Best of the AJC Super 11
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.
With the selection of the top high school football players in Georgia 2016, we look back a the best of best Super 11 selections dating back to the first classes:
John Kasay, Clarke Central (1986): Not many kickers have made the AJC’s Super 11 team, but this one went on to play 21 seasons in the NFL. He’s the ninth-leading scorer in league history.
Charlie Ward, Thomas County Central (1987): Ward, a quarterback, was the first Super 11 to win a Heisman Trophy. He led Florida State to a national title in 1993, then he played 12 seasons in the NBA, mostly with the Knicks.
Garrison Hearst, Lincoln County (1989): Hearst, a running back, was Georgia’s all-class player of the year in 1989. He finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting while at Georgia and rushed for 7,966 yards in a 10-season NFL career.
Before he set records at Georgia, Eric Zeier was the quarterback at Marietta High School. (Special to the AJC)
Eric Zeier, Marietta (1990): Zeier went to Georgia, where he became the all-time leading passer in SEC history (since broken). He played six seasons in the NFL.
Hines Ward, Forest Park (1993): Ward went from the University of Georgia to the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he came the team’s all-time leading receiver and MVP of Super Bowl XL.
Marcus Stroud, Brooks County (1995): Stroud, a defensive tackle, was a first-round draft pick out of Georgia who played 11 seasons in the NFL. He made three Pro Bowls.
Champ Bailey, Charlton County (1995): Bailey was an All-America player at Georgia and 12-time Pro Bowl cornerback in the NFL, mostly with the Denver Broncos.
Jeff Backus, Norcross (1995): Backus, a tackle, was a four-year starter at Michigan, part of its 1997 national-championship team, and then started 186 straight games over 12 years with the Lions.
Deon Grant, Josey (1996): Grant, a safety, won a state title in high school (1996), a national championship in college (1998 with Tennessee) and a Super Bowl in the NFL (2011 with the Giants).
Jamal Lewis, Douglass (1996): Lewis, a former Tennessee standout, is best known for his 2,066 yards rushing in 2003 with the Ravens.
Charles Grant, Miller County (1997): Grant was a record-setting running back in high school. He was a defense end at Georgia and for eight seasons in the NFL. He won a Super Bowl with the Saints.
Jay Ratliff, Lowndes (1999): Ratliff, a defensive tackle, played on a state-championship team at Lowndes. The former Auburn player played 11 seasons in the NFL and made four straight Pro Bowls (2008-11).
David Greene, South Gwinnett (1999): Greene became the winningest quarterback in NCAA Division I history with 42 victories, breaking a record held by Peyton Manning. He also left Georgia as the SEC’s all-time leader in passing yards.
Parkview’s Jeff Francoeur passed up a career in football, for major league baseball. (T. Levette Bagwell/AJC)
Jeff Francoeur, Parkview (2001): Francoeur was Georgia’s all-classification football player of the year in 2001 and recruited as a tight end by Clemson. But he opted for baseball. The current Atlanta Brave is in his 12th major league season.
Calvin Johnson, Sandy Creek (2003): Johnson was the ACC player of the year at wide receiver for Georgia Tech in 2006. A sure Hall of Famer, Johnson made six Pro Bowls with the Detroit Lions and retired this off-season.
Morgan Burnett, North Clayton (2006): Burnett was one of three future All-ACC Georgia Tech players on the 2006 Super 11 team. Josh Nesbitt of Greene County and Jonathan Dwyer of Kell were the other two. Burnett has started 75 games in the NFL with the Packers.
Eric Berry, Creekside (2006): The former Tennessee All-America safety and first-round NFL Draft pick made his fourth Pro Bowl last season with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Robert Nkemdiche, Grayson (2012): This defensive lineman was the highest-rated Georgia high school football prospect since the Super 11’s inception in 1985. He was an All-American at Ole Miss and 2016 first-round NFL Draft pick.
Nick Chubb, Cedartown (2013): Cubb rushed for 1,547 yards as a freshman at Georgia, then 747 as a sophomore in only six games before a knee injury shortened his season. He’s worked his way back to probable starter for UGA’s opener against North Carolina.
DeShaun Watson, Gainesville (2013): Watson, the Georgia record-holder for career passing yards in high school, led Clemson to the national-title game in 2015 and is a Heisman Trophy candidate in 2016.
Gainesville DeShaun Watson a favorite to win college football’s Heisman Trophy as the quarterback at Clemson. (Jason Getz/AJC)