Anchored by one of the strongest senior classes in its history, expectations are high at Grayson as the beginning of preseason high school football practice approaches.
The expectations certainly didn't shrink any Wednesday when defensive tackle Shawn Green gave a verbal commitment to play at Georgia Tech.
The 6-foot, 286-pounder selected the Yellow Jackets over offers from several other major programs.
"It's close to home, and to have a degree from Tech is big," said Green on his decision to choose Tech over the remainder of his final five - Ole Miss, Florida State, Duke and South Carolina. "I went to talk to (Tech recruiting coordinator and defensive line) Coach (Giff) Smith. He showed me a tape of the drills they were doing, and it was about the same things we do (at Grayson). So, it should be a pretty easy transition."
Green's commitment should be a key one for Tech.
The Jackets have lost three starting defensive linemen from last year - Michael Johnson, Vance Walker and Darryl Richard - to NFL training camps this summer, and have another who could join them soon in rising junior Derrick Morgan.
And Green, who ranked fourth among Grayson defenders in tackles (61) and sacks (5) last season, should help shore up Tech's depth along the line, along with fellow commitment Denzel McCoy of Northview.
"That was another thing that got me," Green said. "I know they're looking for defensive linemen. If I can step up, I can show them what I can do (early on)."
Green became Tech's ninth early commitment for the Class of 2010 and the second from Gwinnett County, joining Collins Hill running back Charles Perkins.
He also becomes the first of what figures to be several members of the Rams' rising senior class to get a chance to play major Division I-A college ball.
Defensive back Kori Gaines recently received a scholarship offer from Brigham Young, while offensive/defensive lineman Joseph Champaign (Alabama-Birmingham, Marshall, South Alabama) and linebacker Terry Williams (Eastern Michigan, Kent State, South Alabama) have multiple offers.
Running back Ean Pemberton does not have any offers as yet, possibly because of his small 5-3, 160-pound frame, but is Gwinnett's leading returning rusher (1,949 yards, 14 TDs last season).
"We have several guys with Division I-A offers," Grayson coach Mickey Conn said. "And once the season gets started, I think there are a few who could get Division I-AA, II and III offers.
"Shawn is the first player we've sent to either of the state's major programs, and we're thrilled to death to have him 30 minutes away, where we can easily see him practice and see him play. We really appreciate the way (Tech) Coach (Paul) Johnson and his staff handled (Green's) recruitment. They're honest and class guys."