It is an honor that helps to separate the best skill player and best lineman from around the state. As the season winds down and the state prepares to crown the state champions so goes the crowning of "Mr. Football". This season Tennessee has been loaded with top level talent some of which walked away with this prestigious award.
In class 5A, the award was given to a prospect on the rise in the class of 2010, Jacques Smith from Ooltewah (Tenn.). Smith is expected to be one of the top prospects in the class of 2010 for the entire state. He finished the 2008 season with 58 tackles and 23 tackles for a loss. A the skill position the Mr. Football award went to Tausean Holmes from Millington (Tenn.), who had a big 2008 season with over 1200 yards rushing.
Class 4A saw a winner from Maryville defensive linemen Justin Smith. The award was an honor for Smith who will hopefully lead his team to their seventy fifth consecutive win and fifth state title in a row this Saturday. The skill position was a tough decision with such great competition like Eric Gordon and Marsalis Teague. After the memorable showdown between the two this past Friday Teague showed that he was an athlete worthy of the award. His combination of speed with over 900 yards rushing and passing accuracy with over 900 yards passing helped impress many from across the state.
The candidates in class 3A were hoping to square off this week in the state championship, but only one of the Mr. Football recipients was able to get to the game. Daniel Hood, 6-5, 260 pounds hauled in the top linemen award and hopes to help his Knoxville-Catholic team haul in a state championship this Saturday. Zach Rogers from Nashville-Lipscomb and his Mustangs came up one game short with an overtime loss to Memphis-Mitchell this past Friday, but Rogers did earn the Mr. Football award.
For 2A it would almost unimaginable for the award not to be earned by a member of the Tornadoes from Alcoa (Tenn.). As most would imagine Coach Gary Ranking and the Tornadoes were able to haul in one of the coveted awards with one of the top juniors in the state Tyler Robinson. At the skill position the Mr. Football trophy was given to Nashville-Goodpasture running back Benjamin Cunningham. He had a big senior season with over 1200 yards and 21 touchdowns.
The competition in class 1A had a hard time trying to stop South Pittsburg' running back David Jones but the voters did not have a hard time making him Mr. Football. Jones led his team with close to 1000 yards rushing and over 70 tackles on defense. For the linemen position the award went to Mt. Pleasant (Tenn.) big man Preston Gilbreath, who record 68 tackles this season.
The private school divisions handed out their hardware today as well. The recipients were some of the top prospects in the state and one prospect on the rise. In division two class A the linemen award went to Blair Arrington, who helped lead his Nashville-Davidson Academy team to a state championship with over 100 tackles on the season. The Mr. Football skill position award was given to the number one prospect in the state Marlon Brown, 6-5, 205 pound wide receiver from Memphis-Harding Academy.
In the larger private school division the linemen award went to one of the top linemen prospects in the Southeast, Austin Long, 6-5.5, 270 pounds from Memphis-Briarcrest. Long, a Georgia commitment has had a stellar career and hopes to represent the state well in January at the U.S. Army All American Senior Game. The skill position award was given to Tavarres Jefferson; one of the hottest senior prospects in the state. Jefferson had an amazing season and is beginning to gain a lot of interest from several schools across the Southeast.