*Best player: Malaki Starks, Jefferson. He rushed for 1,537 yards and 24 touchdowns, threw 11 TD passes and had 41 tackles and two interceptions as a free safety.
*Best position: Athlete. There are lots of versatile, dynamic players in this class, but with Starks hogging the athlete slot on the team, it’s hard to place Benedictine’s John Thomas, the Georgia baseball commit who scored touchdowns rushing (14), receiving (seven) and returning interceptions (two) last year, and some others mentioned below.
*Most highly recruited: Two of the state’s five five-star recruits play here. They are Starks (committed to Georgia) and Mykel Williams (Southern Cal).
*That’s interesting: Neither made this team, thanks again to Starks, but this class has the state’s two most dynamic rising sophomores. Troup quarterback Taeo Todd rushed for 1,457 yards last season. Jefferson running back Sammy Brown rushed for 1,368. Todd is a little guy at 5 feet, 9 inches, while Brown is 6-2, 220, but both are major-college recruits.
*Snubbed: Devin Riles of Carver in Columbus and David Renard of Flowery Branch are ace quarterbacks on top-10 teams.
*Underrated: Marist’s Andrew Mannelly is more than meets the eye, a two-way player who scored his 12th touchdown and recorded his ninth tackle for loss in the Class 4A championship game victory over Jefferson last year. And he’s smart, going to a brainy school (Wofford) on a baseball scholarship.
*What else is new: Carver of Columbus has the most players here with four. Coach Corey Joyner’s Tigers are coming off back-to-back 10-win seasons and have their most talented roster since the days of coach Dell McGee.
QB - Holden Geriner, Benedictine, Sr.
RB - Jerdavian Colbert, Cedar Shoals, Sr.
RB - Jordan Moultrie, Hardaway, Sr.
WR - Adam Hopkins, Thomas County Central, Jr.
WR - Ray Morrison, Northwest Whitfield, Sr.
TE/WR - Daequan Wright, Perry, Sr.
OL - Kam Bing, New Hamstead, Sr.
OL - Donovan Haslam, Perry, Sr.
OL - Steve Nahmias, Marist, Sr.
OL - Elijah Pritchett, Carver (Columbus), Sr.
OL - Kelton Smith, Carver (Columbus), Jr.
PK - Dawson Jones, Marist, Sr.
ATH - Malaki Starks, Jefferson, Sr.
DL - Cameron Crowell, Carver (Columbus), Sr.
DL - Gabe Harris, Thomas County Central, Jr.
DL - Mykel Williams, Hardaway, Sr.
DE/OLB - Andrew Mannelly, Marist, Sr.
LB - Kadin Bailey, Jefferson, Sr.
LB - Gary Davis, Cairo, Sr.
LB - C.J. Washington, Cedartown, Sr.
LB - Holden Sapp, Benedictine, Sr.
DB - Deyon Bouie, Bainbridge, Sr.
DB - Devon Irving, Hapeville Charter, Sr.
DB - Camerin Marshall, Perry, Jr.
DB - Antonio Watts, Carver (Columbus), Sr.
P - Bridger Jones, Columbus, Sr.
Coming Friday: Class 3A
Walton cornerback Marcus Allen broke up nine passes and intercepted two out of the 26 attempts that were thrown his way last season. The top-300 national prospect has committed to North Carolina. (Photo by Rusty Mansell / 247Sports)
State's top 25 includes 4 DBs
Four of the state’s top 25 senior recruits are cornerbacks, according to the 247Sports Composite. That’s the most since 2017, when current Atlanta Falcons corner A.J. Terrell was a Westlake Lion.
This year’s group includes North Cobb’s Marquis Groves-Killebrew, Valdosta’s JaDarian Rhym and Walton’s Marcus Allen. The fourth, Collins Hill’s Travis Hunter, is the first consensus No. 1 cornerback nationally from the state since Eric Berry in 2007. He’s not on the list below, however, as he made the Georgia Power 100 as a wide receiver.
These 10 are the latest members of GHSF Daily’s Georgia Power 100.
*Marcus Allen, Walton: Allen (6-2, 175) is a three-year starter and was first-team all-region and GACA all-state as a junior cornerback for a Class 7A playoff team. Only 26 passes were thrown his way last season. He broke up nine and intercepted two. He also blocked two kicks. A top-300 national prospect, Allen committed to North Carolina in June.
*Deyon Bouie, Bainbridge: Bouie (5-11, 170) is the consensus No. 50 senior prospect nationally, though he missed last season with ACL and MCL injuries. Bouie started as a freshman and intercepted six passes for Bainbridge’s 2018 Class 5A championship team. He had 510 yards receiving as a sophomore. Bouie, an early Georgia pledge, is now uncommitted.
