The TSSAA football playoffs are finished. With that, here are our final picks for Offensive Player of the Year within our Williamson County coverage area.
NOTE: We did factor in playoff performance, and did not consider offensive linemen. Our apologies to the latter. We felt it was too tough a task to put them side by side with skill position players and make an accurate assessment of their performance.
Defensive Player of the Year rankings are coming soon. If a player makes it on one side of the ball, we don’t include him in rankings on the other.
Players are listed in descending order of selection.
20. Jack Jewell, wide receiver, Battle Ground Academy
Jewell had a banner year as one of quarterback Drew Martin’s favorite targets. The senior hauled in 57 catches for 871 yards and 11 scores for the Wildcats. You may see footage of his senior highlights here.
19. Seamus O’Connell, quarterback, Father Ryan
Father Ryan’s junior signal-caller had a big hand in several Fighting Irish wins. For the season, he ran for 846 yards (5.5 per carry) and eight touchdowns. He also hit 49.8 percent of his passes for 1,332 yards and 12 scores. He’s posted highlights of his junior campaign to his Hudl page.
18. Ryan Eledge, quarterback, Christ Presbyterian Academy
CPA’s junior starter at quarterback turned in a nice season. Eledge connected on 64.1 percent of his 245 passes for 2,042 yards (8.3 per throw), 26 touchdowns and five interceptions. He added 225 yards rushing (4.1) and four more scores. Here are video highlights from his career.
17. Ollie Reese, wide receiver, Battle Ground Academy
Few area teams had a deeper receiving corps than BGA, and Ollie Reese was the best of the bunch. He caught 50 balls for 1,019 yards and 13 touchdowns for the 11-2 Wildcats. The senior has posted highlights of his 2017 season to his Hudl page.
16. Bubba Johnson, running back, Page
Few area runners were more consistent than Page’s sophomore. Johnson ran 232 times for 1,429 yards (5.7 per carry) and caught 15 balls for 121 more, scoring 14 touchdowns. He was a big reason the Patriots went 8-4 and secured a playoff win over Gallatin.
15. Nicky Clifton, running back, Ensworth
Clifton rushed for 1,215 yards (7.2 per carry), caught five balls for 53, and scored 16 total touchdowns. Ensworth finished 7-4 and made a first-round playoff exit in Clifton’s senior season. You can see video highlights of his career here.
14. T.J. Sheffield, wide receiver, Independence
Independence had issues with its passing game, and that held down T.J. Sheffield’s overall numbers (56 catches, 840 yards, five touchdowns, plus 24 rushes for 119 and a score). Still, the three-star Rivals prospect, a junior and a former Tennessee commitment, was a guy defenses very much had to respect. Here are video highlights of his 2017 season.
13. Troy Henderson, running back, Independence
Henderson, a senior, helped the Eagles make a late playoff push with some huge October games. For the season, he finished with 1,377 rushing yards (8.3 per carry), 21 catches for 162 yards and 21 total scores. He’ll spend next season playing football at Liberty University, where he committed earlier this month. Here are video highlights of his senior season.
12. Tomario Pleasant, running back, Brentwood Academy
Brentwood Academy had star players all over the field, and Pleasant was its biggest star from the running back spot. The junior generated a number of spectacular plays en route to a 204-carry, 1,372-yard season (6.7 per rush) and added five catches for 42 yards and 17 total touchdowns. Here are video highlights of his junior season.
11. Eric Stoxstill-Diggs, quarterback, Franklin Road Academy
Stoxstill-Diggs was nowhere to be found in our preseason rankings, but it’s hard to justify excluding him from our postseason list. One of the area’s better runners from the quarterback position, the senior dashed for 647 yards (4.9 per carry) and eight total touchdowns. An arm injury limited his passing effectiveness, but he still managed 2,066 passing yards (7.3 per attempt), completing 55.5 percent of his throws for 20 touchdowns and six interceptions. Stoxstill-Diggs has committed to play football at Cornell next year. See highlights of his senior campaign here.
10. Noah Henderson, wide receiver, CPA
Henderson followed a good sophomore season with a fantastic junior season, showing the ability to adjust to the ball in the air and also to block downfield. He hauled in 82 passes for 1,174 yards, 379 kickoff return yards (on 10 tries), added four picks on defense and scored 15 touchdowns and four 2-point conversions. CPA finished 10-3. Henderson has updated his Hudl page with senior season highlights.
9. Lance Wilhoite, wide receiver, Franklin Road Academy
Wilhoite ends the season in the No. 9 spot, three spots lower than where he started the season. The junior finished the season with 67 catches for 1,067 yards and 13 touchdowns for an up-and-down FRA team that finished 5-7. Wilhoite, the No. 193 player in the Class of 2019 according to Rivals, figures to be one of the area’s most highly recruited players next fall. Consistency has been a bit of an issue, but he’s about as gifted a player as there is in the area. See his career highlights on his Hudl page here.
