Brock Vandagriff is Georgia’s high school football player of the year

Brock Vandagriff, a quarterback at Prince Avenue Christian School, has committed to Georgia. (Christina Matacotta/For the AJC)
Brock Vandagriff, a quarterback at Prince Avenue Christian School, has committed to Georgia. (Christina Matacotta/For the AJC)

Credit: For the AJC

Credit: For the AJC

The state championship was Brock Vandagriff’s dream. Neither he nor his Athens-area school had won one in any sport, and it was Vandagriff’s final chance, a senior playing for his father, Greg, the head coach.

Heavily favored in the Class 1A Private final, Prince Avenue Christian got it done, beating Trinity Christian 41-21. Vandagriff threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns.

“This was without a doubt one of the best days of my life,” Vandagriff would say. “I’ve dreamed about it for a long time.”

Explore2020 All-State high school football team

Vandagriff — the AJC’s all-classification player of the year — became the state’s season leader in passing yards (4,169) and passing touchdowns (46). He surpassed 10,000 yards passing and 100 passing touchdowns for his career. Only six Georgia players have reached both milestones, and Trevor Lawrence and Deshaun Watson are the only others to win state titles.

Vandagriff’s career totals were accomplished despite missing four games as a junior (broken leg) and playing wide receiver as a freshman (34 receptions, 472 yards). As a senior, Vandagriff played the last half of the season with a torn posterior cruciate ligament and a leg brace.

His opponents hardly noticed.

ExploreAJC Super 11: Brock Vandagriff

“He literally can make every throw,” said Kenny Dallas, coach of runner-up Trinity Christian. “Almost every ball he throws is on a line, which speaks to his arm strength, but what is even more impressive is his accuracy. He not only completes a high percentage of balls, but throws to the correct shoulder of the receiver, which allows him to make a run after the catch.”

Dallas also marveled at Vandagriff’s mobility, how the quarterback buys time, throwing on the run for big gainers. Vandagriff rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a sophomore but limited his run game the final two seasons to protect himself — except when his team needed it.

Prince Avenue Christian quarterback Brock Vandagriff (12) runs for a first down in the first half of the Class 1A Private championship against Trinity Christian Dec. 28, 2020, at Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta. (Jason Getz/For the AJC)
Prince Avenue Christian quarterback Brock Vandagriff (12) runs for a first down in the first half of the Class 1A Private championship against Trinity Christian Dec. 28, 2020, at Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta. (Jason Getz/For the AJC)

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

The pivotal play in the championship game was a planned run near the end of the first half, Prince Avenue Christian leading 13-7, but facing a fourth-and-2 at its 38-yard line. Vandagriff took the snap from the shotgun and swept right 33 yards. Prince Avenue Christian scored three plays later for a 20-7 halftime lead. Vandagriff ran for 49 touchdowns in his high school career.

“He has a toughness and desire to run that makes him a threat whether throwing or running,” Dallas said. “Some quarterbacks run because they have to. I think he is a tremendously tough competitor who wants to run. That makes him different and dangerous and difficult to defend.”

Eagle’s Landing Christian coach Jonathan Gess complimented Vandagriff’s arm strength, athletic ability and speed, but said his leadership superseded those tangibles. Prince Avenue Christian defeated ELCA 38-0 in the quarterfinals, ending ELCA’s five-year reign as 1A private-school champions.

“His entire team played at a different level because of him,” Gess said. “His leadership is what sets him apart from everyone else in the country. Some guys just have that ‘it’ factor where everyone around them is better because they are there. That’s him.”

About the Author

In Other News