*Caleb Downs, Mill Creek: Downs (6-0, 185) is the consensus No. 2 safety prospect nationally among juniors, making him his school’s highest-rated player ever. He’s started since he was a freshman. As a sophomore, he had 70 tackles, broke up 14 passes and intercepted four passes, returning two for touchdowns for a Class 7A team. He also played wide receiver and wildcat quarterback. He made GACA all-state. His coach, Josh Lovelady, says he has the best football IQ of any player he’s coached in 25 years.
*Marquis Groves-Killebrew, North Cobb: Groves-Killebrew (6-0, 180) is a top-100 national prospect and cornerback who committed to Georgia in May. He’s the highest-rated prospect at North Cobb this century. He played his junior season at Brookwood.
*Kayin Lee, Cedar Grove: Lee (6-0, 160) is a top-100 national junior prospect and was the Region 5-3A defensive player of the year in 2020. In eight games, he had 27 tackles and intercepted three passes. He’s the top secondary prospect in his school’s history.
*Ethan Nation, Roswell: Nation (5-10, 170) is a consensus top-150 prospect and the No. 20 cornerback among juniors. He was GACA all-state as a sophomore in 2020, when he intercepted eight passes for a Class 7A playoff team. Nation is uncommitted.
*Jake Pope, Buford: Pope (6-1, 190) is a top-300 national prospect and Buford’s best all-around player, a two-way starter who excels at safety, receiver and return man. As a junior on a state-winning team, he had 60 tackles, six behind the line, seven TD receptions and more than 400 return yards. He’s the highest-rated safety prospect Buford has had this century. He’s uncommitted.
*JaDarian “J.D.” Rhym, Valdosta: Rhym (6-1, 170), a three-year starter at cornerback, made first-team AJC all-state last season for a Class 6A semifinal team. A top-200 national prospect, he committed to LSU in January. He’s Valdosta’s top college prospect since Malcolm Mitchell and Jay Rome in 2010.
*Marcus Washington, Grovetown: Washington (6-0, 170) is his school’s first consensus four-star cornerback prospect in history. A rising junior, he committed to Georgia in May. He made GACA all-state in 2020. He’s run 100 meters in 10.76 seconds and triple-jumped 44 feet, 3 inches.
*Caleb Wooden, Archer: Wooden (6-2, 185) had 53 solo tackles and four interceptions for a Class 7A playoff team last season. He was second-team all-Gwinnett County. Wooden committed to Auburn last month.
Coming Friday: Athletes/two-way players
Touchdown Club of Atlanta
luncheons begin on Aug. 18
Join the Touchdown Club of Atlanta for its 2021 awards luncheons, beginning on Aug. 18 with guest speaker Tony Barnhart. Speakers at future luncheons include Andy Staples (Sept. 14), Greg McElroy (Oct. 5), Barry Alvarez (Oct. 26) and Jim Grobe (Nov. 16). The Fall Luncheon Series will be held at 103 West in Buckhead. For details on upcoming events, click here. All-inclusive memberships are available by clicking here.
The Maxwell Ratings, compiled by mathematician and Georgia High School Football Historians Association founder Loren Maxwell, have projected the region finishes of all 423 football-playing schools in the GHSA. The projections are based on historical scores, with the most recent season weighing most heavily. Teams that did unusually well, or poorly, in 2020 are projected to regress toward the mean. The ratings do not consider changes in player personnel or coaching staff. Below are Maxwell’s projections and a brief look at how Class 4A shapes up in 2021.
Collins Hill senior Sam Horn is the state’s leading returning passer. Below are returnees with more than 2,500 yards passing last season.
3,910 - Sam Horn, Collins Hill
3,197 - R.J. Johnson, Westlake
3,128 - Gunner Stockton, Rabun County
2,881 - Thomas Castellanos, Ware County
2,858 - Brooks Pangle, Greenbrier
2,770 - Holden Geriner, Benedictine
2,703 - Tyler Hughes, Marietta
2,655 - David Renard, Flowery Branch
2,513 - Zach Holtzclaw, Dawson County
2,505 - Lonnie Ratliff, Duluth
2,505 - A.J. Swann, Cherokee
Marist coach Alan Chadwick’s first season as a head coach was 1985. Who is the only other active GHSA head coach who was a head coach in 1985? (Answer Friday)
Answer to Wednesday’s question: The Georgia schools that have produced the most consensus five-star recruits this century, according to the 247Sports Composite, are North Gwinnett and Grayson with three each. They are Mitch Hyatt, Ja’Wuan James and Barrett Carter of North Gwinnett and Robert Nkemdiche, Owen Pappoe and Wanya Morris of Grayson.
