It’s not time to hand out the 2022 Tennessee Titans Mr. Football awards just yet.
That will come in December, shortly after the TSSAA BlueCross Bowl state championships.
But several Nashville-area high school players are putting together resumes that will be worth considering for the state’s top honors in their respective classifications. Remember: a committee of statewide sports writers select the winners based on regular-season performance, academics and character.
Here are 15 potential Mr. Football candidates at midseason, listed by classification:
Dawson White, Moore County, Jr. (Class 1A)
White rarely leaves the field. His primary positions include quarterback, safety, punter and kick returner. On offense, White has accounted for 1,421 yards and 20 touchdowns. On defense, he has nine total tackles, two passes defended and an interception.
Zech Prince, East Robertson, Sr. (Class 2A)
Prince is another player who contributes in multiple ways. He has carried the ball 70 times for 758 yards and 14 TDs to go with three receptions for 77 yards and a score on offense. The 6-foot-2 athlete also has 20 total tackles on defense.
Easton Elliott, Waverly, Sr. (Class 3A)
Elliott is helping Waverly’s offense average nearly 40 points per game. The shifty tailback has rushed for 1,277 yards and 17 scores on 99 carries – a whopping 12.9 yards per attempt.
Nathan Robinson, Greenbrier, Sr. (Class 4A)
Defense-first players win Mr. Football awards from time to time. Robinson, a Tennessee commitment, already has 30 total tackles in just four games from his work as a defensive lineman/outside linebacker.
Malaki Dowell, White County, Sr. (Class 5A)
Dowell’s numbers speak loudly. The 5-foot-10 running back has carried the ball 144 times for 1,595 yards and 23 TDs through just five games. In a 59-54 win over Cookeville, Dowell had nearly 500 yards and seven scores. That’s a difficult mark to reach even in a video game.
Devon Crenshaw, Springfield, Sr. (Class 5A)
Dowell will be difficult to beat in Class 5A, but Crenshaw might have a chance. The 6-foot-2 quarterback is 43-of-70 passing for 870 yards, nine TDs and just two INTs. He also has 458 rushing yards and 10 scores on 46 attempts for the unbeaten Yellow Jackets.
Arion Carter, Smyrna, Sr. (Class 6A)
Carter is a force on both sides of the ball for the Bulldogs. Through just four games, he has rushed 56 times for 372 yards and 10 TDs on offense and racked up 29 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles on defense. Carter is committed to Memphis but has received numerous Power 5 offers this month from the likes of Alabama, Michigan, Oregon and Tennessee, among others.
Chris Parson, Ravenwood, Sr. (Class 6A)
Despite playing against three of the toughest defenses in the area – Brentwood, MBA and Oakland – Parson is still enjoying a solid campaign. The Mississippi State commitment is 76-of-98 passing for 891 yards, three TDs and two INTs. He has also rushed for 461 yards and five scores.
Ashton Jones, DCA, Jr. (Division II-A)
Jones had a case to a Mr. Football finalist last year. He has followed up his impressive sophomore year by rushing for 569 yards and 10 TDs on 65 attempts. The Wildcats are relying on him heavily after graduating 15 seniors from their 2021 state championship team.
Brock Montgomery, Friendship Christian, Jr. (Division II-A)
Montgomery has been a breakout star amid the Commanders’ undefeated start. He has 23 receptions for 599 yards and eight scores on offense and three INTs on defense. Friendship Christian QB Garrett Weekly (1,277 total yards, 19 TDs) is also making a name for himself.
Hank Brown, Lipscomb Academy, Sr. (Division II-AA)
No Luther Richesson? No problem. Brown, a Liberty commitment, has picked up right where his predecessor left off, throwing for 1,151 yards, 16 TDs and just two INTs while completing 67% of his passes. It’s almost a guarantee that the Mustangs will have at least one Mr. Football finalist. Wide receiver Junior Sherrill and linebacker Edwin Spillman are also making strong cases.
Ty Clark III, FRA, Jr. (Division II-AA)
Clark is a big reason why the Panthers (4-1) have turned things around under first-year coach Justin Geisinger. The 6-foot, 190-pound running back has rushed 94 times for 907 yards and 12 scores to go with 11 catches, 156 yards and a TD through the air.
Kenny Minchey, Pope Prep, Sr. (Division II-AAA)
Minchey injured his shoulder two weeks ago and it’s unclear when he will return to the field. Before he got hurt, the Pittsburgh commitment completed 47-of-64 pass attempts for 768 yards, 11 TDs and just one INT. There may not be a better pure passer in the area.
Marcel Reed, MBA, Sr. (Division II-AAA)
Reed is as steady as senior quarterbacks come. The Ole Miss commitment has thrown for 666 yards, rushed for 392 and accounted for 16 total TDs to key the Big Red's 5-0 start. Perhaps just as important are the intangibles Reed brings as a four-year starter with two BlueCross Bowl appearances.
Paulos Estifanos, Ensworth, Sr. (Kicker of the Year)
We didn't forget about kickers, who have a Mr. Football award all to themselves. Estifanos has been efficient in each facet of the kicking game. He is 9-of-10 on field goals (with a long of 44 yards) and 14-of-16 on extra points while averaging 36.1 yards per punt.