Ridaught: Who will win Mr. Football?

Earlier this week the Florida Dairy Farmers announced their final nominees for Mr. Football and Coach of the Year.

A total of nine first round winners are in the running, with the official announcement coming next week. 

Of the nine, six are quarterbacks, including Brady Denaburg of Merritt Island, the Class 5A Player of the Year (POY), who also kicked and punted.

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Denaburg threw for 3,330 yards with 30 touchdowns, but he also made 19-of-26 field goal attempts with a long of 57 yards.

Heisman Trophy winner Steve Spurrier would be proud. After all, it was his field goal against Auburn in 1966 that sealed the award given to the most outstanding player in college football.

Denaburg, who was also 44-of-44 on extra points, averaged 38.9 yards punt.

Four of this year’s group of quarterbacks threw for over 3,000 yards this season.

Leading the way was Miami Northwestern’s Taron Dickens, who led the Bulls to a Class 6A final four appearance by throwing for 3,743 yards with 42 TDs and only eight interceptions. He completed 70.3% of his passes this season.

The lone running back of the group is Class 7A Player of the Year Jaylon Glover of Lake Gibson (Lakeland). The Utah signee, who was last year’s 6A POY, averaged 7.6 yards per carry and scored 29 TDs.

Ohio State University signee Kenyatta Johnson, Jr., of Class 3A state champion Chaminade-Madonna (Hollywood) and linebacker Keshaun Mitchell of Class 1A state champion Madison County represent defensive nominees.

But it’s most likely that the winner will be an offensive player.

Niceville’s Trey Wainwright, a Furman University signee, was named Mr. Football in 2020 after throwing for 2,752 yards and 34 touchdowns with only three interceptions.

The previous year it was a running back who took home Mr. Football as Lakeland’s Demarkcus Bowman won the award after finishing as runner-up in 2018.

Bowman, who is now with the Gators after originally signing with Clemson, finished his prep career with 5,083 yards rushing and 70 TDs.

A quarterback has won Mr. Football in four of the last five years. 

Carson Beck of Mandarin (Jacksonville) won it in 2018, Bryce Carpenter of Venice was Mr. Football in 2017, and Nick Tronti of Ponte Vedra won it in 2016.

Over the years there have been some highly recruited QBs to win Mr. Football, such as Tim Tebow (2005, Ponte Vedra Nease) and Daunte Culpepper (1994, Ocala Vanguard).

However, the list is long of top running backs in the Sunshine State to win the prestigious award, like Dalvin Cook (2013, Miami Central), Derrick Henry (2012, Yulee), and Travis Henry (1996, Frostproof) just to name a few.

Perhaps the last player to win the award after excelling on both sides of the ball was Dwyer’s (West Palm Beach) Matt Elam, the 2009 Florida Dairy Famers Mr. Football.

Elam, who starred at UF, ran for 1,895 yards and 29 touchdowns, but he also recorded 92 tackles with six sacks and two interceptions as a safety for the Class 4A state champions.

This is the 30th anniversary of the Florida Dairy Farmers Mr. Football award, with wide receiver Jammi German of Fort Myers winning the inaugural award in 1992.

Good luck to this year’s nominees. Have a great weekend!

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