11 facts about the 2016 AJC Super 11
It’s a tradition, but hardly a science.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s annual Super 11 team — a preseason look at the state’s best senior high school football players — began in 1985. About one in four of those selected go on to play in the NFL.
Those ready to join that list are 2016 NFL draft picks Robert Nkemdiche of Grayson, Vonn Bell of Ridgeland, Kenyan Drake of Hillgrove and Jordan Jenkins of Harris County — all Super 11 alumni.
Some who aren’t picked, such as Dooly County’s Leonard Floyd, the No. 9 pick in the draft, prove that it’s anybody’s guess where the 11 are headed.
What each Super 11 has in common is that he’s an impact player right now, as a high school football player.
Here are 11 facts and observations about the 32nd rendition of the AJC Super 11:
• Four of the 2016 Super 11 selections are quarterbacks, although only two will play that position in college. Still, that’s the most on the Super 11 since 2001. Jake Fromm of Houston County and Davis Mills of Greater Atlanta Christian are the prototype quarterbacks, each ranked among the top five senior recruits at their position in the country. They are the first pure quarterbacks in the Super 11 since Deshaun Watson in 2013. Deejay Dallas of Glynn Academy and Richard LeCounte of Liberty County, both dual-threat players in high school, could play several positions in college.
• Five of the Super 11 selections are from South Georgia. That’s the most since 1997, when future NFL players Boss Bailey of Charlton County, Charles Grant of Miller County and Joe Burns of Thomas County Central graced a special team. The current lot comes a year after only one Super 11 player, Savannah Christian’s Demetris Robertson, lived south of metro Atlanta. This year’s South Georgians are Dallas, LeCounte, Nate McBride of Vidalia, Aubrey Solomon of Lee County and J.D. King of Fitzgerald.
• Only four of the 11 are from metro Atlanta. They are Mills of GAC, DeAngelo Gibbs and Jamyest Williams of Grayson and Andrew Thomas of Pace Academy. That’s the fewest since 2008. The record low was two in 1989.
• Four Super 11 picks are the first for their schools. Those are Dallas (Glynn Academy), Solomon (Lee County), King (Fitzgerald), Mills (Greater Atlanta Christian) and Thomas (Pace Academy).
• All 11 play on very good teams, but only Thomas has won a state championship in football. Pace Academy won its first title last year. The other 10 play on teams expected to be ranked in the top 10 in preseason.
Grayson running back Jamyest Williams of Grayson has a captive audience on Twitter. (Ryon Horne / AJC)
• Grayson is the only team with two Super 11 members — Williams and Gibbs. It has happened nine other times that one school had two, most recently Tyren Jones and Brandon Kublanow of Walton in 2012. What is unusual is that neither played at Grayson last season. Williams played for Archer. Gibbs played for Peachtree Ridge.
• Ten of the 11 are rated among the top 25 senior recruits in Georgia. That’s unusually high since the Super 11 historically recognizes players for their high school production and not their status as recruits. The outsider is King, the state’s No. 90 prospect. King also is the state’s leading active rusher.
• The average number of Twitter followers for a Super 11 player is 5,118. The most belong to Williams, who surpassed 12,000 last week. Only King is not busy on social media. He has only 460 followers.
• Six of the 11 have made their college decisions, which is the norm. There were five in each of the past two seasons. The trend of early commitments peaked in 2009, when all 11 had committed. Those committed this year are Fromm, LeCounte and Thomas to Georgia, Mills to Stanford, Dallas to Miami and King to Oklahoma State.
• Who is the best college prospect of the bunch? Nobody can agree. Scout.com says it’s Mills. ESPN says it’s Gibbs. 247Sports says it’s LeCounte. Rivals.com says it’s McBride. In fact, McBride is actually Rivals’ No. 2 prospect in Georgia. Rivals’ No. 1 is Westlake cornerback A.J. Terrell, who was passed over for Super 11, and there is a point to be taken in that: It’s all a matter of opinion.
• About 82 past Super 11 players have gone on to play in the NFL out of the 364 chosen since 1985. About 40 are still playing college football. So it’s about one-quarter of those eligible who wind up playing on Sundays.