Cobb County football players have been known for their talent at the collegiate level on defense, but now there is one position on the other side of the ball that is continuing to gain national attention.
There are set to be 26 wide receivers from Cobb County playing Division I football this fall, which is nine more than any other position on offense.
This might only be the beginning of a talented pool of receivers coming from this area.
“To be quite honest with you, I don’t always feel like Cobb County gets the credit (it deserves),” Walton coach Daniel Brunner said. “I really think that Cobb County is putting out some of the best players all around and the byproduct is that is the one of the positions, that receiver group, with the skill guys that we have coming out of Cobb County, is just phenomenal.”
With the college and NFL levels starting to favor the pass over a solid rushing attack, Cobb County coaches said that they believe it has translated to the high school level, too.
“I would look at the fact that, if you’ve got some really talented athletes that are now running spread concepts for passing concepts, I think what has happened is, those athletes’ talents have been exposed, more so than maybe it was 15-20 years ago,” Marietta coach Richard Morgan said. “I think now kids are having an ability to showcase what they can do with the football when they’re playing in systems that feature the pass.”
Wide receivers also get to show off their skill sets in year-round practices and 7-on-7 tournaments.
There is one trend that coaches have noticed that may also help out wide receivers. A lot of them also play basketball, which they said helps these receivers during football season.
“Cobb has a really good mixture of basketball and football, and guys who are typically good basketball players are also good wide receivers because they have the skill set needed,” Kell football coach Brett Sloan said.
Along with them being multi-sport athletes, Cobb County coaches also hold their receivers to high standards. They said that a receiver has to catch any ball thrown in his direction, but they also expect the receivers to be more than just pass-catchers.
Coaches also expect their receivers to be great route-runners, excellent blockers and possess a high football IQ. McEachern coach Franklin Stephens said he wants his receivers to be good leaders and have an unselfish attitude, too.
Of the 26 wide receivers in Division I, there are a few local coaches believe can play at the professional level. Marietta alum Arik Gilbert and Walton alum Dominick Blaylock from Walton were the two popular choices.
Coaches believe that the increased number of Cobb County receivers will likely continue into the future, as the offensive systems continue to favor them.
“I do think football is cyclical, and you see things that are considered new fads, but they’re really just a replication of something that was done in the past, and with a little wrinkle to it,” Sloan said. “There’s a lot of Wing-T concepts involved and things like that, it’s just rehashing of the past.”