Preseason all-state: Vic Burley, linebackers head class in 5A

*Best player: Vic Burley, Warner Robins. The 6-foot-5, 275-pound defensive tackle is the reigning Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year for the defending 5A champions.

*Best position: Linebacker. There’s little difference between those who made it here and the best who didn’t, such as Eastside’s Jean Claude Joseph, Northside-Columbus’ Dajwon Deloach and Ware County’s Trey Hargrove. This class is overflowing with returning all-region and likely Division I college players at this position.

*Most highly recruited: Burley is the consensus No. 42 senior recruit nationally. He committed to Clemson in June.

*That’s interesting: Jefferson linebacker and running back Sammy Brown certainly fits the athlete description. Brown won the Class 4A wrestling title in the 220-pound division as a sophomore last winter. Then in May, he placed sixth in the 100 meters (10.97 seconds), fourth in the 200 meters (22.01) and fourth in the long jump (21 feet, 4 inches) at the Class 4A track and field meet.

*Snubbed: Calhoun, the 2021 Class 5A runner-up, doesn’t have a player on the team, not even junior Caden Williams, a 1,400-yard rusher with a Georgia Tech offer. Wide receivers Kenric Lanier of Decatur and Sacovie White of Cass are also major Division I recruits coming off impressive 2021 seasons.

*Underrated: Kell’s Joshua Barker is a 5-9 defensive lineman who squats 600 pounds, does back flips and carries a 3.9 GPA. As a junior, he was credited with 37 tackles for loss and two blocked punts. Only small college programs have offered him a chance.

*What else is new: Cass QB Devin Henderson might be the best football player in Bartow County, which is rare for a player not on state power Cartersville’s roster. In only 21 games as a freshman and sophomore, Henderson has thrown for 3,060 yards, rushed for 1,223 yards and had a hand in 43 touchdowns. He’s also a fine defensive back. He’s 5-10, 180 pounds.

Offense

QB - Jai’Que Hart, Lithia Springs, Sr.

QB - Devin Henderson, Cass, Jr.

RB - Javious Bond, Jones County, Sr.

RB - Malcolm Brown, Warner Robins, Sr.

WR - Malik Leverett, Greenbrier, Sr.

WR - Zion Ragins, Jones County, Jr.

TE - Walter Matthews, Hiram, Jr.

OL - Daniel Calhoun, Centennial, Jr.

OL – Johnathan Cline, Cartersville, Sr.

OL - Caleb Holmes, Creekside, Jr.

OL - Ian Fisher, McIntosh, Sr.

OL - Jatavius Shivers, Villa Rica, Sr.

ATH - Sammy Brown, Jefferson, Jr.

PK - Isaac Kone, Decatur, Sr.

Defense

DL - Joshua Barker, Kell, Sr.

DL - Vic Burley, Warner Robins, Sr.

DL - Tavion Gadson, Jenkins, Sr.

DL - Dailen Howard, Clarke Central, Sr.

LB - Julien Davis, Union Grove, Sr.

LB - Dwight Johnson Jr., Dutchtown, Sr.

LB - Javeon Miller, Creekside, Sr.

LB – Aidan Thompson, Winder-Barrow, Sr.

DB - Johnsley Barbas, Centennial, Sr.

DB - Roderick McCrary, Creekside, Jr.

DB - Malachi McNeill, Clarke Central, Sr.

DB - Daiquan White, Creekside, Sr.

P - Arthur Richez, McIntosh, Jr.

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