Best players by position: Running backs Brown, Haynes nearing 6,000 yards

Justice Haynes rushed for 4,879 yards and 72 touchdowns in three seasons at Blessed Trinity before transferring to Buford this year.

Credit: Christina Matacotta/Special to the AJC

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Justice Haynes rushed for 4,879 yards and 72 touchdowns in three seasons at Blessed Trinity before transferring to Buford this year.

Credit: Christina Matacotta/Special to the AJC

Twenty-five Georgia players have rushed for 6,000 yards in their high school careers.

Watch for two – South Atlanta’s Keyjuan Brown and Buford’s Justice Haynes – to join that list this season. They’re less than 1,250 yards away, well below their career averages.

And remember the name Ousmane Kromah. The Lee County back rushed for 1,709 yards as a freshman in Class 6A last year.

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

*Javious Bond, Jones County: Bond had 943 yards rushing and 555 receiving with 20 touchdowns while playing enough defense to compile 69 tackles on a 10-3 team last season. He ran for 207 yards and four touchdowns in the quarterfinals against Eastside. He’s a four-year starter at safety. Bond (5-9, 170) has more than 10 Division I offers.

*Dontavius “DJay” Braswell, Washington County: Braswell is the reigning Class 2A champion in the 100 (10.76 seconds) and 200 (22.17) meters. He’s a consensus top-300 national prospect and highest-rated Washington County recruit this century. He rushed for 1,026 yards on just 80 carries in 2021. Braswell (5-11, 200) committed to South Carolina on July 4 weekend.

*Keyjuan Brown, South Atlanta: Brown led Georgia in rushing last season with 2,757 yards and was first-team all-state in Class 2A. He has run for 4,770 yards and 53 touchdowns for his career. South Atlanta had gone 25 seasons without a region title or playoff victory until Brown was a freshman. In Brown’s three varsity seasons, South Atlanta is 25-10 with two region titles and three playoff victories. Brown (5-9, 205) committed to Purdue in June.

*Malcolm Brown, Warner Robins: Brown has rushed for 1,102 and 1,332 yards and scored 30 touchdowns in his two varsity seasons, each ending in a Class 5A championship. Brown missed the playoffs last season or might’ve threatened 2,000 as he went for 209 against Archer, 171 against Lee County and 186 against Coffee. Brown (5-11, 180) has offers from N.C. State, Virginia and Georgia State.

*Justice Haynes, Buford: Haynes (5-10, 200) is the consensus No. 3 RB prospect nationally and No. 37 player overall and the highest of any Georgia running back. A two-time first-team all-state player, he’s rushed for 4,879 yards and 72 touchdowns in his career with at least 1,700 yards rushing each season. He transferred from Blessed Trinity to Buford this year. Haynes also is an outstanding baseball outfielder and left-handed pitcher. Haynes committed to Alabama on July 17.

*Jaylen Johnson, Appling County: Johnson (5-9, 190) rushed for 305 yard and four touchdowns in just three games last season as he was limited with an injury. He’s a consensus three-star recruit with more than 20 offers. He’s the highest-recruited Appling County running back since former Florida State and NFL player Dexter Carter in the 1980s.

*Ousmane Kromah, Lee County: There was no better Georgia freshman last season than Kromah, a powerful back who rushed for 1,709 yards and 22 touchdowns while averaging nine yards per carry for a Class 6A quarterfinalist. Kromah (6-2, 210) has multiple SEC, ACC and Big Ten offers, including one from Alabama this summer.

*Charlie Pace, Colquitt County: Pace rushed for 1,138 yards on an 8-3 team in 2021. He had 207 yards receiving. He’s 5-9, 185, a little bigger than former Colquitt star RB Sihiem King. Pace is committed to Georgia State.

*Duke Watson, Mary Persons: Watson rushed for 1,716 yards and 25 touchdowns as a sophomore for a 7-4 team. He’s 6-0, 185, and runs a 4.4-second 40-yard dash. He has a few offers, including one from Georgia Tech.

*Jamarion Wilcox, South Paulding: Wilcox rushed for 1,534 yards and 23 touchdowns and had another 235 yards receiving for an 8-3 team in 2021 and was first-team all-state in Class 6A. A consensus three-star recruit, Wilcox (5-9, 195) has 25 offers, mostly from mid-major schools. He’s the second-highest rated RB recruit this century from Paulding County behind East Paulding’s Justin Williams, who signed with Tennessee.

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