Jostens is the leading provider of yearbooks, caps and gowns, class rings and championship rings and is the Official Championship Ring of the GHSA. Click here to learn more.
The preseason scrimmage schedule is compiled by GHSF Daily and not maintained by the GHSA or any other organization. Changes from our Wednesday edition are listed in red. Please click here to notify us of any additions or errors.
Archer at Mill Creek
Armuchee at Model
Baldwin at Dacula
Bryan Co. at Tattnall Co.
Calvary Day vs. New Hampstead (P)
Clarke Central at Norcross
Collins Hill at Meadowcreek
Eastside at Monroe Area
Gainesville at Winder-Barrow
Heritage, Ringgold at Gordon Lee
Lithonia at Berkmar
McIntosh at Union Grove
Mount Zion, Carroll at Greenville
North Hall at Flowery Branch
North Springs at Chattahoochee
Polk Co., Tenn. at Towns Co.
Putnam Co. at Oconee Co.
Sandy Creek at East Coweta
Shaw at Brookstone
South Paulding at Brookwood
Stone Mountain at Chamblee (ND)
Swainsboro at Johnson Co.
Turner Co. at Tift Co.
Villa Rica at Bowdon
Westlake at Milton
West Hall at Pickens
Woodward Academy at GAC
Adairsville at Bremen
Athens Academy at Westminster
Athens Christian at Hebron Christian
Appling Co. at Bacon Co.
Augusta Christian at Cross Creek
Banks Co. at Stephens Co.
Banneker at Cambridge
Berrien at Atkinson Co.
Callaway at Darlington
Camden Co. at Valdosta
Cedartown at Cass
Central, Carrollton at Northgate
Chapel Hill at Hiram
Charlton Co. at Islands
Cherokee Bluff at Jackson Co.
Cherokee Co., Ala. at Trion
Chestatee at Johnson, Gainesville
Columbus at Marion Co.
Cook at Lanier Co.
Claxton at Pinewood
Creekside at Roswell
Dade Co. at Ringgold
Dalton at Pepperell
Discovery at Shiloh
Druid Hills vs. Lakeside, Atlanta (A)
Dublin at Haralson Co.
Duluth at Central Gwinnett
Dunwoody vs. Arabia Mountain (ND)
Eagle’s Landing at Blessed Trinity
East Hall at Riverside Military
East Jackson at Oglethorpe Co.
Fitzgerald at ECI
George Walton at Mount Paran Christian
Georgia Military at Montgomery Co.
Glynn Academy at Bainbridge
Grayson at Marietta
Hapeville Charter at Johns Creek
Harris Co. at LaGrange
Harrison at East Paulding
*Hart Co. vs. Belton-Honea Path, Wren (HC)
Hayesville, N.C. at Fannin Co.
Hephzibah at Laney
Heritage, Newnan at Taylor Co.
Hillgrove at Kennesaw Mountain
Holy Innocents’ at Fellowship Christian
Houston Co. at Jones Co.
Howard at ACE Charter
Hughes at Alpharetta
Islands at Charlton Co.
Jackson, Atlanta vs. Washington (HA)
Jenkins at Liberty Co.
John Milledge at Mount de Sales
KIPP Atlanta at Mount Zion, Jones. (T)
LaFayette at Ridgeland
Lakeside, Evans at Harlem
Landmark Christian at Mount Pisgah
Loganville Christian at Social Circle
Long Co. at McIntosh Co. Academy
Lumpkin Co. at Lakeview Academy
Metter at Statesboro
M.L. King at Parkview
Morgan Co. at Greene Co.
Mount Vernon at Prince Avenue Christian
Mountain View at South Gwinnett
New Manchester at Douglas Co.
North Gwinnett at South Forsyth
North Hall at Flowery Branch
North Paulding at Allatoona
Northside, Columbus vs. Jordan (K)
Northeast at Westside, Macon
Northview at Riverwood
Osborne at Berkmar
Paulding Co. at Temple
Pierce Co. at Dodge Co.
Providence Christ. at Bethlehem Christ.
Richmond Academy at Grovetown
Richmond Hill at Veterans
Riverwood at Northview
Rockmart at Carrollton
Rutland at First Presbyterian
Savannah at Savannah Christian
Schley Co. at Irwin Co.
Screven Co. at Effingham Co.
Sonoraville at Gordon Central
Southwest at Mary Persons
Sprayberry at North Cobb
St. Francis at Rabun Co.
