For 35 years, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has selected a preseason Super 11 to recognize the state’s most promising high school football players.

For the first time, high school football isn’t promising them anything in return.

Already delayed until September, the football season hangs in the balance. The Georgia High School Association remains committed to a full schedule that stretches past Christmas, but the COVID-19 pandemic still threatens to shut it down.

“Honestly, it’d be heartbreaking,” North Gwinnett High linebacker Barrett Carter said. ”We’ve worked so hard for this season. A lot of my brothers needed this season, so they could get the looks they needed. So as of right now, I’m just hoping for the best.”

Barrett, his school’s first Super 11 pick since former Clemson All-American offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt in 2014, is trying to enjoy what he can.

“It’s definitely different because of what’s going on in the world,” Carter said. “We’re following different procedures and protocols, but you know it’s just a blessing to be back with the team.”

This year’s Super 11 is typical in most other ways but with its own personality. Its members span from Camden County’s Micah Morris on the coast to Prince Avenue Christian’s Brock Vandagriff and Athens Academy’s Deion Colzie in northeast Georgia to Carrollton’s Chaz Chambliss in west Georgia.

Carter, Daejon Reynolds of Grayson and Parkview’s Cody Brown are from Gwinnett County.

Vandagriff, Paulding County’s Smael Mondon, Newton’s Nyland Green and Bleckley County’s Amarius Mims are their schools’ first Super 11 selections. Peach County’s Terrence Ferguson is his school’s 10th. No other school has more.

Seven are committed, all to Power Five conference schools. The other four have those same opportunities.

Those assurances make football less complicated for them. Reynolds is prepared to adjust if he must.

“I would react as if this was just another situation to adapt and prepare quickly for,” Reynolds said. “Going to complete my classes and go to Florida.”

The four-star wide receiver committed to the Gators in February.

Carrollton’s Chambliss, a Georgia-committed linebacker, also would be a January college enrollee.

“You just have to prepare like there is going to be a season and be ready if our names are called,” said Chambliss, who would be a four-year starter if he gets the chance. “In the case of we don’t have a season, I can’t stop working because I have to be ready for Georgia in the spring.”

No one was second-guessing the GHSA, which could decide the fate of their seasons.

“I am honestly not educated enough on the virus and the situation at hand to say whether we should be playing or not,” said Vandagriff, a five-star quarterback committed to Georgia. “I trust the people above me and take it one day at a time.”

But understanding doesn’t make it easier. Vandagriff has unfinished business. His Athens private school, coached by his father, Greg, has never won a state title despite six trips to the semifinals in the past 10 years.

In fact, none of the Super 11 members except Carter has won a state title, and Carter was only a seldom-used freshman on North Gwinnett’s 2017 championship team.

“My teammates and I are very hopeful for a season, but if one does not happen, then I would be pretty distraught,’’ Vandagriff said. “You only get one chance to be a senior in high school, and my dad and I have dreamed of a state championship together for many, many years.”

» 2020 AJC Super 11: Cody Brown | Barrett Carter | Chaz Chambliss | Deion Colzie | Smael Mondon | Terrence Ferguson | Nyland Green | Amarius Mims | Micah Morris | Daejon Reynolds | Brock Vandagriff

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