It’s midseason for most teams. It’s premature to conjecture about players of the year. But it’s fun. So let’s do it.
Here’s the GHSF Daily’s look at how the awards might fall if they were chosen today:
All-classification player of the year: Blake Sims, Gainesville. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Georgia Sports Writers Association select an all-class player of the year, and Sims is the front-runner. Sims, committed to Alabama, is 59-for-95 passing for 895 yards and 12 touchdowns, and he’s rushed for 200 yards (6.25 per carry) and five touchdowns. He has played in the fourth quarter only once, as Gainesville’s closest game has been 42-20. And just as important, Gainesville is ranked No. 1. Anything short of the semifinals would injure Sims’ chances of such a big honor.
Offense player of the year: Charles Perkins, Collins Hill. Perkins has rushed for 1,003 yards and nine touchdowns on a 5-0 team. Collins Hill is unranked and no shoo-in to prolong Perkins’ season in the playoffs, so watch for Grayson’s Ean Pemberton, North Gwinnett quarterback C.J. Uzomah, McEachern running back Rajaan Bennett and M.L. King running back Mack Brown, especially if their teams make a run and Collins Hill doesn’t.
Defensive player of the year: Alec Ogletree, Newnan. He’s the No. 1 defensive prospect in the state, and he plays for the No. 1- rated scoring defense in AAAAA. Newnan (5-0) is ranked No. 5. Others in the mix include defensive tackles Michael Thornton of Stephenson and Jeffrey Whitaker of Warner Robins and linebacker Telvin Smith of Lowndes.
Coach of the year: Kyle Hockman, McEachern. Seeking their first playoff appearance since 2005, the Indians are ranked No. 6.
Offense player of the year: Robert Bown, Westside (Macon). Brown has rushed for 930 yards and eight touchdowns for the No. 2-ranked team. Westside needs to go deep in the playoffs to keep Brown at the top. He has not separated himself much from contenders such as Synjyn Days of Hillgrove, Rajion Neal of Sandy Creek, Ken Malcome of Southwest DeKalb, Clarence Jackson of North Clayton and Storm Johnson of Loganville, so this one will go down to the wire.
Defensive player of the year: T.J. Stripling, Southwest DeKalb. Not much missing from Stripling’s resume. He’s a returning first-team all-state defensive end, he’s committed to Georgia, he plays for a defensive-minded state-championship contender and he’s producing on the field. In fact, Stripling has 14 sacks in four games. Southwest DeKalb is 4-1 and ranked No. 3.
Coach of the year: Phillip Ironside, Hillgrove. A fourth-year program cut mostly from the McEachern district is 4-0 and ranked No. 4.
Offense player of the year: Terrell Brigham, Burke County. Brigham has rushed for 556 yards and six touchdowns and passed for 427 yards (completing 40 of 59 passes) for six touchdowns. Burke has played only four games and beaten four Class AAAA opponents, three that won at least a round in the playoffs last season. Brigham also has punted seven times, caught three passes and made eight tackles. Somehow, Division I-A schools are ignoring him. The main threat to Brigham’s hope of being the AAA offensive player of the year is Gainesville’s Sims, whom we tabbed as the all-class player of the year.
Defensive player of the year: Neiron Ball, Jackson. Jackson is 5-0 and ranked in the top 10 of scoring defense for the second year in a row, and Ball, a defensive end who has committed to Florida, is the ring leader.
Coach of the year: Paul Standard, St. Pius. Unranked in preseason, St. Pius is 5-0 and No. 3 and still happy about its opening-night rout of Marist.
Offense player of the year: B.J. Bostic, Jefferson County. Bostic, who has committed to Georgia Tech to play cornerback, lines up at several positions at Jefferson County, a 5-0 team that is ranked No. 5. He has rushed for 417 yards and six touchdowns on 49 carries, thrown for 267 yards and six touchdowns on 17-of-25 passing and caught five passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns. Counting a kick return, he has scored 10 touchdowns and passed for six more. He has more than 6,000 yards in total offense for his career. Other contenders in a deep field include Lovett’s Jonathan Carkhuff (61-of-101 passing, 765 yards, 10 TDs, 0 interceptions), Fitzgerald’s Trenton Pruitt (728 all-purpose yards, 11 TDs), Charlton County’s Chris Milton (994 yards passing for 13 TDs) and Jefferson’s Darius Minor (530 passing, 283 rushing).
Defensive player of the year: Jessel Curry, Buford. Buford’s defense hasn’t been as dominant as it would like, and Curry’s best work at times this season has been on offense. But if you’re drafting a Class AA all-star defense, Curry, a linebacker, would be our No. 1 pick. He’s committed to Auburn.
Coach of the year: Mike Muschamp, Lovett. The Lions, ranked No. 3, ended Buford’s 32-game winning streak.
Offense player of the year: Conor Welton, Wesleyan. Welton hasn’t played a full game because of Wesleyan’s insistence on having games decided by halftime, so his numbers aren’t profilic, but they are efficient to the max: 40-of-50 passing, 648 yards, 10 touchdowns, one interception. Other contenders include his teammate, Kyle Karempelis (567 yards rushing, 63 carries). Then there are Johnson County teammates D.J. Dozier (910 yards passing, 500 rushing) and Zack Walker (41 receptions, 678 yards in five games).
Defensive player of the year: Bobby Fulton, Wesleyan. Fulton is a returning first-team all-state player who leads Wesleyan in tackles. Wesleyan’s defense has not been scored on in the No. 1-ranked team’s 5-0 start.
Coach of the year: Donald Chumley, Savannah Christian. The Raiders crushed ECI and are ranked No. 2 despite heavy graduation losses.
Georgia High School Football Daily is a free email newsletter. CLICK to join the mailing list