Stockbridge at Alcovy
Starr’s Mill at Marist
Sumter Co. at Spencer
Toombs Co. at Benedictine (SM)
Towers at Rockdale Co.
Treutlen at East Laurens
Tri-Cities at Centennial
Troup at Heard Co.
Union Co. at Southeast Whitfield
Vidalia at Brantley Co.
Vidalia at Brantley Co.
Ware Co. at Brunswick
Warren Co. at Lincoln Co.
Washington Co. at Jefferson Co.
*Wash.-Wilkes vs. Crescent, Walhalla (HC)
Windsor Forest at Savannah Country Day
Woodland, Stockbridge at Griffin
Wesleyan at McDonough
Westside, Augusta at Greenbrier
Whitewater at Pike Co.
Wilcox Co. at Jeff Davis
Harlem vs. Lakeside, Evans
*Franklin Co. vs. Powdersville, Pendleton (HC)
*Jefferson vs. T.L. Hanna, Westside (HC)
*Madison Co. vs. Seneca, Palmetto (HC)
Stadium abbreviations: (A) Adams; (HA) Henderson-Atlanta; (HC) Hart County High School; K – Kinnett; ND – North DeKalb; P – Pooler; SM – Savannah Memorial; T – Tara
*The Lake Hartwell Gridiron Classic at Hart County features five Georgia and 10 South Carolina teams. South Carolina teams can play only halves because of their association’s rules. Georgia teams play two halves, as allowed by the GHSA.
Join the GACA and be eligible for liability insurance, participation in all-star games, registration to clinics, and access to job listings.
Today’s interviewee is Carrollton coach Joey King, who returned to high school coaching after two seasons on college sidelines at Coastal Carolina and South Florida. King is best known in Georgia as the high school coach of Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and two state-winning Cartersville teams. This interview was one of a series of preseason interviews done by GPB’s Jon Nelson and Hannah Goodin on the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast.
Joey King, Carrollton head coach
1. So, you coached at Cartersville, you spent some time in the colleges. Now you're back. What's it been like for you, making the rounds? “Making the rounds is terrible. We've moved three times in three years. I don't recommend that for anybody. But I mean, Cartersville was special for us, and to have an opportunity to go and coach under Jamey Chadwell, who was the national coach of the year this past year at Coastal Carolina, and being with Jeff Scott who learned under Dabo Sweeney, just the experience that I've gained over the past couple of years, it's definitely been valuable, something that I'll always cherish. But as far as making the rounds, you can have that. I'm over moving.”
2. What did you learn about yourself as a coach ... and what did you learn about being a father and a family man in the last 16 months, that you can apply going forward to where you are back to being with Carrollton? “It was kind of refreshing to step out of that head coaching role for a little bit and to be an assistant again, especially to just have a position. So, I learned a lot of valuable information when it comes to just the details of playing the game. When you’re a head coach and you delegate all these things, you forget to go back to those details and those little bitty things positionally. That's what makes you good as a football team. I also learned that I like to be in charge. I like to be in that leadership role. I like to control the climate of a team. That's something that I'm passionate about. So, I really, really miss that, which is one of the reasons that I'm back into it now.
On what he learned about being a family man: “That's one of the reasons that I'm back in Carrollton is because I value that more than anything else. You know, when I left my job at South Florida, there were a thousand people that were lining up to take that one [job]. If I don't do what I'm supposed to do as a daddy and a husband, a thousand people aren’t lining up to take that one. So, I want to make sure that those relationships are cherished and that I'm doing what I'm supposed to do as a daddy and a husband.”
3. What's the biggest difference between coaching college and coaching high school? “I think it's just the recruiting. X's and O's are X's and O's, and ball is ball. There is a lot more parents that try to be involved at the high school level than collegiately. Collegiately, it's a grind. It's more of a business. But also the thing about high school that I really love is being around the guys, like I was around our guys from 7:30 this morning to lunch. We fed them breakfast and lunch. There was nothing regulating my time with them in the summertime and college. You might get 30 minutes around them during the day, four hours a week, and that's it. If you want to do an occasional meal with them, you have to fill out a form and send it off. If I want to have these guys at my house and feed them pizza, then I can do that any time. So those relationships, you had to work at it around the confines of the NCAA. But high school is still wide open. There are no regulations. And I really enjoyed being around the guys I coach.”
