Projected top players by position: Athletes

High school football state playoffs: Mill Creek running back Parker Wroble runs into the defense of Brookwood's Marquis Killebrew (42) and Dennarrio Stewart during the first half of Friday's game. (John Amis/Special)
High school football state playoffs: Mill Creek running back Parker Wroble runs into the defense of Brookwood's Marquis Killebrew (42) and Dennarrio Stewart during the first half of Friday's game. (John Amis/Special)

They’re called athletes, iron men, jack of all trades. They’re sometimes slighted the recognition they deserve because they don’t specialize at one position or role. Their stats don’t always stand out at first glance because they’re poured into so many glasses. Some don’t play their best positions but fill in elsewhere for the good of the team. They often play at smaller schools where there’s not enough depth to allow a premier athlete to come off the field for long.

More on position previews

» Quarterbacks<br/>» Running backs<br/>» Wide receivers/tight ends<br/>» Offensive linemen<br/>» Defensive linemen<br/>» Linebackers<br/>» Defensive backs<br/>» Athletes<br/>» Kicking specialists

Here's a look at 10 of the more outstanding of those players who have not been featured in previous issues highlighting the best at each position. The players’ status as recruits is a factor, but the choices are made largely on production as high school players.

• Deion Colzie, Athens Academy: Colzie is his team's best receiver and cornerback, an irreplaceable piece of a program that has reached the state finals the past two seasons. He's 6 feet, 4 inches, and 190 pounds, yet still a shutdown cover corner. He's the consensus No. 7 WR recruit in the class of 2021, per the 247Sports Composite.

• Jaquez Dew, Whitefield Academy: Dew was the quarterback of Whitefield's defense last season and second-leading tackler in Cobb County, but he also played every offensive snap at guard in 2018. He was the runner-up for defensive player of the year in his region. He's a senior, yet only 16 years old.

• Jacob Freeman, Callaway: Freeman was Callaway's quarterback for much of the 2018 season. He helped lead the Cavaliers to the Class AA semifinals while passing for 604 yards, rushing for 519 and catching passes for 268. He'll probably be stationed at receiver most of this season. He's a three-star recruit at that position with more than 20 offers.

• Ja'marquis Johnson, Berrien: Johnson is a four-year starter and a three-star recruit with offers from Georgia Tech, Florida State and others, but all-state teams have eluded him because of his jack-of-all-trades role on a team that hasn't won a playoff game in more than 25 years. Johnson had 607 yards receiving, 431 yards rushing and 41 tackles in 2018.

• Kendrick Patterson, Pelham: The Hornets reached the state semifinals for the first time since 1965 last season. Two-way players such as Patterson were big reasons. Patterson was 68-of-124 passing for 1,168 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushed for 738 yards and 18 touchdowns on 94 carries. He had eight receptions for 163 yards and four touchdowns. On defense, he had 44 tackles and four interceptions. He's an uncommitted three-star recruit.

• Kobe Pryor, Cedartown: Pryor is committed to Clemson but didn't make GHSF Daily's preseason all-state team. He just didn't fit tightly into a certain position. He rushed for 721 yards on 93 carries while splitting time with another Division I recruit. He bided his time as the team's best linebacker with a team-leading 56 solo tackles.

• Trice McCannon, Marion County: McCannon led Marion to the Class A public-school semifinals and a tight loss to eventual champion Clinch County. He passed for 2,002 yards and rushed for 1,242 with a hand in 30 touchdowns for a team that averaged a school-record 39.5 points per game. McCannon (5-8, 160) is not highly recruited.

• Tyler Morehead, Clinch County: Morehead projects to be the primary quarterback for the defending public-school champion. He was 22-of-41 passing for 491 yards and five touchdowns without an interception last season, but he's more of a runner. He put up 1,156 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. He also intercepted five passes and returned three kickoffs for touchdowns. Morehead is a top-300 national recruit with offers from Florida State, Tennessee and Kentucky.

• Tykeem Wallace, Thomas County Central: Wallace returned three kickoffs, one punt and one interception for touchdowns as a sophomore in 2018. He made first-team all-Region 1-AAAAA as a cornerback. Wallace (5-9, 160) is a Division I recruit at that position.

• Parker Wroble, Mill Creek: Wroble is firstly a wide receiver who had 45 receptions for 698 yards in 2018, but he also rushed for 663 yards and seven touchdowns on 86 carries in the highest classification. He was first-team all-Gwinnett County as a junior.

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