Preseason all-state: Class 3A standout Davis sparked turnaround for Dougherty in 2021

Credit: Jason Getz/Special to the AJC

Credit: Jason Getz/Special to the AJC

*Best player: Dougherty went from 0-5 to 10-3 and the Class 3A quarterfinals last season largely on the shoulders of a sophomore, Kameron Davis (left). The Florida State commit was 107-of-176 passing for 1,787 yards and 15 touchdowns with only two interceptions and rushed for 1,363 yards and 16 touchdowns on 127 carries. That performance came after Dougherty and Davis endured an 0-5 finish in the COVID-marred 2020 season. As a freshman, Davis averaged 130 passing yards and 111 rushing yards. He’s 5 feet, 11 inches and 195 pounds, and projected as a college running back. He has been committed since February of 2021.

*Best position: Defensive line. Five are 247Sports top-100 Georgia prospects with multiple Power 5 conference offers. They are T.J. Searcy (No. 16), Darron Reed (No. 29), Terry Simmons (No. 76), Stantavious Smith (No. 77) and Adonijah Green (No. 79). Smith, of Dougherty, was left off despite reported favorites of LSU and Ohio State and a 2021 register of 13.5 tackles for losses and six forced fumbles.

*Most highly recruited: Davis is the consensus No. 25 recruit among juniors. The highest-rated senior is Cedar Grove cornerback Kayin Lee, the consensus No. 145 player nationally and No. 13 in Georgia. Lee intercepted seven passes last season – two in the state final - for the Class 3A champions.

*That’s interesting: Class 3A has 16 players rated among the top 100 seniors or top 50 juniors in the state. That’s more than Class 5A (13) or Class 4A (10).

*Snubbed: Peach County’s Skielar Mann, outstanding at linebacker or tight end, is a three-year starter and his team’s best all-around player. If he or another Peach player doesn’t make first-team all-state by year’s end, it would be a first in 14 years.

*Underrated: Cam’ron Lacy of Stephens County might be the classification’s best wide receiver (44 catches for 1,023 yards as a junior), but he’s slotted at defensive back here to get the best players on the field. He had 37 tackles, four interceptions and two forced fumbles from the secondary. He also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. He’s only 5 feet, 10 inches, if that, so Power 5 conference programs have been slower to chase. He’s committed to Middle Tennessee.

*What else is new: Calvary Day might’ve been the favorite to win Class A Private without reclassification. Instead, Calvary will make the big jump with four preseason all-state players and its most talented roster in history. QB Jake Merklinger and TE Mike Smith are top-125 national recruits among juniors. LB Troy Ford is committed to Central Florida, and DL Terry Simmons is committed to Duke.


Dual QB - Geimere Latimer, Sandy Creek, Sr.

Pro QB - Jake Merklinger, Calvary Day, Jr.

RB - Duke Watson, Mary Persons, Jr.

RB - Alan Jones Jr., Monroe Area, Sr.

WR - DeAndre Buchannon, Carver (Atlanta), Sr.

WR - Paul Davis, Hart County, Sr.

TE - Mike Smith, Calvary Day, Jr.

OL - Anthony Mareus, Dougherty, Sr.

OL - Kelton Smith, Carver (Columbus), Sr.

OL - Cayden Sweatt, Bremen, Sr.

OL - Max Thurston, Monroe Area, Jr.

OL - Barry Walker, Crisp County, Jr.

ATH - Kameron Davis, Dougherty, Jr.

PK - Jacob Brown, LaFayette, Sr.


DL - Adonijah Green, Cedar Grove, Sr.

DL - Darron Reed, Carver (Columbus), Sr.

DL - T.J. Searcy, Upson-Lee, Sr.

DL - Terry Simmons, Calvary Day, Sr.

LB - Troy Ford, Calvary Day, Sr.

LB - Jakyri Jones Monroe Area, Sr.

LB - Everett Roussaw, Cedar Grove, Sr.

LB - Whit Weeks, Oconee County, Sr.

DB - A.J. Brown, Crisp County, Sr.

DB - Kaleb Cost, Sandy Creek, Sr.

DB - Cam’ron Lacy, Stephens County, Sr.

DB - Kayin Lee, Cedar Grove, Sr.

P - David Mitchell, Crisp County, Sr.

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