Closer look at preseason top 10 teams as season begins

1. Buford (11-1)

Buford is the first team in state history to have three five-star recruits (Eddrick Houston, K.J. Bolden, Dylan Raiola). The Wolves started No. 1 last season and went 11-1, losing to Walton in the second round.

2. Carrollton (14-1)

QB Ju Ju Lewis (4,118 passing yards, 48 touchdowns) and RB Bryce Hicks (more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage) return from the 2022 runner-up team.

3. Colquitt County (13-1)

The Packers have two AJC Super 11 players – WR Ny Carr and TE Landen Thomas - and outstanding QB Neko Fann. Colquitt made the semifinals last season, losing to Carrollton 35-27.

4. Mill Creek (14-1)

The defending champions have four top-100 Georgia senior prospects, all on defense, led by preseason all-state LB Cole Mullins. They must replace all-classification player of the year Caleb Downs, now at Alabama.

5. Walton (10-3)

The team that beat Buford but lost to Carrollton 52-27 in the 2022 quarterfinals has three Georgia Power 100 players – QB Jeremy Hecklinski (Wake Forest), OL Daniel Calhoun (Georgia) and LB Ashton Woods (North Carolina).

6. Milton (9-4)

QB Luke Nickel committed last week to Miami. WR/DB Debron Gatling, a Texas A&M commit, also is a Georgia Power 100 pick. Milton lost to Mill Creek 48-14 in the 2022 semifinals.

7. Parkview (8-4)

New coach Joe Sturdivant (see today’s Four Questions interview) inherits a talented team led by three Georgia Power 100 players. They are Super 11 WR Mike Matthews (Tennessee), all-state RB Khyair Spain and DB Jay Crawford (Auburn). Parkview lost to Westlake 30-28 in the 2022 second round.

8. Westlake (9-4)

DB Christian Peterson is preseason all-state. The Lions have never been better on the lines of scrimmage. Junior OL Juan Gaston (6-8, 335) is a top-100 national prospect. Westlake lost to Mill Creek 38-14 in the 2022 quarterfinals.

9. Grayson (10-3)

New coach Santavious Bryant has some rebuilding to do, but the Rams have reached the quarterfinals or better for five consecutive seasons. Grayson lost to Milton 35-12 in the 2022 quarterfinals.

10. Norcross (8-4)

QB A.J. Watkins (Air Force) was the Blue Devils’ leading passer (2,132 yards) and rusher (606) last season. DB Antonio Molder is a Georgia Power 100 player. DB Cam Robinson was all-state in Class A. Norcross lost to Milton 30-23 in the 2022 second round.

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