*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.
*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.
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
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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