published Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

5-at-10: Merry Christmas (and the best high school football players we've ever seen)

Normally, the 5-at-10 is five things we're kicking around at 10 a.m. — 5 at 10. Clever, huh.

Well during the holidays/vacation (and yes, this week is some of both at the 5-at-10 compound) we have a top-5 list and invite comments. So it's more of a list of a 5 at 10.

Top 5 best high school football players we ever seen in person

Our man Stephen Hargis had a great piece in today's TFP about the year that was in high school football around our area. Add that to the Best of Preps football offense that we unloaded, this was the best day to trot out the best high school football players we've ever seen. Feel free to discuss yours (and sorry for being a little tardy — it's Christmas).

1) Daryl Purvine, Campbell High, late 1970s

Say what you want, but Purvine was a wrecking machine. Campbell played a 7-1-3 defense and Purvine was the one. And he was all they needed. As a youngster in Smyrna, we were there when Purvine was credited with a tackle on every play. Yes, you read that correctly. He went to Alabama and injuries and school toppled the high school super linebacker. Purvine was the AJC high school defensive player of the 1970s.

2) D.J. Shockley, North Clayton, late 1990s

Dude was borderline unstoppable.

3) Johnathan Sullivan, Griffin High, mid-to-late 1990s

Wrecking ball that was unblockable.

4) Da'Rick Rogers, Calhoun High, late 2000s

Off-the-field he has had some distractions, but David Ricky was an NFL talent even in high school three years ago.

5) Jeff Francoeur, Parkview High, late 1990s

As a wide receiver and DB, Francoeur was awesome.He led Parkview to back-to-back state titles in football and baseball, and as a junior in football, he had something like 50 touches — 35 catches, five carries and 10 interceptions — and scored 25 TDs.

Of the near misses, we had Vonn Bell and B.J. Coleman and a few others including Demonte Bolden and David Greene and Jasper Sanks.

Who's on your list?

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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jomo11 said...

Reggie Mathis Chatt Notre Dame high school 1974, went on to Oklahoma and the New Orleans Saints. He could do it all and was a man among boys

December 25, 2012 at 11:24 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Jomo —

Merry Christmas.

Thanks. Was Reggie Mathis better than Reggie White or Charles Morgan?

We'd love to hear the old-school debates.

— 5-at-10

December 25, 2012 at 11:54 a.m.
chas9 said...

I saw Mathis play and agree that he was a strong athlete. My brother was the prototypical big, slow, can't jump space-eating center and the highlight of his basketball career at East Ridge was holding Reggie to single digits scoring.

December 25, 2012 at 1:43 p.m.
JohnRoberts719 said...

Merry Christmas! To finish yesterday- Seattle could still be the number 2 seed in the NFC if San Fran and Green Bay lose and the Seahawks win. That may be only one home game in the playoffs....but it would be in the semis. Green Bay is at Minnesota. The real problem is the 49ers at home against Arizona. I was high on Seattle prior to this week. They've also won their last two road games (Chicago and Buffalo). Seattle plays St. Louis. Does anyone really trust Atlanta against Seattle? Not fact, of all the teams in the playoffs, I think I fear the Seahawks the most for the Falcons. Their shutdown corners could really pose problems for the whole team....Combined with Wilson of course.

December 25, 2012 at 2:17 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

The Spy's top 5:

  1. Ronald Johnson. Linebacker at Bradwell in the late 80s. Quarterfinal game against Valdosta, he had 21 tackles, 2 sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. That was about an average game for him in high school. Couldn't run away from him; couldn't run at him.

  2. Champ Bailey. It was only a preseason scrimmage, but I saw him run back two kickoffs and have a 70-yard TD run - in one quarter.

  3. Tony Hollings. Twiggs County. Coulda been a great college RB, before Chan Gailey put him back in in a blowout against BYU and he blew out his knee.

  4. John Stewart, Bradwell. 2,186 yards as a junior and signed with Auburn, where he rusted behind Stacy Danley and James Joseph.

  5. Josh Mallard, Benedictine. Unstinkingblockable. Saw him get five sacks in one game against an offensive line that average 6-3, 270 and had two or three college signees.

Honorable mentions: Derrick Steagall, Newnan. Lee Brooks and Greg Bright, Colquitt County. Barrett Wilkes, Lowndes. Kyle Moore, Houston County.

December 25, 2012 at 7:25 p.m.
riverman said...

Jamal Lewis, MVP in the 97 Ga-Fl All Star game in the Ga Dome.

December 25, 2012 at 7:29 p.m.
dawg747 said...

William Andrews Thomasville, GA Charlie Ward Jr. Thomasville, GA Stan Rome Valdosta, GA Buck Belue Valdosta, GA Mackel Harris Americus, GA

December 25, 2012 at 9:16 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

A late comment - Mathis was better in HS & college than Reggie. Reggie started coming into his own his senior year at UT. #3 was Tommy "Freight Train" Taylor out of City who went on to play LB for UCLA. #4 was Jimmy Braddock who played with MJ at UNC. #5 too many to name

December 25, 2012 at 9:31 p.m.
bigguy said...

Rogers was the best, when he wanted to be, that I have ever seen. I'd rather give a cat a bath than have to tackle him. He'll be around unless he self destructs.

December 25, 2012 at 10:47 p.m.
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