TheRe’s a Lot to Like about North Cobb’s Tyler Queen and Washington County’s A.J. Gray.
Both quarterbacks have led their
teams in deep playoff runs. Both
have had the luxury of having family
members on their respective team’s
Both are honed in for the upcoming season after reaching early
decisions about their future college
football playing days, with Queen
committing to Auburn and Gray
pledging to Georgia Tech.
The two signal callers are focused in with one thought on their
minds: Winning a state title.
“I’ve done everything in the world
you can do in high school but win
state,” Queen said. “I’ve been to
the final four, won a region title. To
me, anything less than a state title
won’t be acceptable.”
Said Gray, whose team reached
the Class AAA title game but fell
to Buford 35-19: “We’re not young
anymore. We’ve matured.”
Queen has played for his father,
head coach Shane Queen, his entire
high school career at North Cobb.
As a junior in 2013, Queen threw
for 2,172 yards and 22 touchdowns,
adding an additional 434 yards and
nine touchdowns on the ground.
“It’s kind of bittersweet because
I’m ready to go to college and do my
own thing, but at the same time I’ve
been playing for my dad for three
years,” Queen said. “It’s going to
be an emotional season. It’s been a
fun ride playing for him and playing
for these coaches.”
Gray, a two-way standout who also
plays safety on defense, is coached by
his brother on that side of the ball, for-
mer Washington County star turned
defensive coordinator Marlo East.
Though he’s been projected to
play safety for the Yellow Jackets,
Gray said the Georgia Tech coaching staff has remained open to the
possibility of him being a quarterback. After all, it’s tough to ignore
the 1,913 passing yards, 1,324
rushing yards and 34 total touchdowns he put up as a junior.
“I’m trying to up the numbers, get
around 2,000 in both,” Gray said.
Still, for both quarterbacks, state
championships are the primary
goal. North Cobb was bounced in
the second round a year ago after
reaching the semifinals of the Class
AAAAAA playoffs in 2012. Prior
to last year’s runner-up showing,
Washington County reached the
quarterfinals of the 2012 Class
Gray believes with the work he’s
put in this offseason that he can lead
his team back to the Georgia Dome.
“I’ve improved a lot,” Gray said.
“I’ve gotten faster, I throw the ball
quicker and can get through my
In April, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tabbed Gray and Queen
as two of the top 10 quarterbacks
in the state. Both will surely add to
their individual accolades this year,
given the high quality of play they’ve
produced in previous seasons. Both
are looking to cap their high school
careers with the one thing missing
from their resume — that elusive
state championship ring.
“You work this hard for this last
ride and hopefully it will go out with
a bang,” Queen said. – Jason Butt