8. Tai Carter, running back, Summit
Who knows? If Carter had been able to stay healthy, he might have made a run at the top spot on this list. Unfortunately, the senior battled injuries in November and eventually missed the playoffs for the same reasons, but still managed to be a finalist for Mr. Football in Class 5A. The final number for the season: 1,174 rushing yards (8.6 per carry) and 16 touchdowns. You may see highlights of his season here.
7. Drew Martin, quarterback, Battle Ground Academy
There are quarterbacks on this list with stronger arms than Martin. But perhaps none of them put up better raw numbers than the BGA senior. He didn’t make our preseason top 10–he was one of the first five out--but it’s hard to argue against him in our final rankings. Martin hit 70.4 percent of his 311 passes for 3,084 yards (9.9 per attempt) and 37 touchdowns against six interceptions. He also rushed 74 times for 237 yards and six touchdowns. BGA finished 11-2, and Martin recently picked up an offer from Tusculum College. You may see highlights of Martin’s senior campaign here.
6. Austin Amor, quarterback, Grace Christian Academy
Amor had a massive senior season in leading GCA to the playoffs for the first time ever. And, for good measure, he had a huge role in helping the Lions win a game once they arrived. Amor’s final stat line–1,171 rushing yards (6.7 per carry), 1,536 passing yards (7.8 per throw, on a 59.4 completion percentage, 30 total touchdowns scored (and another 13 passing)–were some of the best in the area. For good measure, he had 20 solo tackles and an assist on defense. And yes, we realize it was against small-school competition, but Amor put up a fairly amazing highlight reel from his senior season on his Hudl page.
5. Gavin Schoenwald, quarterback, Brentwood Academy
Schoenwald moved from tight end to his previous position–quarterback–for his senior year. That worked exceptionally well for everyone. The senior completed 65.2 percent of his 198 throws for 1,592 yards, 19 touchdowns and four interceptions, while running for 416 yards (4.8 per carry) and six more touchdowns. The Eagles finished 12-0, won another state title, and currently place No. 6 in USA Today’s Super 25 national rankings. Schoenwald, who will be a tight end at Vanderbilt next season, has posted video highlights of his senior season here.
4. Camron Johnson, wide receiver, Brentwood Academy
Johnson’s numbers–48 catches, 769 yards and six rushes for 67, with 12 total touchdowns–lagged several players we ranked behind him. But one could argue that the Vanderbilt wide receiver commit is the most talented player on the list. He passed the eye test when it mattered, such as his three-touchdown first half in helping BA build an insurmountable lead in the state title game vs. MBA. Johnson, the No. 2 player on our preseason list, helped the Eagles to an undefeated 12-0 season. He was also selected as a Mr. Football finalist for Division II Class AAA. You may see video highlights of Johnson, a four-star recruit according to Rivals, here.
3. Darius James, running back, Fairview
James’s one year at Fairview was one to remember. The senior running back ran for 1,723 yards (8.1 per carry) and caught 15 balls for 210 more, scoring 31 total touchdowns. The Yellowjackets finished their season at 9-4, and James was selected as a Mr. Football finalist for Class 3A. You may see video highlights of his senior season here.
2. Carson Shacklett, quarterback, Brentwood
Shacklett, No. 7 on our preseason list, not only put up great stats, but the Brentwood senior was so, so consistent from week to week. He completed 68.5 percent of his 235 passes for 2,400 yards (10.2 per throw) and threw 25 touchdowns against six interceptions. Shacklett added 308 rushing yards (2.8 per carry) and six scores there. Brentwood finished its season at 10-2. Here are many video highlights of his senior season.
1. Dontae Smith, running back, Spring Hill
Smith started his senior year as our preseason Offensive Player of the Year, and finishes it there. Despite being hampered by injuries for several weeks, Smith rushed for 2,101 yards and 24 touchdowns for the 6-6 Raiders. He’ll continue his career as a running back at Georgia Tech next fall. He was a finalist for Mr. Football in 4A. Here are video highlights of Smith’s season.
Disclaimer: In compiling this list, we considered players from our entire coverage area, which includes the following schools: Brentwood Academy, Battle Ground Academy, Brentwood High School, Centennial High School, Christ Presbyterian Academy, Ensworth, Fairview High School, Father Ryan High School, Franklin High School, Franklin Road Academy, Grace Christian Academy, Independence High School, Nolensville High School, Page High School, Ravenwood High School, Spring Hill High School, Summit High School. Although not all of these schools are within the boundaries of Williamson County, we know many of our parents have children at those schools and are interested in their sports programs; therefore, we consider all football players at these schools.