The Standard 10 is a group of area high school football players who are anything but standard issue.


Starting in Monday’s edition of the Aiken Standard, readers will be introduced to The Standard 10. It’s a series that will highlight the 10 players in the Aiken area we’re most interested to see take the field for the rapidly approaching high school football season.


The list will be revealed in descending order, with No. 10 to run in Monday’s edition and another player the following day. The Standard 10 will continue until the No. 1 player to watch will be disclosed on July 30.


This isn’t a list ranking the 10 best players in the area. Rather, it’s a look at the players who offer some of the most intriguing stories heading into the 2014 campaign. While many of the players who are in The Standard 10 have been selected because of the high level of their past performances, there are several factors in determining what makes somebody a player to watch.


A major consideration was made for players who are stepping into more prominent roles.


Most of the members of The Standard 10 were on their varsity teams last season, but will be called on to provide more production this year, as they assume leadership roles and fill in for departed seniors.


There’s always a vacuum in high school football, and it remains to be seen who will step up and fill the shoes of last season’s stars. This list includes a lot of players who have greater expectations thrust upon them as they try to exceed previous performances and make their teams winners.


Rising seniors were given close consideration for this reason. They also received certain prominence as players to watch because there’s interest to see how they’ll finish their high school careers.


Another reason seniors and all upperclassmen are rated highly is because of how they’re being looked at. Not just by fans and the staff of the Aiken Standard, but by college recruiters. A good number of players in The Standard 10 are hotly sought after to play college football. Expect most of The Standard 10 to add their names to the list of Signing Day participants.


While older players have certain built-in advantages, this list includes several younger players as well. Many were included in The Standard 10 based on flashes of brilliance they showed in 2013, many emerging from relative obscurity. That has led to great interest to see how they do with increased expectations this season.


Will they live up to them? Will they exceed them? Or will they be overwhelmed by the impressions of others?


Another factor that helped to shape the list was how certain players would perform in a new role. There’s great interest to see how some of the area boys selected will do at a different position on the gridiron, while others are adding new responsibilities on the opposite side of the ball from where they’ve previously distinguished themselves.


Some others are newcomers to their team. Having made a name for themselves at one school, there’s interest to see how they’ll perform in a new setting with new teammates.


A certain number of the players selected dealt with injury-related issues in the past. How they respond, and their ability to stay on the field, could play a major role in the performance of their teams this season.


And a number members of the top 10 list simply were the best players in the Aiken area last season. Reason enough to want to see how they perform and if they repeat their performances as statistical leaders and key players on top teams.


That’s the bottom line, football fans are ready to see the new season kickoff.


The order was determined by members of the Aiken Standard sports department, as well as the other major contributors to our high school football coverage. That includes sports editor Noah Feit, staff writers Jeremy Timmerman and Eric Russell, North Augusta Star news editor Scott Rodgers and staff writer T.J. Lundeen, as well as ASTV broadcasters Ed Girardeau and Ken Brace. Dozens of area high school football players were nominated as worthy candidates for The Standard 10.


Noah Feit is the sports editor for the Aiken Standard and has been a professional journalist for more than 15 years after graduating from Syracuse University.


Series glance


This story is the first part in a series highlighting The Standard 10, the top 10 Players to Watch in the Aiken area for the 2014 high school football season.


• Monday – No. 10


• Tuesday – No. 9


• Wednesday – No. 8


• Thursday – No. 7


• Friday – No. 6


• Saturday – No. 5


• July 27 – No. 4


• July 28 – No. 3


• July 29 – No. 2


• July 30 – No. 1


The order was determined by Aiken Standard sports editor Noah Feit, staff writers Jeremy Timmerman and Eric Russell, North Augusta Star news editor Scott Rodgers and staff writer T.J. Lundeen, as well as ASTV broadcasters Ed Girardeau and Ken Brace.