By the time he finished the 2011 season, he had earned Class AAAA all-state second-team honors and seemingly had his pick of which major college he wanted to attend.
Fast forward to 2012, and after a season where he led Cobb County with six interceptions, made 39 tackles — including five for loss — and led Kell to a 10-2 record, Langley not only earned first-team all-state recognition, but he was a near-unanimous choice as The Associated Press Class AAAAA Defensive Player of the Year.
Langley’s selection marks the fifth straight year that Kell has had at least one first-team all-state selection.
He joins former teammate Brian Randolph, now at Tennessee, and current Pittsburgh Steelers starting running back Jonathan Dwyer, as Longhorns who have won player of the year honors. Randolph was the Class AAAA Defensive Player of the Year in 2010, and Dwyer earned Class AAAAA offensive honors in 2006.
Langley’s selection also assured Cobb County of a defensive player of the year winner for the third straight season — McEachern’s Darius English won the Class AAAAA award in 2011 — and at least one player of the year in each season since 2008.
“First of all, it’s an honor,” Langley said. “I wouldn’t have expected this to come so quickly.”
Kell coach Derek Cook said the Georgia-bound senior is just taking advantage of the God-given gifts bestowed on him.
“His size (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) and speed (a 4.39-second 40-yard dash) — that combination is hard to beat,” Cook said. “You have other guys that are fast, but not that tall, or you have tall guys that are not that fast. And he can out-jump anybody for the ball.
“But to be a nearly unanimous selection (for the award) is even more impressive.”
It is more impressive when taking two things into consideration.
First, after Langley recorded most of his six interceptions in the first half of the season — including three against Creekview in a game that likely decided which team won the Region 7AAAAA title — opposing teams quit challenging him in the season’s second half.
“It did get a little boring,” Langley said about the quarterbacks not throwing to his side of the field. “But at the end of the game, just look at the scoreboard. Getting the win is the important thing. Plus, I’m always about getting my teammates involved. With (teams) not challenging me, it gave our other corners and safeties chances to make plays.”
The other thing that makes Langley’s selection as defensive player of the year impressive is that his offensive numbers may have been better than his defensive totals.
As a receiver this year, Langley caught 33 passes for 744 yards and 12 touchdowns, and he also had 21 carries for another 310 yards and six touchdowns. Langley even had a hand in the return game, and if Matthew McGuigan had not established himself as Kell’s starting quarterback, Cook has said he would have considered turning to Langley as the Longhorns’ signal-caller.
“His offensive numbers are just as impressive,” Cook said. “He could have been all-state on either side of the ball.”