Jefferson, Georgia. isn’t necessarily known across the country as a hotbed for high school football talent. Malaki Starks is an exception.

While he’s committed to play college football at the University of Georgia for Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs, Starks says he is first committed to his Jefferson High School Dragons and leaving a legacy on the program in Northeast Georgia.

 Why It’s Newsworthy: Starks is rated a five-star linebacker according to the recruiting industry-generated 247Sports Composite and ranked the No. 21 player in the country for his Class of 2022. A senior at Jefferson High School, Starks is a leader both on and off the field for the Dragons. 


Malaki Starks (right) outruns an opposing defender on his way to the end zone. Starks led Jefferson High School to a 22-13 win over Rabun County in a high-profile season-opener on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021 at Memorial Stadium in Jefferson, Georgia. (Photo/Palmer Thombs)

Grady Newsource’s Palmer Thombs sat down with Starks and Jefferson head coach Gene Cathcart to discuss what makes Starks so special as he finishes out his senior season.

*** NOTE: This story was produced prior to the end of Jefferson’s season. The Dragons finished the regular season 9-1 before falling in the first round of the Georgia High School Association Class AAAA playoffs to Hapeville Charter.

Palmer Thombs is a senior majoring in journalism in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, minoring in sport management and earning a Sports Media Certificate at the University of Georgia.



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