The Associated Press Ohio Mr. Football Award may never return to Cincinnati.
Today may have proved to be the most convincing evidence of that scenario more than anytime in recent memory.
With the (leaked) news that Massillon Perry senior running back Keishaun Sims will be named Ohio Mr. Football later this afternoon, several Cincinnati-area fans (namely La Salle and UC fans) have chimed in with their opinion and let’s be honest – in some cases their outrage.
Sims, the Division II state co-offensive player of the year with Jeremy Larkin, has rushed for 3,108 yards and 42 touchdowns for Perry (12-2) entering Friday’s Division II state final against La Salle (12-2) at 8 p.m. Friday at Ohio Stadium. La Salle is ranked No. 25 nationally in the USA Today Computer Rankings and has been ranked nationally by MaxPreps this season too).
This is the first time in my 15 years of covering high school sports I remember Mr. Football being leaked before the traditional release time of 6:30 p.m.
Larkin, who is verbally committed to the University of Cincinnati, was second in the voting for the 29th annual Mr. Football. Colerain senior quarterback Deshaunte Jones was fifth.
Larkin was a Mr. Football finalist in 2014. He seemed to have the momentum and an excellent season behind him. Mr. Football is not a career award but he’s all the all-time GCL rushing yards and touchdowns leader. Enough said.
He’s rushed for 1,829 yards and 28 touchdowns and has 639 receiving yards and eight touchdowns this season. Excellent numbers in arguably the nation’s top football conference.
I personally thought this would finally be the year Cincinnati would break its drought for Mr. Football. My faith would somehow be restored in the system. Was it a lack of information about Cincinnati to northern media members?
Surely, the AP state poll each season has evidence of that.
I argue this with my media colleagues up north all the time. Look at the strength of schedule each and every year. There is no doubting the level of competition some Cincinnati-area teams play each and every year. (Look at the GCL South and GMC schedules just to start).
The Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown is the perfect example.
The Enquirer gets a vote on the Southwest District teams but the Dayton Daily News is the chairman for recommending all-state players from this area and for Mr. Football.
To set the record straight, DDN reporter Marc Pendleton does a great job each year representing the district in football and basketball. He voted Larkin No. 1 and Jones No. 2 for Mr. Football.
Our district just needs more respect statewide. It’s difficult to believe in this day of age this has to be mentioned with social media and the access to information.
Even as I grumbled beneath my breathe at some of the placement of all-state teams this week – Elder quarterback Peyton Ramsey, an Indiana commit, and La Salle punter Drue Chrisman, an Ohio State commit, should’ve been higher than special mention in Divisions I and II respectively. (Colerain junior DB Amir Riep should’ve been first team and so should La Salle junior strong safety Jarell White).
Silly me to think this could be the Mr. Football year for the Queen City.
Though they weren’t finalists, Mount Healthy senior quarterback David Montgomery (Division III state offensive player of the year) along with Ramsey could make a case. Heck, even Elder offensive lineman Tommy Kraemer (Notre Dame) was first-team all-state and is the No. 1-rated player in the 2016 class by 247Sports. Kraemer, Chrisman and Moeller tight end Jake Hausmann (Ohio State) are U.S. Army All-Americans.
Certainly, that resume of competition alone could put Larkin or Jones as the winner. Jones was the most dynamic player I saw all season. He rushed for 1,860 yards and 29 touchdowns and threw for 785 yards and nine touchdowns. His impact was outstanding.
Instead, Norwood’s Marc Edwards continues as the only Cincinnati-area player to win Mr. Football when he did so in 1992. The award started in 1987.
Feeling a bit frustrated, I still wanted to recognize the significant seasons of multiple Cincinnati-area players.
So instead of dwelling on our area’s Mr. Football drought, I unofficially and unscientifically polled some area coaches to get their pick for Mr. Cincinnati this year.
Here are the results. I received more votes for Jones and Larkin as the day went on but this was as of Wednesday afternoon:
1.Coach A – (In order) Jeremy Larkin, Deshaunte Jones, Peyton Ramsey, David Montgomery
2.Coach B – Deshaunte Jones and Jeremy Larkin (split vote)
3.Coach C – Deshaunte Jones and Peyton Ramsey
4.Coach D – Deshaunte Jones. “I watched three games in person.”
5.Coach E – Deshaunte Jones. “Played him in person. Level of competition he plays.”
6.Coach F – Jeremy Larkin.
7.Coach G – Deshaunte Jones
8.Coach H – Deshaunte Jones. “The best. The schedule and stats back him up.” (Coach H would vote Ramsey second).
9.Coach I – Deshaunte Jones. “I know Larkin is good. I think Deshaunte was more impactful to their success.”
10. Coach J – Tommy Kraemer and Deshaunte Jones.