It’s the goal of every Georgia high school football player to finish his season at Georgia State’s Center Parc Stadium, the home of the December championship games, but it will be a long drive for the state’s best seniors this season. No player in the AJC’s annual preseason Super 11 goes to school within 30 miles of downtown Atlanta.

This Super 11 team — the 37th edition — is far out, with three players in South Georgia, three in northeast Georgia, two in Columbus and three on the outskirts of metro Atlanta.

Five are quarterbacks, tied for the most ever. Five are their school’s first Super 11 in history.

Nine are committed to major Division I programs, but one, standing only 5-foot-7, is hardly being recruited at all.

None has won a state title. Yet. But there’s time.

Credit: Ryon Horne / AJC

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Meet the 2021 class of the Super 11, where the AJC shines a light on Georgia's top high school football players. (Video by Ryon Horne; photos by Tyson Horne)

Credit: Ryon Horne / AJC

In 11 paragraphs, here’s a closer look at the newest Super 11.

⋅ The three metro Atlanta Super 11 members are Collins Hill teammates Travis Hunter and Sam Horn from Gwinnett County and River Ridge running back Ahmere Morrison from Cherokee. With Fulton, DeKalb and Cobb counties shut out, that’s the fewest metro picks since 1999 (South Gwinnett’s David Greene was one of three), but the all-time low came in 1989 (Morrow’s Andre Hastings was one of two).

⋅ Hunter, Horn and Morrison are the first players from their schools to make the Super 11. Also making school history are Hardaway’s Mykel Williams and Jefferson’s Malaki Starks.

⋅ Hunter and Horn are the 11th pair of teammates to make the Super 11 and the first QB-WR duo since Gainesville’s Blake Sims and Tai-ler Jones in 2009. Starters since they were sophomores, Horn and Hunter have hooked up 36 times for touchdowns.

⋅ Morrison, at 5-7, is the only Super 11 choice who is not a blue-chip recruit. He’s the state’s leading returning rusher and produced more than 2,200 yards from scrimmage for last season.

⋅ Two Super 11 members will meet in a season-opening game, when Jefferson and Starks take on Rabun County and Gunner Stockton. They also faced each other last season, with Jefferson winning 28-14.

⋅ Starks, Stockton and Oconee County’s Jake Johnson represent northeast Georgia. Three from that area made it in 2020, too, but before that, there hadn’t been one since 2015.

⋅ They’re not teammates, but Carver’s Elijah Pritchett and Hardaway’s Williams are the Columbus pair, each a lineman standing 6-5 or taller. They are the first Super 11 players from Columbus since Carver’s Isaiah Crowell in 2010.

⋅ The five quarterbacks are the most since 2013, when Gainesville’s Deshaun Watson led a rich class. The 2020 Super 11 had only one signal-caller, Prince Avenue Christian’s Brock Vandagriff, and there were none in 2018. One of the five, Starks, is projected as a safety or linebacker in college. Another, Ware County’s Thomas Castellanos, is listed as an athlete in some recruiting rankings.

⋅ Castellanos is one of the three South Georgia players. Tift County’s Tyre West and Lowndes’ Jacurri Brown are the others. There were no South Georgia players on the 2019 Super 11 but five in 2016, when Liberty County’s Richard LeCounte was a headliner.

⋅ Nine of the 11 have made college choices before the season, which is about average nowadays. Only seven had last season, but visit restrictions because of COVID-19 depressed that number. In 2018, all 11 had committed. Only Morrison and Pritchett remain undecided this year.

⋅ Hunter, Horn, Starks and Johnson played in state championship games last season, Brown’s Lowndes team was a finalist in 2019. All lost, leaving every Super 11 player with unfinished business as his senior season dawns. “I have been fortunate to play for the state championship the last two years in a row at Oconee County,” Johnson said. “We lost both years and felt empty as a team not accomplishing our goal. Football is a team game, and to win a state championship would be the ultimate goal as a high school player.”

2021 AJC Super 11: Jacurri Brown | Thomas Castellanos | Sam Horn | Travis Hunter | Jake Johnson | Amehre Morrison | Elijah Pritchett | Malaki Starks | Gunner Stockton | Tyre West | Mykel Williams

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