Best players by position: Defensive back is deepest position in Georgia

One in every four top-100 Georgia senior prospects is a defensive back, according to the 247Sports Composite, making this the state’s deepest position. It starts with Mill Creek’s Caleb Downs, the state’s consensus No. 1 prospect.

This is one in a series of feature articles that recognize the state’s best players by position. They are chosen primarily on high school production, though college potential also is considered. These players are the members of GHSF Daily’s Georgia Power 100.

*K.J. Bolden, Buford: Bolden is Georgia’s consensus No. 1 junior recruit and ranked No. 5 nationally. Noted for his speed as a track sprinter and triple-jumper, Bolden is the most highly rated Buford prospect in history. Bolden (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) had 75 tackles, five for loss, broke up eight passes and intercepted four for the Class 6A champions as a sophomore. He had 30 receptions for 604 yards and six touchdowns and 254 return yards.

*Michael Daugherty, Grayson: A four-year starter, Daugherty is Georgia’s No. 2 senior safety prospect behind Downs. As a junior on a 10-4 Class 7A team, he had 15.5 tackles for loss, an exceptionally high total for a defensive back. Daugherty (6-1, 175) committed to LSU in April.

*Caleb Downs, Mill Creek: Downs is the state’s consensus No. 1 prospect and No. 11 overall nationally. A safety, he was Region 8-7A’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2021, when he had 77 tackles (57 solos), five interceptions and 11 pass breakups. He scored nine touchdowns (six on offense, two on defense, one on special teams, and not including one TD pass). Downs (6-0, 185) has intercepted 14 passes in his career and returned five for scores.

*Jack Fabris, North Oconee: Fabris made first-team Class 4A all-state as a junior. He’s a safety who can roll down and play in the box. He had 59 solo tackles and 99 assists and blocked two punts in 2021 for a 10-4 team. Fabris (6-1, 200) is a consensus three-star recruit who committed to Kansas State in June. Fabris’ father, Jon, was a longtime college assistant, notably at Georgia.

*Kayin Lee, Cedar Grove: Lee intercepted seven passes last season, two in the state-championship victory over Carver of Atlanta, and made first-team Class 3A all-state. His 27 solo tackles led the team, which is unusual for a cornerback. Lee (5-11, 185) is a top-150 national recruit. He committed to Ohio State in June. He’s the highest-rated DB prospect in Cedar Grove history.

*Terrance Love, Hughes: Love is a four-year starter in the secondary for a program that has gone 11-2 and 13-2 the past two seasons in Class 6A. He’s also an effective receiver with 51 receptions for 772 yards and nine touchdowns over two seasons. He was first-team all-region last season. Recruited as a safety, Love (6-3, 195) is a consensus top-250 national prospect who committed to Auburn in April.

*Ethan Nation, Roswell: Nation is a top-250 national recruit and Georgia’s No. 2 cornerback prospect behind Lee. He had 37 tackles and two interceptions in 2021 and was first-team All-North Fulton. Like most elite defensive backs, he contributed on offense, as well. Nation (5-11, 170) had 45 receptions for 565 yards and 10 touchdowns.

*Jack Tchienchou, St. Pius: Tchienchou has made first-team Class 4A all-state as a sophomore and junior. He was his region’s player of the year in 2021. He’s in Class 6A now. Tchienchou had 24 solo tackles, 10 pass breakups, two interceptions and two defensive touchdowns in 2021. He had 500 yards rushing, 247 receiving and 360 returning last season. A consensus three-star cornerback recruit, Tchienchou (5-10, 170) has mostly mid-major offers.

*Avieon Terrell, Westlake: Terrell allowed only one TD reception last season and intercepted six passes, returning three for touchdowns. He was first-team all-state in Class 6A for a 10-3 team. Westlake is in 7A this season. Terrell (6-0, 170) is a consensus top-300 national recruit who committed to Clemson in June. He’s a brother of former Clemson All-American and Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell.

*Bryce Thornton, Milton: Thornton intercepted six passes, returning two for touchdowns, and had 93 tackles and 11 pass breakups in 2021 while making first-team Class 7A all-state. He had 433 all-purpose yards. Recruited as a safety, Thornton (5-10, 185) is a consensus top-500 national recruit reportedly favoring Florida. He is the son of former Georgia and NFL cornerback Bruce Thornton Sr. and brother of Ohio State basketball player Bruce Thornton Jr.

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