A Heisman Trophy winner, a pair of national champion Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the ninth leading scorer in NFL history are among the players selected to the AJC Super 11 team of the 1980s.
The AJC Super 11 team, the newspaper’s annual preseason list of its top high school football players in the state, debuted in the summer of 1985. The players on the all-decade team were among the 55 players chosen to the Super 11 team from 1985-89 and – more important for this project -- their high school, college and professional accomplishments were all a part of the selection process.
Charlie Ward and Shawn Jones are two of the three quarterbacks on the all-decade team. Ward was named to the AJC Super 11 in 1987 and was the Class AAA offensive player of the year at Central-Thomasville (now Thomas County Central) as a senior.
Ward would become the first Super 11 alumnus to win the Heisman Trophy, winning the award and a national championship at Florida State in 1993. Jones (1987), from Thomasville High, won 29 games as a starter in high school and was a four-year starter at Georgia Tech. Jones had 2,285 yards rushing and passing during the Jackets’ 1990 national championship season.
Ken Swilling (1987) was Jones’ teammate on Tech’s championship squad, a consensus All-American pick as the junior leader of the defensive backfield. Swilling also was a Parade All-American as a senior at Stephens County High School.
John Kasay (1986) was a four-year letterman in high school, had 46 field goals in four seasons at the University of Georgia and finished a 21-year NFL career with 1,970 points – No. 9 overall in league history.
Here’s the complete list of the players selected on the AJC Super 11 team of the 1980s.