A Brief History Of Kentucky’s Mr. Football Award

Waggener defensive back Jairus Brents(Photo: Photo courtesy of Waggener High )

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With no specific guidelines established by The Associated Press, media members have taken different approaches when it comes to voting for Kentucky’s Mr. Football award.

Some see it as a lifetime achievement award. Others vote with consideration only for the statistics compiled during a player’s senior season.

There are other factors as well – college choice, recruiting rankings and the best-player-on-the-best team approach.

With those factors in mind, here’s my list of the 10 players I believe have the best chance to win Mr. Football honors in 2017.

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This list should not be considered a list of the top 10 college prospects in Kentucky. Instead, it should be considered a list of the top 10 candidates based on the factors most voters consider at the end of the season.

For instance, you won’t find an offensive lineman on the list, although there are several very good ones in the state this season – St. Xavier’s Wyatt Smock, Doss’ Charles Allen and Boyle County’s Will Bramel, just to name a few. No offensive lineman ever has won Mr. Football honors, and I don’t see that changing this season.

Also, history shows offensive players have a much better chance to win the award than defensive players.

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Since Mr. Football was first handed out in 1986, 26 of the 31 winners have come from the following positions: quarterbacks (14), running backs (eight), wide receivers (three) and tight ends (one). There have been four linebackers to win the award and one defensive lineman (Harrodsburg’s Dennis Johnson in 1997).

Players are listed in alphabetical order (only seniors are eligible for Mr. Football).

A quick note: Doss wide receiver Terez Traynor likely would have made this list, but a knee injury will force him to miss much of the season.

TYRESE ALLEN, PAINTSVILLE, DEFENSIVE TACKLE

The 6-foot-3-inch 290-pounder has committed to West Virginia and does a little bit of everything for the Tigers, which produced 2015 Mr. Football winner Kash Daniel. Coach Joe Chirico said Allen has “bear-paw hands and is a freakish athlete for his size.” Last season he posted 65 tackles (42 solo) and also saw time at running back and tight end, scoring three touchdowns. Chirico said Allen also will line up at quarterback in Wildcat formations. “He can throw the ball really well,” Chirico said.

JAIRUS BRENTS, WAGGENER, CORNERBACK

Rivals.com ranks Brents as the No. 1 college prospect in Kentucky in the Class of 2018, and he has more than 30 scholarship offers. The 5-9, 160-pound speedster battled injuries much of last season and posted 58 tackles (16 solo) on his way to first-team All-State honors from The Courier-Journal. He also had 15 receptions for 285 yards and three touchdowns as a receiver and is a threat to score every time he touches the ball, whether after intercepting a pass or returning a kickoff or punt.

JAKE CHISHOLM, RYLE, RUNNING BACK

Chisholm is small at 5 feet 8 inches and 167 pounds, but he puts up big numbers for the Raiders. Last season Chisholm rushed for 1,681 yards and 22 touchdowns on 188 carries and also had 31 receptions for 605 yards and four scores. Coach Mike Engler said his running back is receiving interest from Wofford, Eastern Kentucky and Navy.

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Bowling Green linebacker Justice Dingle (Photo: Photo courtesy of Bowling Green High)

JUSTICE DINGLE, BOWLING GREEN, LINEBACKER

Dingle transferred from Tennessee prior to last season and made a big impact as the Purples won their second straight Class 5-A state championship, posting 46 tackles (eight for loss), three sacks, one interception and one forced fumble. The 6-foot-2-inch, 235-pound Dingle, who recently committed to Georgia Tech, was a first-team All-State pick by the Courier-Journal.

KOLBE LANGHI, CHRISTIAN COUNTY, QUARTERBACK

The 6-foot-6-inch, 220-pound lefty enters his fourth season as a starter with career passing totals of 7,149 yards and 69 touchdowns. Last year he completed 62.9 percent of his passes for 2,425 yards and 23 touchdowns, with 13 interceptions. He also rushed for six scores. Langhi currently has an offer from Eastern Kentucky but is receiving interest from several other schools.

A.J. MAYER, COVINGTON CATHOLIC, QUARTERBACK

The 6-foot-3-inch, 200-pound Mayer is ranked by recruiting services as the state’s top quarterback prospect in the Class of 2018, and he has committed to Miami (Ohio). Mayer is entering his third season as the starter and completed 55.1 percent of his passes last year for 2,480 yards and 20 touchdowns. He’s also a threat on the ground, having rushed for 513 yards and 11 scores.

RONDALE MOORE, TRINITY, WIDE RECEIVER

After transferring from New Albany, Moore wasn’t ruled eligible last season until the second round of the playoffs but made quite an impact as the Shamrocks won the Class 6-A state title. Over four playoff games, the 5-foot-8-inch, 174-pound speedster finished with 20 receptions for 464 yards and nine touchdowns. If the University of Texas commit matches that pace over the entire 2017 season, he’s likely to run away with Mr. Football honors.

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A screenshot from Tahj Rice's college commitment video. (Photo: Courier-Journal)

TAHJ RICE, WAGGENER, DEFENSIVE END

One of the state’s most recruited players in the Class of 2018, Rice committed to Duke in March. The 6-foot-3-inch, 287-pounder posted 85 tackles (19 solo) on his way to third-team All-State honors from the Courier-Journal. With fellow Mr. Football candidate Jairus Brents as a teammate, it’s possible the two could split votes and hurt their chances of winning the award.

Related: Internet falls in love with Tahj Rice's college commitment video

CORY SMITH, HAZARD, RUNNING BACK

Smith is likely the least-known and least-recruited player on this list, but he will garner plenty of attention in the voting if he matches his numbers from last season. The 6-foot, 205-pounder carried 330 times for 2,905 yards and 39 touchdowns as the Bulldogs finished 12-3 and lost to Beechwood in the Class A championship game. The 2,905 yards rank 10th on the state’s all-time single-season rushing list.

DILLON WHEATLEY, LEXINGTON CHRISTIAN, RUNNING BACK

The 6-foot-1-inch, 205-pound Wheatley has been a workhorse for the Eagles since his freshman year, racking up career totals of 4,457 rushing yards and 70 touchdowns. Last season he rushed for 1,791 yards and 28 touchdowns on 250 carries and also had 16 receptions for 305 yards and five scores. If he stays healthy this season, he could finish among the state’s top 20 career rushers of all-time.

Five more to watch: Ziyon Kenner (Bowling Green wide receiver), Terrance May (Ballard quarterback), Cameron Sizemore (Corbin quarterback), Cory Trice (Christian County wide receiver/defensive back), Derek Wellman (Belfry running back).

Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and jfrakes@courier-journal.com.

Source : http://www.courier-journal.com/story/sports/preps/kentucky/2017/08/03/top-10-candidates-kentuckys-2017-mr-football-award/529135001/

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