Georgia has been home to some of the most accomplished ninth-grade signal callers in recent years. From DeShaun Watson
to Jake Fromm
and Trevor Lawrence
, the Peach State has led the way with quarterbacks making an instant impact as freshmen.
In 2018, Gunner Stockton showed that he was next in line.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound quarterback emerged at Rabun County (Tiger, Ga.) in a major way this year.
Stockton, a top-ranked quarterback in the Class of 2022 according to scouting service Recruiting Brain, showed that, for as much promise his future holds, he was ready to make an instant impact. He completed 190-of-291 passes for 2,917 yards and 34 touchdowns.
His touchdown total (34) eclipsed the ninth grade production of Watson (17), Lawrence (26) and Fromm (8).
"He is a very special/rare player," said Rabun County quarterbacks coach Jaybo Shaw. There are not many Gunner Stockton's walking around."
Stockton highlights a talented and geographically diverse group of freshmen All-Americans that features players from all pockets of the country as well as a selection from American Somoa.
MaxPreps 2018 Freshmen All-American Team
First Team Offense
The Peach State's next great signal caller, Stockton threw for 2,917 yards and 34 touchdowns. He also rushed for 709 yards and 17 more scores.
Threw for 1,937 yards and 21 touchdowns while rushing 60 times for 312 yards and six scores, drawing comparisons to a young Cam Newton.
A physical specimen at 6-1, 185, Gibbs topped the 1,500-yard mark and scored 22 touchdowns.
One of the more exciting players in the Stockton-Modesto area, Brown reeled off 1,688 yards and scored 28 times. He added 31 catches for 741 yards.
"Bam Bam" battered opposing defenses, en route to district Newcomer of the Year honors.
With 48 catches for 1,191 yards and 13 touchdowns, Burden is the definition of a home-run threat. With the gridiron season finished, Burden heads to the hardwood, where he might be even more talented.
Notched 77 catches for 854 yard and six scores for Alemany. According 247Sports, he already has an offer from Oregon.
For one of Massachusetts' top programs, Zamor emerged as one of the top young talents in New England, lining up at numerous positions and earning a Michigan offer in the process.
Also an impressive basketball and baseball player, Oatis saw varsity action in the trenches as an eighth-grader, a testament to his incredible physical prowess. He has already landed offers from Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Mississippi State.
The ballyhooed middle-school phenom shed 80 pounds heading into ninth grade, making him a factor immediately on the Holy Cross varsity line.
Iuli was an absolute monster for state semifinalists Puyallup. Washington has produced numerous blue-chip lineman through the years, and Iuli has the chance to be every bit as good as any of them.
An all-district selection, Meadows helped Graham capture a Class 2 state title, the program's first since 1995.
Though his future is likely on the defensive side of the ball, Miles, who already holds offers from Michigan and North Carolina, was a key figure on the St. Peter's Prep offensive line.
Nickel was a key contributor to state champion Milton, where he also lined up at fullback.
For the storied Ohio program, Harrison stepped into the starting quarterback role and tossed for 1,649 yards and 12 touchdowns.
First Team Defense
At 6-3, 305 pounds, Neal is a mountain of a young man, and will be drawing double teams for years to come.
Accounted for 76 tackles and 15 sacks for a 14-1 Northeastern team.
Thomas knifed his way through opposing offensive lines to the tune of 13 sacks.
A massive presence up front for one of New Jersey's top teams, Booker had three tackles in Bergen Catholic's early season upset over Grayson (Loganville, Ga.).
For state champ Crusaders, Misa tallied 39 tackles and added a blocked punt.
The son of former NFL player (and current Kansas City Chiefs assistant) Deland McCullough, Dasan already towers over his dad and could be an FBS recruit at multiple positions.
The Black Knights have produced some blue-chip recruits and Smith, a 6-3, 221-pound specimen, seems to fit the mold.
In Alabama's ultra-competitive Class 7A, Alexander earned All-State honors, finishing with 74 tackles.
After leading the team in tackles as an eighth-grader, Martin delivered once more as a freshman.
