The Daily Times, Jonathan Chick, Associated Press
VALDOSTA, Ga. — Lowndes' Josh Clemons received one of the state's highest honors recently when he was named to the AJC Super 11 team.
The AJC Super 11 is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's annual selection of the top 11 high school football players in the state.
Clemons didn't realize the prestige of the AJC Super 11 when he first heard of the team, but after learning what it was he was excited.
"My granddaddy came home and told me and he was all excited about it," Clemons said. "I still didn't really know what it was, but I was honored to be a part of it."
Clemons is the third Viking in four years to be named to the AJC Super 11 team. In 2008 Greg Reid earned the honor and Ed Christian was named to the team in 2009.
This is the fourth straight year a player from Lowndes County is on the AJC Super 11 team. Valdosta's Jay Rome made it last year.
Joining Clemons on the AJC Super 11 list are Dillon Lee (Buford, LB), Jonathan Taylor (Jenkins County, T/DT), Jonathan Jones (Carrollton, CB), Jarontay Jones (Stephenson, DL), Jordan Jenkins (Harris County, DL), Geno Smith (St. Pius, CB), Markuss Eligwe (Stone Mountain, LB) Josh Holsey (Creekside, DB/WR), Kenyan Drake (Hillgrove, RB) and Dalvin Tomlinson (Henry County, DE).
This season is shaping up to be a big one for the Vikings' Mr. Do-it-all senior. Clemons has played almost every position for Lowndes since cracking the starting lineup as a sophomore. In 2011 he'll play quarterback and receiver on offense, then play safety on defense.
The irony is Clemons is projected to be an outside linebacker in college. He's ranked as the second best linebacker in the country by Rivals.com.
Clemons said he prefers linebacker, but he'll play wherever the team needs him. Right now it's in the secondary where the Vikings are replacing safeties Tyler Hunter and Geraldo Orta, who are at Florida State and Tennessee, respectively.
Clemons has experience at safety. As a 10th grader he filled in when Hunter suffered a scary spinal injury at the end of the season. There wasn't a dropoff at the position.
"I have to play where the team needs me," Clemons said. "I'd love to be back at linebacker, but whatever it takes."
On offense Clemons has mainly been used at receiver, and why not since he's 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds. Last year he led the team in receptions and touchdowns.
He'll play receiver this season too, but his favorite position is his new position: quarterback. He took reps out of the shotgun with the first team in the spring and against Thomas County Central in a recent scrimmage.
However, Lance Jarriel looked good as the starting quarterback and the Vikings sure could use Clemons' big body as a target out wide.
"Lance is really good," Clemons said. "He throws way better than I do. It's working good. I've been playing different receiver (positions), learning the rules, getting better."
Because of his versatility, Clemons is a wanted man. He said some schools would like him as a receiver. Not only is he's Rivals No. 2 outside linebacker, he's its No. 2 player in the state behind fellow AJC Super 11 member Jonathan Taylor of Jenkins County.
A laundry list of major Division I teams, including Florida State, Florida, Georgia and Alabama, want his services. But Clemons said he won't make a decision soon, and he declined to say what school, if any, was leading the way right now. He's eyeing the U.S. Army All-American Bowl as the place to make his decision. The game isn't until January of 2012.
He said he tries not to pay attention to any of that or the rankings. He just wants to focus his senior season and his important goal.
"It's time to be a leader," Clemons said. "I gotta get a ring. We're the only (senior) class coming up that hasn't gotten a ring (since 2003). That's my main goal this year. We have to stay focused and take it a game at a time."
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