Georgia’s Top Schools for Defensive Backs

For decades, Georgia High School Football has been the home for outstanding defensive backs, consistently proving that the state produces some of the best defensive backs in the nation. The talent in the defensive backfield is seen on every football field on Friday nights across the state. Below, I will list 10 of the state’s best programs when it comes to DB’s. The criteria that was considered in making this list varied program to program. For example, some of the programs made the list based on specific moments of unprecedented success in the backfield for their respective programs, while others were measured by more recent trends. This list is not perfect.

1. Westlake – Westlake’s prowess for producing pro-level defensive backs is staggering. Beginning with Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones and Sean Jones in the early 2000’s, Westlake has not stopped. ‘Pacman’ played college football at West Virginia and was drafted in 2005 by the Tennessee Titans as the sixth overall pick. Sean Jones was drafted in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns and played with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The trend continued at Westlake and over the recent years, the Lions have produced countless defensive backs including A.J. Terrell (c/o 2017 — Clemson, Atlanta Falcons), Ronnie Blackmon (c/o 2016 — Colorado), Myles Farmer (c/o 2019 — Nebraska), Joel Girtman (c/o 2019 — Mercer), Tre Person (c/o 2017 — Michigan State), Darius Robinson (c/o 2010 — Clemson), Tyrese Ross (c/0 2018 — Washington State), Myles Sims (c/o 2018 — Georgia Tech) and Micah Robinson (c/o 2020 — Furman commit).

2. Brunswick – In recent history, Brunswick has placed three defensive backs into the NFL beginning with Darius Slay. He was named All-State by the AJC at defensive back following his senior season and was also chosen for the Georgia North-South All-Star Game. He attended Itawamba Community College before transferring to Mississippi State. Slay was selected in the second round (36th pick) by the Detroit Lions in the 2013 NFL Draft and was recently traded to the Philadelphia Eagles. Justin Coleman, a 2011 graduate, was rated as the No. 17 cornerback in the nation during his senior year. The four-star recruit played at the University of Tennessee from 2011-14 and played in all 12 games as a true freshman. He was signed by the Minnesota Vikings in 2015 and has played with the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks and is currently on the Detroit Lions’ roster. Walker, a 2013 graduate, played at Louisiana before being selected in the third round (82nd pick) of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions.

3. Stephenson – Beginning with Class of 2002 four-star recruit DeMario Minter, Stephenson’s defensive back alumna are deep. Minter was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the fifth round of the 2006 NFL Draft and played with the Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals and Florida Tuskers. Next up, 2010 graduate Kenny Ladler, a three-star recruit out of high school, played at Vanderbilt and was signed by the Buffalo Bills. He has played for the Edmonton Eskimos, the Washington Redskins, the BC Lions and the New York Giants. Kadetrix Marcus, a 2011 graduate, played for the University of South Carolina. Carlito Gonzalez graduated in 2017 and took his talents to the University of Memphis as a three-star recruit.

4. Tucker – Tucker’s ability to produce top-tier DB’s was recently solidified by 2015 graduate Duke Shelley, who played at Kansas State and was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 2019 NFL Draft. He was rated as the 22nd best cornerback in his class out of high school and made 165 tackles and eight interceptions at Kansas State. 2009 grad A.J. Bouye played at the University of Central Florida, and was then signed by the Houston Texans in 2013. He has played for the Texans, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Denver Broncos. Nieko Thorpe graduated from Tucker in 2008 as a four-star recruit and played college ball at Auburn. He was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent and has played for the Toronto Argonauts, the Oakland Raiders, the Indianapolis Colts and the Seattle Seahawks. Asher Allen is another pro-player to come out of Tucker. Allen, a four-star recruit out of high school, played for the University of Georgia and then with the Seattle Seahawks.

5. North Gwinnett – Most recently, three-star 2019 graduate Warren Burrell has led the North Gwinnett defensive back corps. He enrolled at the University of Tennessee and started in four games as a true freshman. Class of 2015 graduate Jaye Stackhouse left North Gwinnett as a three-star recruit bound for the University of North Carolina. Taylor Goodson, a 2020 graduate, will take his defensive talents to Mercer while another up-and-coming DB will continue the trend with four-star Jordan Hancock committed to Clemson.

6. Archer – In recent history, Archer has produced several top-tier defensive backs and the group is led by the most recent star Andrew Booth. The five-star 2019 graduate committed to Clemson in 2018. He was a three-year starter in high school and tallied 162 tackles (131 solo) and had 13 interceptions. Another Clemson-bound player from Archer, Jalyn Phillips, was rated a three-star recruit when he graduated in 2019 and joined the Tigers as a safety. Taiyon Palmer led Archer as a four-star cornerback bound for North Carolina State. Safety Dylan Singleton, a 2016 graduate, was a four-star recruit in high school and played at Duke. Three-star safety Deondre Singleton, a 2013 graduate, played at Duke after committing in 2013.

7. Colquitt County – Three-star cornerback Jay Ward graduated in 2019 and went to LSU where, in his first season, he won a national championship when the Tigers beat Clemson in January 42-25. Shawn Shamburger was a three-star cornerback out of high school in 2017 before enrolling at the University of Tennessee. Tirise Barge, a 2017 graduate, plays for Tulane. Camari Louis, a 2019 graduate, left Colquitt and took his talents to Kennesaw State.

8. Kell – Kell has not had problems producing top-quality defensive backs in recent history. Brendon Langley, a 2013 graduate, was a four-star cornerback out of high school. He played at UGA and is currently on the Denver Broncos roster. Brian Randolph, an AJC Super 11 selection in 2010, played college football at Tennessee. As a true freshman, he played in 12 games and started eight with the Volunteers. After college, he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Los Angeles Rams. Three-star safety Nick Ross, a 2019 graduate, is currently on the roster at Appalachian State.

9. Grayson – Grayson’s defensive backs corps is deep with the likes of four-star recruit Kenyatta Watson, a class of 2019 graduate who is playing at the University of Texas. The list continues…. Kasey Gaines (c/o 2013, Penn State), Kori Gaines (c/o 2010, BYU), Shattle Fenteng (c/o 2014, UGA), David Kamara (c/o 2013, Mississippi), Ryan Carter (c/o 2013, Clemson), DeAngelo Gibbs (c/o 2017, Tennessee, UGA), Jameyst Williams (c/o 2017 South Carolina, Georgia State), Demetrius Murray (c/o 2017, Ball St), Quintin Thames (Western Carolina), Ishmael Abdul (Savannah State), Jalen Alexander (Duke), Jeremiah Smith (Georgia Tech) and Mohammad Bakayoko (Alcorn State).

10. Liberty County – Can one player bring a program into the list? In short, yes. Richard LeCounte III. As a five-star recruit coming out of Liberty County in 2016, LeCounte could go anywhere in the nation. He was a two-sport star and in 2016, LeCounte, alongside Davion Mitchell, won the AAAA basketball state championship. On the football field, LeCounte played quarterback, safety and nearly any position in between. He committed to UGA in 2015 as a sophomore. He appeared in 10 games as a true freshman and made 15 tackles. As a junior in 2019, he started all 14 games with 61 tackles and an interception. LeCounte chose to return to UGA for his senior season rather than enter the NFL Draft.

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