4. Introduce your team. Tell us about some of your big playmakers. “We've got a lot of guys that are going to be their first time playing under Friday night lights. ... About 17 or 18 of the starters will be brand new. We've got some guys back. They've had experience in the past. Keyshawn Ridley is our running back. He was our lead rusher last year. He'll be back [with] Terrell Carmichael. I actually offered Terrell a scholarship when I was coaching at Coastal Carolina after his sophomore season. I've always been a fan of him and the way he plays. He's going to be a big senior leader for us. Of course, Amare' Hall had an outstanding track season, and we're looking for that confidence to carry over into football season. Ace Williamson is a receiver that we've got coming back, who had a killer baseball season. We're looking for that confidence to translate onto the football field, as well. So, those are some of the guys that will be leading us this fall.”
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Greater Georgia Basketball Officials enrolling new members
Greater Georgia Basketball Officials, one of the leading GHSA officials organizations, assigns officials to more than 25 high schools in the state. Our group is comprised of dedicated and professional men and women looking to give back to the game of basketball. If you are interested in joining Greater Georgia (GGBO), please contact Mike Oglesby via email by clicking here or by mail at Greater Georgia Basketball Officials, 3770 Cliff Crest Drive, S.E., Smyrna, GA 30080.
New sports fiction book geared toward teen athlete readers
Mike Tierney, a former longtime sports editor and writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has drawn from his experiences as a basketball coach in the Decatur school system to write the sports teen fiction book "Perfect To A Fault" about a high school player who goes through an entire season without missing a shot. Mike now coaches at Notre Dame High in the Los Angeles area, where he briefly worked with Ziaire Williams, the No. 10 pick in the NBA draft. Order the book by clicking here.
GPSA helps students grow in athletics, education and life skills
Georgia Storm Prep Academy, named for owner and head coach Storm Johnson (a former UCF standout and NFL running back), is a pre- and post-graduate football program. The program includes a complete academic program with NCAA approved classes, athletic training and competitions against other Prep programs and JUCOs to gain additional exposure. We will provide the best opportunity for student-athletes to grow and mature within athletics, education, and life skills while in attendance. For information, call 678-346-8144 or contact us via email by clicking here
Fundraise from anywhere with Double Good virtual app
The Double Good virtual app provides an excellent way to stay focused on your team while providing the funds you need to participate at the highest level. Our platform is 100% contactless, and our popcorn ships directly to your supporters. You could have results like these football programs which profited: Eastside - $26,000; East Coweta - $27,000; Milton - $25,000; Westlake - $39,000; and Woodstock - $24,000. For more information or to get started, contact Westlake head coach Robert May via email by clicking here
Let’s build your financial game plan
At Thrivent, we believe everyone deserves a financial plan. But money can seem complicated and life gets busy, especially during football season. I know this first-hand, as a financial advisor who is also blessed to coach high school football in this state. Whether it’s investment guidance, budgeting, life insurance, debt management or retirement planning, I can help. Please reach out with any questions or needs. Have a great season! Contact Andrew Frerking by phone at 404-772-0909, via email by clicking here
, or on the web at www.thrivent.com
Locust Grove seeking coaches in basketball and football
Locust Grove High School is in need of an assistant varsity basketball coach, head JV/varsity assistant coach, and a wide receivers coach for varsity football. We currently have two math positions, one social studies position and one special education position available. If interested, please contact athletic director Stephen Phillips via email by clicking here.
Rome hiring head girls basketball coach
Rome High School is accepting applications for the position of head girls basketball coach. All applicants must be a Georgia certified teacher and have head coaching experience at the collegiate or high school level. Please submit cover letter, resume, and references via email to athletic director Chris Boden by clicking here.
Southeast Bulloch looking for Friday scrimmage
Southeast Bulloch High School is looking for a scrimmage for this Friday, Aug. 13. In interested, please contact head coach Jared Zito via email by clicking here.
Thomasville seeks scrimmage opponent
Thomasville High School is currently looking for a scrimmage (preferably at home) this Friday, Aug. 13. If interested, please contact head coach Zach Grage via email by clicking here.
Westlake seeking football assistant coaches
Westlake High School is looking for football coaches. A second sport is available as well. SEC, math, engineering and Spanish as well as paraprofessional positions available. Need to move ASAP. For more information, contact coach Robert May via email by clicking here.
GHSF Daily classified ads
Reach 23,000 readers per day in GHSF Daily’s classified ads. Rates are $50 per week. Ads must be a maximum of 75 words and include a headline and contact information. Click here to contact us.
Georgia High School Football Daily is a free e-mail newsletter produced and owned by Todd Holcomb and Chip Saye. Holcomb is a former lead high school football writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and co-founder of the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. Saye is a 35-year veteran of the newspaper industry who has covered high school sports for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Athens Banner-Herald, Anderson (S.C.) Independent-Mail and Gwinnett Daily News.