For years, the state of Illinois has awarded a Mr. Basketball winner. Hasn't the time come for a statewide Mr. Football award?
Getting down to just a handful of worthy candidates would be a monumental task, especially taking into account the limited number of games played in football versus basketball.
But being able to look at this with a statewide view (yes, there is life and some pretty strong football candidates outside Chicagoland) and come up with a leader board is very possible.
Small schools candidates? Absolutely. A dominant player and performer is a dominant player and performer at any level. The cream rises to the top no matter the school size, in my book.
So who are some early names for my initial Mr. Football?
We have to take a serious first look at James Robinson, Rockford Lutheran senior running back. Robinson, who is just 647 yards shy of setting a new IHSA career rushing record, has been firing off huge game after huge game. In many cases, Robinson has played just in the first half of games.
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How about Rochester senior QB Dan Zeigler? So far, he has led the five-time defending 4A state champion Rochester with throwing for close to 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns? Is anyone as dangerous with the football in his hands this season regardless of class than Phillips senior QB Quayvon Skanes?
Then there is Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin junior QB Tim Brenneisen or senior WR Sam Sergent. Imagine if Sacred Heart-Griffin decided to actually play its starters for a full four quarters one of these days.
Downstate Belleville Althoff senior QB Jordan Augustine has led the Crusaders to a 4-0 record while throwing for nearly 1,400 yards in just four games. Not too shabby.
Closer to Chicagoland you ask?
Would anyone argue with Glenbard West senior running back Sam Brodner as a worthy name? Or say Libertyville's quarterback Riley Lees? What about Joliet Catholic's senior RB Michael Johnson, who has made the most of his senior season so far?
What about the state's top ranked team Homewood-Flossmoor? Could QB Bryce Gray or the Harley-Hampton twins (among several others) emerge as the season progresses and the Vikings begin to play its starters a full four quarters?
Defense? No one can tell me that kids such as Bolingbrook's linebacker Tuf Borland or Phillips linebacker Amani Jones don't deserve serious consideration.
The names and the worthy candidates for Mr. Football are endless. And as far as I'm concerned, it's way overdue to start thinking about a statewide Mr. Football.