Hillgrove's Jaylen McCollough (2) recorded 77 tackles on defense and 326 receiving yards on offense despite missing four games during the 2017 season.
Photo: Daniel Varnado/Special
Photo: Daniel Varnado/Special

Projected top players by position: Metro Atlanta loaded with defensive back prospects

GHSF Daily is publishing its 10 best at each position over the first nine issues. The players' status as recruits is a factor, but the choices are made largely on their production as high school players. The series continues today with defensive backs.

*Andrew Booth, Archer (6-1, 185): Booth, who committed to Clemson last week, is the first consensus five-star cornerback from Georgia since Branden Smith of Washington in 2009. Booth was first-team AJC and GSWA all-state in 2017, when he was in on 64 tackles, intercepted four passes and broke up two others. He had nearly 500 all-purpose yards as a receiver and returner. 

*Warren Burrell, North Gwinnett (6-0, 165): Burrell, his team's top cover corner, had 41 tackles, five interceptions, 11 pass breakups and two blocked kicks for the Class AAAAAAA champions last season. He was a unanimous all-state pick. Burrell committed to Tennessee last month. 

*Joe Charleston, Milton (6-2, 190): Charleston, a safety, committed to Clemson during his junior season last year, when he had 53 solo tackles and intercepted two passes. He was a first-team all-region player and got some all-state recognition. 

*Malik Fleming, Hapeville Charter (5-8, 170): Fleming had 11 interceptions for the Class AA champions last season and was MVP of the Rising Junior all-star game in Macon, where he scored touchdowns on a punt return, kickoff return and interception return. Fleming, a three-star recruit, is committed to East Carolina. 

*Kyle Hamilton, Marist (6-3, 195): Hamilton led the War Eagles to the Class AAAA championship game last season as a multi-threat player who had 55 solo tackles and six interceptions on defense and 1,027 all-purpose yards as a wide receiver, runner and returner. Hamilton, a safety, is a high-academic four-star recruit committed to Notre Dame. 

*Jordan Huff, Morgan County (6-2, 185): Huff is a safety/wide receiver who committed to Georgia Tech last week. He had six tackles for losses and five interceptions last season and returned two interceptions for touchdowns. He also had 48 catches for 665 yards for the Region 8-AAA championship team. 

*Jaylen McCollough, Hillgrove (6-0, 190): McCollough missed four games while injured last season but still put up nice numbers - 77 tackles (four for losses) and six pass breakups on defense and 42 receptions for 326 yards and five touchdowns on offense. An uncommitted four-star recruit, McCollough is the consensus No. 9 safety prospect in the nation. 

*Jalen Perry, Dacula (6-1, 185): A four-star recruit, Perry has committed to Georgia with designs on playing cornerback, but he's one of the state's best all-around players at the high school level. He had 44 tackles, 16 pass breakups and three interceptions on defense and 1,171 yards from scrimmage as a running back and receiver on offense. 

*K.J. Wallace, Lovett (5-10, 185): Wallace is a four-star recruit at cornerback, though he played safety predominantly last season for Lovett and was the Lions' leading tackler with 55 solo stops. He also played receiver and had more than 1,000 all-purpose yards and was credited with at least one touchdown rushing, passing, receiving and returning. Wallace is committed to Notre Dame. 

*Kenyatta Watson, Grayson (6-2, 185): Watson and teammate Jalen Alexander might be the best pair of corners on one Georgia high school team. Watson, a four-star recruit, committed to Texas last month. Alexander is headed to Duke. 

Coming Friday: Two-way players 

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