From time to time Austin Meadows jokes with his friend Robert Nkemdiche about the time “two years back” when Meadows drew the assignment of blocking Nkemdiche in football practice.
Back then, Meadows was playing running back and slot receiver on Grayson’s (Loganville, Ga.) scout team and had to throw a down-block on Nkemdiche so the tailback could come around the right side.
Sound pretty routine?
“Well, uh, Robert’s a pretty good player,” Meadows joked of Nkemdiche, the consensus No. 1 football player in the country. “It wasn’t too bad though. But, after playing with him, I definitely know that football is his sport. I gave it up this year to concentrate on baseball.”
That paid off.
Like Nkemdiche, Meadows, an outfielder, is widely regarded as the country’s top prospect, making the Rams one of, if not the most elite athletic program in the country.
“It’s kinda crazy to have both of those guys walking the halls at the same school,” Grayson baseball coach Jed Hixson said. “Then we’ve got so many other athletes here at the school signing to D-I programs, so we’re very privileged to be able to coach these guys. But, yeah, having the top baseball and football player in the same class in the same school, that’s pretty wild. They’re both so talented.”
Nkemdiche, an American Family Insurance ALL-USA defensive end, recently signed with Ole Miss.
He racked up 18 sacks as a junior to lead Grayson to the state title in 2011. This past season, as the focal point of the opposition’s blocking schemes, Nkemdiche still managed five sacks as a senior.
Meadows, a senior, is signed to Clemson.
Last season he posted a .390 batting average with four home runs, 28 RBI and nine stolen bases. Last summer, as a member of the USA 16U team, he posted a .537 average over eight games.
“It’s pretty cool because we both went through a lot of the same things with recruiting and things like that,” Meadows said of his relationship with Nkemdiche. “We can relate to a lot of the same things. It just says a lot about the talent in our school and in our area period.”
“We talk about it a lot, among the coaches,” Hixson said. “This area is just filled with great players, but to have those two guys is one of the most improbable things that could happen at one school I think. But it’s great for us. We’re not complaining, that’s for sure.”
Here’s a look at a handful of other schools around the country that post multiple elite athletes in different sports.
Whitney Young (Chicago)
The Dolphins have two of the top boys and girls basketball players in the country. Senior forward Linnae Harper, a Kentucky signee who is ranked No. 5 in the ESPN Hoopgurlz 100, was an American Family Insurance ALL-USA preseason selection and was recently named to the McDonald’s All-American Game. Junior center Jahlil Okafor is the top-ranked player in the ESPN 60 and was also an American Family Insurance ALL-USA preseason selection.
Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.)
The Dragons have the No. 1 ranked sophomore boys basketball player in the ESPN 25 in forward Ivan Rabb. Plus, they’ve got Oderah Chidom, a forward who is ranked No. 10 in the ESPN Hoopgurlz 100 and is signed to Duke. She was an American Family Insurance ALL-USA preseason selection and was recently picked for the McDonald’s All-American Game.
Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas)
The Lions most accomplished player is on the hardwood; senior forward Julius Randle, an American Family Insurance ALL-USA preseason selection who is ranked No. 2 in the Rivals150, has recently returned to the hardwood after sitting for nearly three months with a fractured foot. He’s been named to the Jordan Brand Classic All-American Game. The Lions also have sophomore forward Mickey Mitchell, who is ranked No. 7 in the ESPN 25. Mitchell doubles as an elite quarterback prospect as well. Senior Mike Mitchell is another star at Prestonwood. The Army All-American linebacker is signed to Ohio State and is ranked as the top prospect in Texas by Rivals.com.
Milton (Milton, Ga.)
The Eagles’ biggest star is Carl Lawson, a senior defensive end who is ranked No. 2 in the ESPN 150. Lawson, an Under Armour All-American, recently signed with Auburn. Also, Micco Brisker, is a sophomore weightlifter among the most elite for his weight class.
Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.)
The Monarchs have Kelsey Crawford, a setter who is widely regarded as one of the country’s most elite volleyball players. Crawford, a junior, led the Monarchs to a perfect 38-0 record this season and a state title. Also, basketball forward Aaron Gordon, an American Family Insurance ALL-USA preseason selection, is ranked No. 4 in the ESPN 100. Gordon, a senior, was recently named to the McDonald’s All-American Game.
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