Pickens' Brooks 'the most overlooked'
The seven touchdowns were a career high, so maybe that turned heads, but Shannon Brooks has gotten so good that a 300-yard rushing game is no longer surprising.
The Pickens senior running back ran for 301 last week against Southeast Whitfield. He ran for 311 in the opener against White County.
What is surprising is that Brooks - Georgia's leading rusher and a longtime commitment to Minnesota - is not considered one of the top 100 senior prospects in the state. According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, he's No. 140.
"I think he is the most overlooked player around," Pickens coach Chris Parker said. "I guess the reason is that he is in the mountains and not getting as much exposure as a sophomore and junior. We tried to do the best we can about spreading the word about him, but only a few bigger schools were interested. Minnesota was on him from the beginning and that is why he feels so loyal to them."
Pickens plays in Region 7-AAAA. Granted, the Maxwell Ratings rank the region seventh out of eight in Class AAAA. But AAAA is not for little schools. The region is the 22nd-strongest out of 48 regions statewide, according to Maxwell.
Further, it's similar to the region that former Cedartown star Nick Chubb terrorized for three years before signing with Georgia as a five-star recruit.
"We played against Nick Chubb the last two years, and I don't know if Shannon is too far behind him," Parker said. "I think that is a fair comparison. People don't seem to want to give our region much credit, and that may have something to do with it. I am surprised that more people haven't been on him. Maybe Nick and Shannon doing so well will start giving a better reputation to our area in football. He is the best player I have ever coached."
Brooks moves up in GHSF Daily's Player of the Year Watch to No. 2 this week after what might've been his best-ever game. Class A star Lorenzo Smothers of Marion County is new to the list this week.
1. QB/DB A.J. Gray, Washington County: Gray's team did not play last week. For the season, Gray has rushed for 785 yards and 14 touchdowns on 83 carries (9.4 ypc) and is 40-of-67 passing for 893 yards and nine touchdowns. On defense, he has returned two interceptions for touchdowns. Washington County (6-0) is ranked No. 1 in Class AAA. Gray is committed to Georgia Tech.
2. RB Shannon Brooks, Pickens: Brooks rushed for 301 yards on 30 carries and scored seven touchdowns in a 62-40 victory over Southeast Whitfield. Six of the touchdowns were rushing, the other receiving, where he had four catches for 98 yards. For the season, Brooks leads the state with 1,455 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns in Pickens' 5-1 start. Brooks is committed to Minnesota.
3. RB Eric Swinney, Sandy Creek: Swinney rushed for 183 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries in a 30-14 victory over Whitewater in a game between ranked teams. For the season, Swinney has 905 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns on 135 attempts (6.7 ypc). Sandy Creek (6-0) is ranked No. 2 in Class AAAA. Rated the consensus No. 10 running-back prospect in the nation, Swinney is committed to Ole Miss.
4. RB/DB Ruben Garnett, Aquinas: Garnett rushed for 128 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries and returned a punt 45 yards in a 55-27 victory over Georgia Military. For the season, Garnett has rushed for 1,223 yards and 18 touchdowns on 147 carries (8.3 ypc) and has three TD receptions. He has made 25 tackles and intercepted a pass. Garnett has rushed for at least 125 yards and a touchdown in every game. Aquinas (7-0) is ranked No. 1 in Class A. Duke reportedly leads to sign Garnett among 15 Division I offers.
5. Lorenzo Smothers, Marion County: Smothers rushed for 92 yards two touchdowns on eight carries and caught three passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-24 victory over Brookstone. He also intercepted a pass and had five solo tackles. For the season, he has rushed for 581 yards on 46 carries (12.6 ypc) and caught 20 passes for 421 yards, giving him 1,002 yards from scrimmage. He has scored 19 touchdowns - 11 rushing, seven receiving and one returning a punt. He has 28 tackles and two interceptions. Marion County is 6-0 and ranked No. 2 in Class A. Smothers (5-8, 165) is a junior without reported scholarship offers.
6. QB Kylil Carter, South Cobb: Carter was 11-of-17 passing for 194 yards and a touchdowns in a 40-30 loss to Douglas County. Carter also scored two touchdowns, but threw two interceptions and was held to 24 yards rushing on 17 carries. In six games, Carter has rushed for 938 yards and 14 touchdowns on 115 carries (8.2 ypc) and is 100-of-153 passing for 1,673 yards and 15 touchdowns with three interceptions. South Cobb (3-3) is averaging 40 points per game.
7. DE D'Andre Walker, Hughes: Walker had six solo tackles, four assists and 2.5 stops behind the line in a 28-10 victory over East Coweta. For the season, Walker has 14.5 sacks for 81 yards in losses and 14 other tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Walker also has forced three fumbles. Hughes is 5-1 and ranked No. 6 in Class AAAAAA. Walker is the consensus No. 17 prospect in Georgia and No. 11 weakside defensive end nationally, according to 247Sports. Auburn, Tennessee and Georgia reportedly are his leaders.
8. WR Andrew Harris, Cherokee: Harris caught three passes for 46 yards in a 23-0 loss to Milton. For the season, Harris has 56 receptions for a state-leading 964 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has scored on a 47-yard run and 91-yard interception return and thrown a 65-yard TD pass. Cherokee is 5-2. Harris has offers from Chattanooga, Central Arkansas and Jacksonville State.
9. RB/LB Tra Minter, Schley County: Minter rushed for 137 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries in a 34-20 loss to Pacelli. In six games, Minter has rushed for 1,341 yards on 85 carries (8.5 ypc). He has scored 18 touchdowns, two on kickoff returns. On defense, he has 41 solo tackles and 27 assists - five behind the line - and caused two fumbles. Schley County is 3-3 in Class A. Minter (5-9, 190) has offers from Appalachian State and Troy.
10. RB Sihiem King, Colquitt County: King rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries in a 58-14 victory over previously unbeaten Lee County. King has rushed for 722 yards and 13 touchdowns on 108 carries (6.7 ypc) and played his best against Colquitt's toughest opponents - Mill Creek (124 yards), Hoover (172), Enterprise (100) and Lowndes (147). He has scored at least one touchdown in 20 of his last 21 games.
The Rising Seniors Foundation is the presenter of the Georgia Junior Bowl. Its mission is to inspire student-athletes to dominate the fifth quarter. For more on how that's done, see this video tribute from players and coaches who participated in the 2013 game, and visit the Rising Seniors Foundation's Web site at www.risingseniors.com/.