Athletes all over Gwinnett

Sonny Kennedy

While some counties can boast a long list of flashy quarterbacks or trot out a distinguished list of catchy nicknames, Gwinnett County will feature some of the best athletes in the entire country, not just the state of Georgia. The No. 1 recruit in the nation, Robert Nkemdiche, suits up for the Grayson Rams, and the future Clemson Tiger led the Rams to the Class AAAAA title one year ago. Nkemdiche has a host of teammates that will join him in Clemson next year, and several other teammates will attend BCS programs. Grayson will get one final taste of 7-on-7 this weekend in Hoover, Ala., before returning to begin normal practices leading up to the Corky Kell Classic.

While Cobb County may have the best quarterbacks in the state, Gwinnett County is unmatched when it comes to running backs. Alvin Kamara of Norcross is considered the 16th best running back in the nation, and he will be leading the Blue Devils all season long as Norcross looks to make a run at a region title. Kamara recently cut his list of potential schools down to Tennessee, UGA, Alabama, FSU and Oklahoma State. Nkemdiche’s teammate Wayne Gallman is headed to Clemson after his senior year with the Rams, and don’t sleep on Parkview’s Chris Carson, Brookwood’s Jamaal Cole and Dacula’s Marcus Cox, all prospects that will be playing on Saturdays in 2013.

Perhaps it is defense you are after? Central Gwinnett’s Trey Johnson was named to the Butkus Watch List, the award that honors the nation’s top linebacker. He has led Gwinnett in tackles the last two seasons. Reggie Carter of South Gwinnett will be back on the field after missing most of last year with an injury, and Brookwood’s Shaun McGee is a stud at linebacker that had all of the SEC on his trail. Mill Creek’s Kelsey Griffin is capable of blowing up a line of scrimmage to disrupt the running game, and Antonio Riles of Archer might be the most underrated defensive lineman in the state. Two of Riles’ teammates Trevellous Cheek and Deondre Singleton must be considered the best cornerback duo in Georgia.

The county also has some of Georgia’s top coaches with Buford’s Jess Simpson, Grayson’s Mickey Conn, Brookwood’s Mark Crews and Parkview’s Cecil Flowe all holding state titles. Add in North Gwinnett’s Bob Sphire, Norcross’ Keith Maloof, Duluth’s Corey Jarvis and Mill Creek’s Shannon Jarvis and you have just the beginning of an incredible list of coaches that call Gwinnett home.

When it comes down to it, Gwinnett County has the athletes and the coaches to be able to say it is the top football county in the state. Gwinnett won one title last year and competed for another in AA. Give Gwinnett its due. As the water tower once said, “success lives here.” Football success certainly seems to and it will again in 2012.

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