A playmaker for Palmetto, he made big plays on both defense and special teams.
A breakthrough player in the secondary for the CIF Open Division state champs Mater Dei, he recorded two interceptions and three pass breakups.
A starter for one of the state's top programs, he also saw action at wide receiver and has now transitioned to the hardwood.
An all-region pick, he was responsible for 26 tackles, five interceptions and 12 pass breakups.
He's drawn comparisons to Chiefs' defensive tackle, and fellow "757" native Derrick Nnadi. The 6-4 300 pounder made 71 tackles and earned Second Team All-State.
Second Team Offense
It was a dominant season for the coach's son who carved up opposing defenses to the tune of 2,984 yards and 40 touchdowns.
The 6-5 gunslinger threw for 2,438 yards and 29 touchdowns against four interceptions, helping the Titans to a 9-3 finish.
Topped the 1,000-yard mark for the 9-3 Cougars, while adding six catches for 74 yards and another score.
Made a name for himself with 329 yards and four touchdowns against state power Lake Taylor (Norfolk). On the season, he accumulated 1,421 yards and 16 scores.
Coach's son found the end zone 22 times on 1,280 yards, while adding a pick-six on defense.
Taylor, simply put, is one of the fastest players in America. As Washington continues to become a recruiting hotspot, Taylor will carry the torch.
Turner-Gooden showed glimpses all over the field, lining up at wide receiver, defensive back, punt returner and kick returner.
The sky is the limit for the 6-3 Groves, who caught eight touchdowns and also spent time at running back.
After missing most of the season with a broken foot, Johnson, whose father Brad played quarterback and won a Super Bowl in the NFL, closed the season by catching a touchdown pass from brother Max, an LSU commit.
A starter out of the gate, Harris showed the promise that led to an early offer from Alabama.
Not only started for mighty Centennial, a high school power, he played the key position of left tackle for one of the country's best programs.
Worked his weigh into the starting lineup and more than held his own for Broward County power St. Thomas Aquinas.
Taylor was tasked with protecting the quarterback's blindside, using his 6-5 frame to line up at left tackle.
For Class 6A Atascocita, which finished 11-2, Dewberry saw significant time at tackle. He'll be one of the biggest recruits in the Lone Star State in coming years.
The 6-2 WR/FS saw action on special teams. As a receiver, he caught 10 touchdowns.
Second Team Defense
Record 19 tackles and swatted down three passes. He projects to be one of the more coveted recruits from the Hoosier State.
While he saw regular work at defensive end and played special teams, the best is yet to come for Finkley, who's already 6-2, 225.
A gifted edge-rushed and totaled six sacks and five tackles for loss.
In the season opener, Perry immediately established his presence, recording six tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery.
It's rare for any freshmen to contribute for Texas Class 6A powers like Coppell, especially at physically demanding positions like linebacker. Polk thrived, with a team high 116 tackles.
The team's leading tackler this fall, Murphy will be a sought-after recruit before his time is up.
Playing in the nation's premier league, Te'o more than held his own. He was responsible for 66 tackles and four quarterback hurries.
The 6-2, 210 pounder looks like a linebacker at the next level, but also saw action behind center for Simmons.
The rangy Barham took advantage of a growth spurt entering high school and saw varsity action for national power DeMatha.
With his size (6-1, 195), Clark thrived at safety before moving up to play linebacker. He hails from the same school as former blue-chip defensive back Antwine Perez.
The son of former NFL receiver Donald Driver, Cristian helped Liberty Christian to an 8-5 season and a berth in the state state semifinals.
DB – Oakie Salave'a, Leone (Pago Pago, American Samoa)
Salave'a, whose uncle Joseph spent more than a decade in the NFL as a defensive tackle, has the size (6-3, 180) and pedigree to be a big-time player from American Samoa. He already has an offer from Hawaii.
A member of the Crusaders' impressive young nucleus, Gould made 24 tackles and an interception.
An all-area honorable mention selection, Singletary had seven picks and six pass breakups for Class 7A Lee.