It's a debate that rages every high school football season in the power states of Florida, Texas and California: Which state produces the best players?
This season, the answer is indisputable.
It's South Carolina … Rock Hill, South Carolina, to be precise.
The first RivalsHigh High School All-American teams made it clear as both the offensive and defensive Players of the Year came from neighboring schools in a city which serves as suburb for Charlotte, N.C.
Quarterback Justin Worley of Northwestern High was the obvious pick for Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for 5,315 yards and a state-record 64 touchdowns while leading his team to a 15-0 record and a state title.
Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney of South Pointe High was just as easy a selection for Defensive Player of the Year. Ranked as the No. 1 recruit all season by Rivals.com, Clowney dominated by recording 29.5 sacks despite going against two or three lineman on every play. South Pointe went 13-2, losing in its state title game despite the final three sacks of Clowney's career.
The honors cap a banner year for South Carolina, a state usually known more for its Southern hospitality rather than ferocious football. The state had an amazing eight schools in the final RivalsHigh Top 100 team rankings, led by Worley's Northwestern squad at No. 5 (see complete list here).
In case you're wondering, Worley and Northwestern defeated Clowney and South Pointe, 42-20, in a regular-season game in which Worley threw five TD passes in just over five minutes.
Oh - and as for the great state debate - the overall All-American team award goes to Texas, which placed five players on our 26-member team.
Worley put up staggering numbers this season, helping his team win a South Carolina state title and earn the No. 5 spot in the RivalsHigh 100 team rankings. He threw for over 5,000 yards and 64 touchdowns while completing 73 percent of his passes on the year.
Clowney has proven to be one of the best players in the nation as a senior at South Pointe. He helped lead the Stallions to a state final appearance. He had 29 sacks on the season despite facing consistent double- and triple-teams.
Griffin went from a defensive secondary player as a junior to a Mr. Football candidate for Mississippi as a senior. He ran for 2,670 yards and 39 touchdowns despite playing mostly in just the first half.
Brown eclipsed the 2,500-yard mark and scored 28 touchdowns on the year. Brown helped the Knights rebound from a 1-2 start to win the Texas Class 5A Division II state title - cementing his status as a premier back nationally.
Williams is the premier football player from New York state this season. He was a dominant force on the line causing 30 quarterback hurries and forcing five fumbles. He also recorded 39 solo tackles despite teams running away from him all season.
One of the most talented and productive wide receivers in the nation, Metoyer hauled in 105 catches for 1,540 yards and 23 scores on the season. He has the ball skills to go over corners as well as the route-running skills to get separation.
Anthony was a NCPreps.com Player of the Year candidate and won the Gatorade Player of the Year award in North Carolina. He recorded 123 tackles, four sacks, and two interceptions playing all over the field.
Williams is a more physical receiver than his measurements would indicate, but at 6-2, 197 pounds, he can play very big. This year, he put the Spartans on his shoulders and carried the team to a state final game while pulling in 83 catches for 1,538 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Daniels was the heart-and-soul leader of a very good Bombers defense. He has a nose for the ball and the ability to make plays at the point of attack. Daniels accounted for over 80 tackles and 18 sacks on the season. Despite a disappointing 7-5 season at St. X, Daniels shined.
O'Leary is another heart-and-soul player whose energy can fill the team. His physical play from the tight end position sets the tone for the rest of the offense. He caught 51 passes for 875 yards and 12 touchdowns this year as part of the big three at Dwyer.
The Central Region two-time defensive player of the year in Virginia is one of the best in the country at the linebacker position. He had 126 tackles and six sacks on the season and helped guide his team deep into the playoffs.
Kouandjio is a massive lineman who has the rare combination of size and agility. He could just as easily slim down and be a freak tight end as he could redshirt in college and be a dominant offensive lineman. He reminds us of NFL lineman Bruce Campbell.
Steward's team was not as successful as many other players on this list and that may limit his totals as he did not get to add playoff stats. His 82 tackles, five sacks, four forced fumbles all came in just eight games. He is a very physically gifted player and it showed on every play.
Teams in the Tidewater area did not throw much at Nicholson, but when he was tested, the corner was up to the task. The Virginia commit had 19 pass breakups and two interceptions while supporting the run with 35 solo tackles.
Bobek is a natural center who can read and interpret defensive fronts. He is a very heady player who also has the physical tools to make an impact at the next level. Illinois is long known for producing offensive lineman; he is another in a series.
Randolph was a do-everything player for Kell on its defense. He was active in run support tallying 162 tackles on the year. He was also heavy in the pass game with nine pass breakups and four interceptions. He has had over 100 tackles all three years on varsity.
Flowers will stay home and play at Texas. His coach called him the best football player he has ever had on his team - a very high compliment considering some of the players that have come through North Shore.
Collins has been called the best offensive lineman to ever come out of the state of Louisiana. That's high praise for a young adult who already has started drawing comparisons to NFL Hall of Famer Jackie Slater.
Carter was a do-everything player for the Trojans this season. He ran the ball for over 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns, caught 24 passes for 385 yards, and threw for six more scores. He also played cornerback and returned kicks and punts.
HaHa did a little of everything for Dr. Phillips. He was the primary safety for the team but also played wide receiver and was a return man. One of the more physical players in the secondary, his play was hard to match from anyone nationally.
Brassell was one of the best players in the state of Mississippi and in the nation this year. He was the leading reciever on the national champion, South Panola Tigers. He also played corner and safety when needed and was the primary return man.
Of his 72 kickoffs, 64 of them went for touchbacks. Brindza also booted 19 field goals to be one of the most accurate kickers in the country. His ability to kick both long range kicks as well as convert all of his extra points should translate well into the college game.