The Touchdown Club of Atlanta released its Bobby Dodd National Linemen of the Year Award preseason watch list, and two Cobb County players are on it.
Hillgrove defensive end Myles Murphy, who is Rivals’ 10th-ranked senior in the nation, made the cut as one of five defensive linemen.
The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Clemson commit had 55 tackles and five sacks last season, while often getting double- and triple-teamed.
Marietta’s Arik Gilbert made the list as the only tight end, which is fitting given that Gilbert is Rivals’ top-ranked tight end in the class of 2020.
“He just has the size and the speed and the strength that very few people have playing that position,” Marietta coach Richard Morgan said about Gilbert.
Gilbert may end up being named the top lineman in the nation, but blocking is secondary to his game. What sets him apart is the mismatches that his elite athleticism and 6-foot-5, 248-pound frame creates, which was reflected in the fact that he led Cobb County last year in receiving yards with 1,210 and touchdowns with 14.
“His skill set is so much beyond that that he doesn’t fit into the traditional tight end role,” Morgan said of Gilbert. “He’s a guy that you can use at that position you know, 20 plays a game, but the rest of the game he’s going to be up outside matched up 1-on-1with people. There’s plenty of tight ends his size, but there’s very few tight ends his size that can do what he can do with the football.”
The Touchdown Club of Atlanta also released its preseason watch list for the Mr. Georgia Award as the top senior in the state.
Marietta quarterback Harrison Bailey, who is committed to Tennessee, and Blue Devils linebacker B.J. Ojulari join Gilbert and Murphy on the list.
Bailey threw for a Cobb-leading 2,809 yards and 29 touchdowns last season, while Ojulari made 104 tackles and five sacks.
The watch list for the Little Peach Award, presented to the top underclassman, featured McEachern quarterback Carlos Del Rio-Wilson, who threw for 2,150 yards and 20 touchdowns last season.
Also released its was the touchdown club's preseason all-star team.
Bailey and Gilbert made the roster on offense, while Murphy, Ojulari and Jamil Burroughs -- a McEachern defensive lineman who had five sacks and 58 tackles last season -- represent Cobb on the defense. Walton's punter Charlie Pollack was also named an all-star.
Marietta had the most players on the all-star team of any school in the state, and the most Mr. Georgia candidates.
Though he said his players have earned their accolades, Morgan said the Blue Devils are not focused on watch lists and all-star teams.
“They’ve been with us so long that we don't think of it as a stacked team type deal. We still think of it as just trying to improve day to day to achieve our ultimate goal,” Morgan said. “Watch lists or rankings, we don’t really get caught up in that stuff, we’re just trying to be the best football team we can.”