In Georgia alone, Berry, Kennesaw State, Mercer, Point, Reinhardt and Shorter have started playing football since 2011. Those six have more than 500 Georgia players this fall.
But the growth in football teams nationwide is only about 8-10%, not nearly enough to account for some 1,400 additional Georgia players.
Among Georgia high schools, Grayson with 70 has the most 2021 college players. Following the Rams are Norcross (53), Buford (47), McEachern (43), Archer (42), Westlake (42), North Gwinnett (41), Roswell (40) and Stockbridge (40), according to Slay’s research.
Classification leaders, in addition to Grayson, Buford and Stockbridge, are Class 4A’s Hapeville Charter and Stephenson (34 each), Class 3A’s Cedar Grove (39), Class 2A’s Callaway (17), Class A Private’s Eagle’s Landing Christian (24) and Class A Public’s Manchester (11).
The schools with the most Georgia players predictably are those in state. They include Reinhardt (103), West Georgia (103), Shorter (102), Berry (95), Savannah State (81), Fort Valley State (79), Georgia Southern (76), Georgia Tech (76), Georgia (75), Mercer (74), Kennesaw State (73), Albany State (66) and LaGrange (65). Slay found 1,532 Georgia players playing college ball in the state.
Out-of-state teams with the most Georgia players are the Cumberlands of Kentucky (52), Chattanooga (33), Presbyterian (31), Auburn (31), East Tennessee State (31), Army (30), Charleston Southern (30) and Gardner-Webb (30).
Most Georgia players (54%) compete at levels below Division I, with 25% at Division II, 14% at Division III, 11% in NAIA and 4% at junior colleges. Only 26% play in NCAA’s FBS division, while 19% play for FCS schools such. Only 14% play in Power 5 conferences such as the SEC and ACC.
Slay’s list of 4,631 players – up from about 3,200 in 2011 – has been formatted by Georgia High School Football Daily and can be found on its website.
Slay is a long-time volunteer contributor to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association.