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Georgia: Top 30 Student-Athletes to Watch in 2015-16

Herschel Walker. Rodney Hampton. Todd Gurley. Garrison Hearst. Anyone who’s a Dawgs fan knows these names and knows them well. After all, the land “Between the Hedges” is seemingly home to a never-ending stockpile of running back talent. This season should be no different, as Nick Chubb (pictured) looks to cement his name in UGA lore.

We ran the Value Add Sports calculations on all returning athletes in the state and emailed sports writers and other experts in the state to help rank the 25 state players to watch on a list we will update here.

Chubb, pressed into extensive action thanks to the midseason suspension and eventual season-ending injury to ex-Georgia stud Todd Gurley, leads our list for the top returning athletes in the state, which includes faces from Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern, and area high schools. After a scintillating freshman campaign where he rushed for 1,547 yards and 14 scores on his way to first-team All-SEC honors and the conference’s Freshman of the Year award, the Cedartown native looks primed to avoid a sophomore slump now that he’s the unquestioned lead Dawg in the UGA backfield.

However, UGA arch-rival Georgia Tech has some gems to watch as well, as Justin Thomas and Jamal Golden return as potential offensive and defensive leaders for the Yellow Jackets. Thomas amassed more than 2,800 total yards of offense and 26 scores in leading the Ramblin’ Wreck’s triple-option attack. Golden should anchor the Yellow Jackets’ secondary as perhaps the team’s top defensive back.

The high school talent in Georgia is well-represented, too, with names like Georgia commit Ben Cleveland making the list. Cleveland, a two-way dominator for Stephens County High in Toccoa, has been named All-Region his sophomore and junior seasons and was the area’s offensive lineman of the year as a sophomore and the area’s defensive player of the year as a junior.

  1. Nick Chubb, Georgia, Football, RB
  2. J.J. Frazier, Georgia, Basketball, PG
  3. Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech, Football, QB
  4. Demetris Robertson, Savannah Christian School (Savannah, Ga.), football, ATH
  5. Jamal Golden, Georgia Tech, Football, DB
  6. Kobi Simmons, St. Francis School (Alpharetta, Ga.), Basketball, G
  7. Bryan Chamberlain, Georgia Tech, Football, OL
  8. Derrick Brown, Lanier High (Sugar Hill, Ga.), Football, DT
  9. Marcus Georges-Hunt, Georgia Tech, Basket, SG
  10. Alysiah Whittaker, Georgia State, Track/Field, Discus Throw
  11. Mike Hughes, Georgia Southern, Basketball, PF
  12. Myles Mcdavid, Georgia Tech, Track/Field, Long Jump
  13. Mecole Hardman, Elbert County High (Bowman, Ga.), football, ATH
  14. Alterique Gilbert, Miller Grove High (Lithonia, Ga.), Basketball, G
  15. Nigel Warrior, Peachtree Ridge High (Suwanee, Ga.), football, DB
  16. Kelsey Killean, Georgia, Soccer, Forward
  17. Joshua Mulder, Kennesaw State, Track/Field, 400m Intermediate Hu
  18. Markus Crider, Georgia St., Basketball, PF
  19. Kolton Houston, Georgia, Football, OL
  20. Antonneous Clayton, Dooly County (Vienna, Ga.), football, DE
  21. Ben Cleveland, Stephens County (Toccoa, Ga.), football, OL/DL
  22. Julian Rochester, McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.), football, DT
  23. Antwuan Jackson,Cedar Grove (Ellenwood, Ga.), football, DT
  24. Chauncey Manac, Clinch County (Homerville, Ga.), football, DE
  25. Rebecca Rasmussen, Georgia, Soccer, Midfielder
  26. Kenny Gaines, Georgia, Basketball, SG
  27. Keegan McGovern, Georgia, Baseball, OF
  28. Brandon Gold, Georgia Tech, Baseball, SP
  29. Tyree Crump, Bainbridge High (Bainbridge, Ga.), Basketball, G
  30. James Banks, Mt. Vernon Christian School (Stockbridge, Ga.), Basketball, C

Also receiving votes:

Adam Smith, Georgia Tech, Basketball, SG

Kel Johnson, Georgia Tech, Baseball, OF

Brandon Robinson, Douglas County High (Douglasville, Ga.), Basketball, G

Jordan Harris, Seminole County High (Donalsonville, Ga.), Basketball, G

Stephon Jelks, Mercer, Basketball, SF

Chris Lewis, Milton High (Alpharetta, Ga.), Basketball, F

Romello White, Peachtree Ridge High (Suwanee, Ga.), Basketball, F

Robert Baker, The Walker School (Marietta, Ga.), Basketball, F

Nick Arbuckle, Georgia State, Football, QB

Matt Breida, Georgia Southern, Football, RB

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