Preseason all-state teams: Class 5A

Justice Haynes (22), sophomore running back for Blessed Trinity, 
gets tackled while running the ball during the Blessed Trinity vs. Decatur high school football game on Friday, December 4, 2020, at Blessed Trinity high school in Roswell, Georgia. Blessed Trinity defeated Decatur 44-0 in the second round playoff game.  CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.

Combined ShapeCaption
Justice Haynes (22), sophomore running back for Blessed Trinity, gets tackled while running the ball during the Blessed Trinity vs. Decatur high school football game on Friday, December 4, 2020, at Blessed Trinity high school in Roswell, Georgia. Blessed Trinity defeated Decatur 44-0 in the second round playoff game. CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.

Class 5A

*Best player: Thomas Castellanos, Ware County. A four-year starter, he has passed for 5,097 yards and rushed for 2,713 yards in his career. He passed for 23 touchdowns and ran for 24 for a 10-2 team last season. He’s committed to Central Florida.

*Best position: Defensive line. Montrell Henderson, Deandre Jones and Kanye Varner have major Division I offers. Three GACA all-state players – Blessed Trinity’s Ryan Scott, Starr’s Mill’s Macaiah Shaber and Ola’s Kendrick McDaniel – were left off.

*Most highly recruited: Justice Haynes and Damari Alston. Both are consensus four-star running backs.

*That’s interesting: As noted above, Shaber didn’t make it, but he’s still interesting. He’s 6 feet, 6 inches, 255 pounds, and a member of his team’s 1,000-pound club (squat, deadlift, bench combined). Most impressively, he has Ivy League offers from Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth, Columbia and Princeton.

*Snubbed: Maurice Turner of Coffee had 1,401 yards from scrimmage – 689 rushing, 712 receiving – and scored 18 touchdowns and can line up in the backfield or in the slot. Calhoun’s Gage Leonard, a defensive back/running back who came from Christian Heritage, is another.

*Underrated: It used to be Calhoun’s Cole Speer, who didn’t get enough credit for his 2020 season. He had 59 receptions for 1,151 yards and 11 touchdowns, made 50 tackles and intercepted five passes. He has a 3.96 GPA. Then he ran a 4.38-second 40 this summer. Georgia offered him this month.

*What else is new: The 26 players on the team come from 20 schools. The best three teams from 2020 – Warner Robins, Blessed Trinity and Cartersville – have only four among themselves. It suggests a more balanced if not wide-open classification this season.

OFFENSE

QB - Thomas Castellanos, Ware County, Sr.

RB - Damari Alston, Woodward Academy, Sr.

RB - Justice Haynes, Blessed Trinity, Jr.

WR - Cole Speer, Calhoun, Sr.

WR - Daveon Walker, Warner Robins, Sr.

TE - Marques Dunn, Jonesboro, Sr.

OL - Jackson Cannon, Ola, Sr.

OL - Jalen Farmer, Eastside, Sr.

OL - Shadre Hurst, Cartersville, Sr.

OL - Kendrick Kirby, Calhoun, Sr.

OL - Owen Spell, Wayne County, Sr.

ATH - K.D. Hutchinson, Harris County, Sr.

PK - Chase Folser, Ola, Sr.

DEFENSE

DL - Vic Burley, Warner Robins, Jr.

DL - Montrell Henderson, Drew, Sr.

DL - Deandre Jones, New Manchester, Sr.

DL - Kanye Varner, Jonesboro, Sr.

LB/DL - Donovan Westmoreland, Griffin, Sr.

LB - Khyle Cowan, Clarke Central, Sr.

LB - Anthony Gaskin, Coffee, Sr.

LB - Christopher Lewis, Calhoun, Sr.

DB - Amari Jackson, Eagle’s Landing, Sr.

DB - Roderick McCrary, Creekside, So.

DB - Dainsus Miller, Creekside, Sr.

DB - Jack Tchienchou, St. Pius, Jr.

P - Henry Bates, Ware County, Sr.

Coming Thursday: Class 4A

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