Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

POY Watch: Three multi-purpose players move into top 10

There are three new members of the Player of the Year Watch, each a player who makes a difference on offense, defense and special teams.

One is RB/LB Anthony Grant, Buford's leading rusher, scorer and tackler.

Another is WR/RB Matthew Hill, who has 1,456 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns rushing, receiving and returning for Brookwood.

The third is Ridgeland's Markeith Montgomery, who is on pace for 1,000 yards rushing and 100 tackles.

The top seven in the POY Watch remain the same. No. 1 Trevor Lawrence of Cartersville can tie the state record for TD passes in a game with one this week against Troup.

The POY Watch is designed to be a fun look at some of the best players. Players naturally will drift in and out, and that should not be taken as a critique of their season. It is an honor to appear in the POW Watch even for a single week.

1. QB Trevor Lawrence, Cartersville: Lawrence's team did not play last week. For the season, Lawrence is 134-of-183 passing for 2,648 yards and 34 touchdowns with only one interception. He holds the state record for passing yards in a career (13,260) and needs one TD pass to tie the career record of 155 held by Deshaun Watson. Lawrence, who is committed to Clemson, is the consensus No. 2 overall senior recruit in the country. Cartersville (9-0) is ranked No. 1 in Class AAAA.

2. QB Michael Barrett, Lowndes: Barrett was 11-of-19 passing for 73 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 169 yards on 22 carries in a 51-45 victory over Colquitt County in a game that clinched the Region 1-AAAAAAA title. For the season, Barrett is 90-of-137 for 1,435 yards and 14 touchdowns with one interception. He has rushed for 955 yards and 11 touchdowns on 84 carries (8.9 ypc). Barrett has offers from Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Michigan and Tennessee, among others. Lowndes (10-0) averaged 53.6 points through the regular season, the third-highest regular-season average in state history, and is ranked No. 1 in AAAAAAA.

3. DL Adam Anderson, Rome: Anderson had two sacks and five tackles for losses in a 49-14 victory over East Paulding. For the season, Anderson has 48 tackles, 23 for losses, 11 sacks, two forced fumbles and three pass breakups. The consensus No. 2 OLB prospect nationally, Anderson is committed to Georgia. Rome (9-0) is ranked No. 1 in Class AAAAA.

4. WR Rashod Bateman, Tift County: Bateman's team did not play last week. For the season, Bateman has 55 catches for a state-leading 1,198 yards and 15 touchdowns. He is on pace to set a state record in receiving yard in a season, held by M.L. King's Demarco Robinson (1,655), if Tift plays 13 games. Bateman is committed to Minnesota. Tift is 8-1 and ranked No. 6 in Class AAAAAAA.

5. RB/CB Kyler McMichael, Greater Atlanta Christian: McMichael's team did not play last week. On the season, McMichael has rushed for 858 yards and 18 touchdowns on 73 carries (11.3 ypc). He has scored a touchdown every 4.5 times he has touched the ball. He has 12 tackles as a cornerback. McMichael, an AJC Super 11 pick and a top-125 national recruit, is committed to Clemson. GAC is 8-1 and ranked No. 3 in Class AA.

6. QB Bailey Fisher, Rabun County: Fisher was 12-for-12 passing for 226 yards and five touchdowns in a 56-14 victory over Oglethorpe County. Fisher has thrown at least two touchdowns passes in every game. He went over 8,000 yards passing for his career (8,107) with 94 TD passes. For the season, Fisher is 114-of-165 for 2,065 yards and 24 touchdowns and two interceptions. He has rushed for 560 yards and 17 touchdowns on 96 carries. Undersized at 5-11, 195, Fisher has Division II offers. Rabun County is 9-0 and ranked No. 4 in Class AA.

7. RB Dameon Pierce, Bainbridge: Pierce rushed for 169 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries in a 40-13 victory over Harris County. For the season, Pierce has rushed for 1,709 yards and 26 touchdowns on 166 carries (10.3 ypc). He missed one game with an injury. Pierce has rushed for 6,365 yards and 86 touchdowns in his career. A top-200 national recruit, Pierce is committed to Florida. Bainbridge (7-2) is ranked No. 5 in Class AAAAA and can win a region title with a victory this week against Warner Robins.

8. RB/LB Anthony Grant, Buford: Grant rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries and had five tackles in a 49-0 victory over Loganville. For the season, Grant has rushed for 596 yards and 14 touchdowns on 76 carries. On defense, he has a team-leading 25 solo tackles, six tackles for losses, six QB pressures, one sack and an interception returned for a touchdown. Most of Buford's games have been turned to a running clock in the second half. Grant is rated the No. 21 RB prospect nationally. He is committed to Tennessee. Buford (8-0) is ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAA.

9. RB/DB Markeith Montgomery, Ridgeland: Montgomery rushed for 164 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries in a 55-21 victory over Pickens. On the season, Montgomery has rushed for 918 yards and 14 touchdowns on just 58 carries (15.8 ypc). He has four receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown. On defense, he has 90 tackles, one interception, a forced fumble and four pass breakups. Montgomery is committed to Kennesaw State. Ridgeland (9-0) is ranked No. 4 in Class AAAA.

10. WR/RB/KR Matthew Hill, Brookwood: Hill had 83 yards from scrimmage on four touches in a region-clinching 28-6 victory over Norcross. For the season, Hill has 1,456 all-purpose yards - 458 rushing, 571 receiving and 427 returning - with 11 touchdowns. He averages 14.4 yards per touch. A top-175 recruit nationally and AJC Super 11 pick, Hill is committed to Auburn. Brookwood (7-2) is ranked No. 7 in Class AAAAAAA.

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