For the first time since the Super 11’s inception in 1985, there are no running backs on the AJC’s list of the best high school players in the state.
There are no quarterbacks, either, but that’s happened before. The state produced the two best high school quarterbacks in the country last year, Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields.
The running back situation might be a sign of the times, because Georgia high school football programs grudgingly have moved away from run-based offenses with feature backs. There are three wide receivers in this year’s Super 11, tied for the most ever.
But it might just be an unusual year. The reigning NFL rookie of the year, running back Alvin Kamara, is from Georgia, and he didn’t even make the Super 11 as a Norcross senior in 2012.
So time will tell.
Here are 11 more nuggets about this year’s Super 11, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s annual preseason selections of the state’s best high school football players.
• The absence of Super 11 quarterbacks follows two seasons of having two each. All four of those were five-star recruits — Fields and Lawrence in 2017 and Jake Fromm and Davis Mills in 2016. There were no quarterbacks in 2015 or 2014 except for Mecole Hardman, who was primarily a runner.
• Nine of the Super 11 are from metro Atlanta. That’s the most since 2002. But there’s no metro trend, yet. Just two years ago, there were only four metro Atlanta Super 11s.
• Travon Walker of Upson-Lee and Trezmen Marshall of Clinch County are the first Super 11 picks from the history of their schools. They’re also the only non-metro Atlanta Super 11 picks. Just a coincidence.
• Two Super 11 players are sons of prominent former Atlanta professional athletes. Chris Hinton’s father, Chris Sr., was a Pro Bowl tackle with the Falcons in the 1980s. Dominick Blaylock’s father, Mookie, was an All-Star with the Hawks in the 1990s.
• All 11 are committed. The last to announce was Andrew Booth to Clemson on July 30. The last time that all 11 were committed before the team was announced was 2009. Two of those later changed their minds.
• Georgia has commitments from five of the Super 11. The Bulldogs have signed five or six Super 11 players each of the past four seasons, including six last year. Ironically, none of those six in 2017 — Brenton Cox, Adam Anderson, Kearis Jackson, Jamaree Salyer, Otis Reese and Fields — had committed to Georgia when the 2017 Super 11 was announced.
• For the second consecutive year, the Big Ten has commitments from two Super 11 players — Chris Hinton to Michigan and Harry Miller to Ohio State. But last year, both Big 10 commits — Otis Reese (Michigan) and Brenton Cox (Ohio State) — later flipped to Georgia.
• Three Super 11 players have won state titles. They are Jadon Haselwood of Cedar Grove (2016), Trezmen Marshall of Clinch County (2015 and 2017) and Owen Pappoe of Grayson (2016).
• One Super 11 player comes from a team that had a losing record last season. Travon Walker’s Upson-Lee team was 4-6. But Walker has been an all-state player on two-time state-championship basketball team.
• Nine of the 11 are among the top 11 senior recruits in Georgia, according to the 247Sports Composite. That’s an unusually high number. The Super 11 is designed to recognize players for their high school production and not their status as recruits. Those who aren’t in the consensus top 11 also are highly recruited. Jalen Perry is No. 17 and Kyle Hamilton is No. 37.
• There’s disagreement over the state’s top prospect. According to 247Sports, it’s Walker. According to ESPN, it’s Pappoe. According to Rivals, it’s Haselwood.