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Grayson football ranked No. 2 in preseason poll

The bulls eye on Grayson's football team just got a little bigger.

The defending Class AAAAA state champions were preseason ranked No. 2 in the nation by MaxPreps on Friday.

"Grayson should have the best defense in the country," Max Preps National Football Editor Steve Spiewak said. "It survived a brutal AAAAA bracket this year and the expectation is that the 2012 Rams will be even better."

Grayson went 15-0 to win the state championship last season and finished the year ranked No. 4 in the country by MaxPreps. The Rams return 10 starters on last year's defense, which allowed 8.7 points a game. The group is led by defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, who is rated the No. 1 college prospect in the country. The senior is mulling college scholarship offers from Alabama, LSU, Clemson, Georgia, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

Nkemdiche made 18 sacks and 59 tackles on defense last year. He was also used as a running back and scored 17 touchdowns. Grayson returns only a handful of players on offense and will have to replace quarterback Nick Schuessler, who signed with Mississippi State.

"I expect their offense to be more run-dominated, which is not necessarily a bad thing," Spiewak said. "Having Robert Nkemdiche doesn't hurt either. He's simply dominant on defense but can also be a go-to guy on offense."

Grayson has nearly a dozen college prospects on the team and running back Wayne Gallman has already committed to Clemson.

Grayson opens the season on Aug. 25 when it plays McEachern at the Georgia Dome in the Corky Kell Classic. Grayson will host Miami Central in a game televised on ESPNU on Aug. 31.

"We'll know pretty early on if Grayson is for real when it plays Miami Central," Spiewak said. "Even though Central is unranked to start the season, it is one of the nation's top programs and is teeming with athletes."