Projected top players by position: Best offensive linemen come in pairs
The best offensive linemen come in pairs these days, or so it seems in Georgia.
Pace Academy has Andrew Thomas and Jemaree Salyer, both big-time recruits. Grayson’s Tony Gray and Will Taylor are future major Division I players. Cedar Grove’s Netori Johnson and Justin Shaffer have committed to Georgia. And while Tyler Fannin is the only Mill Creek player on our list, we could’ve done much worse than his teammate, Jack Franklin. Both had 40-plus pancake blocks in 2015.
Here are 10 of Georgia’s best in the trenches for 2016.
*Caleb Chandler, Jefferson (6-5, 285): Chandler is poised to become a rare three-time first-team all-state player (made the GSWA team as a sophomore and was unanimous as a junior). Chandler is rated Georgia’s No. 39 prospect overall. He has more than 25 offers.
*D’Antne Demery, Brunswick (6-5, 320): Though still considered a bit of a raw prospect,Demery in 2015 became the first Brunswick lineman (offensive or defensive) to make first-team all-state (AJC, GACA, GSWA).Demery, rated the No. 12 prospect overall in Georgia, is committed to Georgia.
*Tyler Fannin, Mill Creek (6-3, 290): Fannin, the center on Mill Creek’s 13-1 team, was first-team all-state in Class AAAAAA last season.He is committedto Virginia. Teammate Jack Franklin (6-4, 315), a guard with several mid-major D-I offers, nearly made the list, as well. Both made the Gwinnett Daily Post’s all-county first team.
*Tony Gray, Grayson (6-5, 290): Gray, a transfer, was first-team all-state in Class AAAAAA last season while at Central Gwinnett. He is rated the No. 15 prospect in Georgia, the No. 18 tackle nationally. Georgia and Kentucky are his reported leaders.
*Netori Johnson, Cedar Grove (6-3, 345):Johnson, Cedar Grove’s left guard in 2015, was first-team all-state in Class AAA last season, when he was part of a state semifinal team. He also had eight tackles for losses on defense. Known for his colorfully dyed hair (usually red), Johnson was committed as a junior to Alabama but switched to Georgia in April. He’s rated the No. 86 national prospect among seniors.
*Jamaree Salyer, Pace Academy (6-3, 285): Salyer (pronounced Sawl-yer) was the only sophomore to make AJC first-team all-state in Class AA last season, when Pace won its first state title in football. He’s rated the consensus No. 1 guard prospect nationally among juniors and the No. 2 prospect in Georgia. His strength is run-blocking. His college favorites appear to be Georgia and Clemson.
*Justin Shaffer, Cedar Grove (6-5, 350): Shaffer and teammate Netori Johnson were the only junior offensive linemen to make first-team all-Region 4-AAA. That’s the region that sent three teams to the semifinals. Shaffer is projected as a guard but played right tackle last season. He is rated the No. 41 overall prospect in the state. He is committed to Georgia, whose new philosophy of bigger-is-better is a perfect fit for him.
*Quan Stokes, Colquitt County (6-3, 310): Stokes’ credentials are that he is the most highly rated senior recruit on a team that has won 30 consecutive games and set scoring records while playing in the highest classification. Stokes is a guard. The Packers’ left tackle is Ian Brinson. Both are college prospects.
*Will Taylor, Grayson (6-4, 280): With all the blue-chip recruits now at Grayson at all positions, none was more impressive to new coach Jeff Herron than Taylor, a guard/center who is committed to Duke. He’s rated the No. 6 prospect among centers nationally (one spot ahead of Fannin).
*Andrew Thomas, Pace Academy (6-5, 310): Thomas, a first-team all-state pick in 2015, is the consensus top offensive-lineman recruit in Georgia and the No. 55 prospect overall nationally. Thomas was a two-way starter on Pace’s state-championship team, and his coach says his heart is on defense, but his meal ticket is pass protection. He is committed to Georgia.
Coming Monday: Defensive linemen
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