Georgia high school football oozes potential, from the South Carolina border down to the Florida border, from the Alabama border to the Atlantic Ocean. Debates rage from touchdown clubs and coffee shops across the state about what county really produces the best football. The constant production of BCS-level prospects, coaches rewriting the record books, and GHSA state titles are the ingredients that make one delicious football season after another for DeKalb County.
DeKalb County smashed recruiting records this past February when 132 football players signed letters of intent to play college ball. Stephenson had 25 young men sign to play for FBS Schools while Martin Luther King Jr. produced 22. Not to be outdone, Columbia had 17 players sign football scholarships and three more accept full academic scholarships.
Some notable DeKalb players making headlines on National Signing Day include St. Pius X's cornerback Geno Smith who inked with Alabama, his high school teammate T.J. Holloman, who will play at South Carolina and Stone Mountain linebacker Markus Eligwe, headed to smash pads at Florida State.
The Tucker Tigers clinched the AAAA title and a perfect 15-0 record with a 22-7 dismantling of Lovejoy last December. Under the bright lights of the Georgia Dome, Tucker showed the physical defensive play DeKalb has become known for. The Tiger defense allowed 22 Lovejoy yards in the first half, as the Tigers won yet another state title.
DeKalb cCounty boasts two of the most successful private school programs in the state as well in Marist and St. Pius X. The two programs have three state titles, 26 region titles, and 943 wins combined.
Each program's head coaches are on the verge of history this season. Marist's Alan Chadwick is one victory away from career win No. 300 overall at Marist. St. Pius X's Paul Standard is four wins away from eclipsing the century mark as the Pius head man.
DeKalb County football players are no stranger to setting records. MLK's Jonquel Dawson zipped the pigskin for 527 yards in a 48-47 playoff loss to Colquitt County in 2010. Dawson also ranks fourth all-time in touchdown passes in a season with 41 strikes in 2010.
Rod Perrymond from Dunwoody rushed for 40 touchdowns during Dunwoody's 1993 state championship season. This ranks sixth all-time in that particular statistical category.
Several DeKalb County players have graced the highest level of football. Stephenson's Kelvin Sheppard plays linebacker for the Buffalo Bills, Kevin Cone of St. Pius X plays wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons and Tucker's Asher Allen played cornerback for the Minnesota Vikings last year.
Cobb County may boast historic venues like Walton's Raider Valley, and Gwinnett County may have the Grayson's and Brookwood's of the world, but if a fan wants to take in competitive, quality and well-executed high school football, look no further than DeKalb County.