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Highly touted players transfer to Gwinnett teams

Austin Smith (24) was Collins Hill’s second leading tackler last season and transferred to Class AAA defending state champion Buford during the offseason. (File photo)

Austin Smith (24) was Collins Hill’s second leading tackler last season and transferred to Class AAA defending state champion Buford during the offseason. (File photo)

Gwinnett County, thanks to its feeder program the Gwinnett Football League, routinely produces some of the state’s best football players.

But every year a few players come from outside of Gwinnett and make an impact. Brookwood’s Ky Priester, who signed with Clemson, was one of the county’s top receivers last season after moving in from Orlando. Central Gwinnett’s Francis Kallon was a playmaker at defensive end two years ago after moving from London. He’s now at Georgia Tech.

This season is no different with some big-name transfers coming to Gwinnett. A pair of the state’s top recruits moved to the county during the offseason. Running back C.J. Leggett, the No. 20 rated overall prospect in the state by ESPN, transferred from Chattahoochee to North Gwinnett.

“He’s very versatile, a combination of a lot of things,” North Gwinnett head coach Bob Sphire said. “He’s a physical, zone runner, but he can catch the ball well, too.”

Leggett is rated the No. 225 player in the nation by ESPN and has scholarship offers from Pittsburgh, UCLA, Vanderbilt and Yale.

Nick Glass, who played at St. Pius last season and was once committed to Georgia, transferred to Peachtree Ridge during the winter. Glass is rated No. 30 in the state by ESPN.

Quarterback A.J. Bush led Milton to the state playoffs last season, but transferred to defending state champion Norcross in the offseason. Bush, who has Division I offers, threw for more than 1,000 yards and rushed for 900 yards.

Central Gwinnett also added a new quarterback in Eric Forrest from Union Grove, as well as linebacker Adonis Thomas, a highly recruited junior with several top offers, from Lakeside. Shiloh got linebacker Keishan Heath, who had 88 tackles, three fumble recoveries and one sack last year, from Redan.

Several players moved from one Gwinnett school to another. South Gwinnett running back Josh Boyd transferred to Norcross after rushing for 760 yards and nine TDs last year.

Johnathan Hawkins, a highly recruited junior running back, went from Central Gwinnett to Mill Creek. Hawkins, who has offers from Auburn and Florida State, rushed for 266 yards and two TDs and had 13 catches for 99 yards and two scores last season.

Austin Smith was Collins Hill’s second leading tackler last year with 77 stops and transferred to defending Class AAA state champion Buford. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Smith has a scholarship offer from Vanderbilt.

Wesleyan’s Jones won’t play this year

Wesleyan will be without its top receiver this season, Jahmai Jones, who decided not to play to focus on baseball.

Jones was the county’s second-leading receiver last year with 70 catches for 1,071 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s the younger brother of Central Gwinnett grad Malachi Jones, who set the single season receptions record in 2010.

Jones’ departure is the second major offensive loss for the Wolves this offseason. Will Anderson, who threw for 2,264 yards and 21 TDs last year, transferred to Lassiter.

Fenteng commits to UGA

Shattle Fenteng, a 2012 Grayson grad, committed to the University of Georgia on Aug. 9. Fenteng was a member of the Rams’ 2011 state championship team and signed with Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound cornerback blossomed to be the nation’s No. 1 junior college defensive back. He made 57 tackles, 16 pass break ups and four interceptions last season.

Fenteng chose Georgia over an offer from Ole Miss, where his former teammates Robert Nkemdiche and David Kamara are freshmen.