Coosa 

OL - Jaidan Cameron, Heard County 

OL - Keshawn Cameron, Callaway 

OL - Keiondre Jones, Callaway 

OL - Micah Lawson, Jefferson County 

OL - Javonte McGriff, Thomasville 

ATH - Tank Bigsby, Callaway 

PK - Peyton Bush, Dodge County 

DEFENSE 

DL - Rodricus Fitten, Washington 

DL - Daniel Lavender, Elbert County 

DL - Steve Linton, Dublin 

DL - Zaylin Wood, Heard County 

LB/DE - Tae'Aviion Gray, Brooks County 

LB - Preston Daniels, Washington County 

LB - Randy Green, Southwest 

LB - Andrew Leak, Heard County 

DB - Aaron Beasley, Heard County 

DB - Malik Fleming, Hapeville Charter 

DB - Austin Jones, Rabun County 

DB - Karey Lee, Thomasville 

P - Jeremy Glidewell, Harlem 

Coming Thursday: Class A Public 

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