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A list of true Mr. Football candidates could probably be whittled down to just a handful of players with a realistic shot at winning the award. But, in an effort to expand the scope of exposure to all classes and all corners of the state, we've decided to stretch that handful of candidates into a broader watchlist.

You'll find a wide range of players listed here…

- Dual threat and pocket passing Quarterbacks

- Skill players posting astronomical numbers

- Big guys doing the dirty work in the trenches

- Swiss army knife type players who do a little bit of everything

Without further ado, here is the inaugural BGP Mr. Football Watchlist...


Zach Thornton, Danville

2017 Stats: 2,576 yards passing/37 TDs/5 ints. ; 495 yards rushing/ 9 TDs

State champion✓. Undefeated✓. Huge numbers✓. When it comes to being a Mr. Football candidate, Thornton checks most of the boxes. He'll have to overcome some major graduation losses around him, though.

Regular Season Highlights #15 - Zach Thornton highlights - Hudl

Beau Buchanan, Bowling Green

2017 Stats: 2,287 yards passing/25 TDs/3 ints.

Much like Thornton, Buchanan will also see a lot of new faces around him in the huddle this year. The BG signal caller was extremely efficient last season, completing 64% of his throws.

Beau Buchanan JR Reg Season Highlight - Beau Buchanan highlights - Hudl

Joey Cambron, Daviess County

2017 Stats: 4,078 yards passing/49 TDs/11 ints.

The 6’0”, 175 pound gunslinger burst onto the scene in 2017, climbing his way up the KHSAA record books at an alarming rate. With his top four targets back from last year, his numbers could actually go up.

junior year highlights - Joey Cambron highlights - Hudl

Gavin Spurrier, South Warren

2017 Stats: 2,519 yards passing/21 TDs/8 ints.

His family has a history of winning prestigious individual awards; Grandpa Steve won the 1966 Heisman Trophy at Florida. The numbers don't immediately jump out at you, but he's the trigger man for one of 5A’s elite teams.

Junior year- week 4 - Gavin Spurrier highlights - Hudl

Braxton Ratliff, Ashland

2017 Stats: 1,745 yards passing/22 TDs/5 ints. ; 762 yards rushing/15 TDs

Career Stats: 3,905 yards passing/41 TDs/18 ints. ; 1,503 yards rushing/25 TDs

He's one of the premier dual threat QBs in the state and the catalyst for everything the Tomcats do on offense. He may be a bit of a dark horse, but a huge year statistically and (likely) a couple of wins over Johnson Central could keep his name in the mix.

Junior Highlights - Braxton Ratliff highlights - Hudl

Joby Jaggers, Caldwell County

2017 Stats: 2,422 yards passing/ 28 TDs/10 ints.

Jaggers (5’11”, 180 lbs) was thrust into the spotlight last year after incumbent QB Shane Burns elected to prioritize baseball over football. He seemingly picked up right where his predecessor left off. The Tigers’ offense didn't miss a beat behind the accurate arm (he completed 68% of his throws) of its new field general. With the bulk of his skill guys back, expect big numbers from from Jaggers and Caldwell County's offense.

Running Backs

Wandale Robinson, Western Hills

2017 Stats: 2,330 yards rushing/33 TDs ; 314 yards receiving/5 TDs

Career Stats: 4,823 yards rushing/67 TDs ; 1,033 yards receiving/9 TDs

What he lacks in size (he's roughly 5’9”, 175 lbs), he more than makes up for with pretty much everything else - speed, vision, elusiveness, balance, hands, and the ability to cut on a dime without taking his foot off the accelerator. His list of college suitors include Alabama, Ohio State, UK, Michigan, Nebraska, and Purdue.

Casey McGinness, Covington Catholic

2017 Stats: 1,418 yards rushing/22 TDs ; 381 yards receiving/4 TDs

Career Stats: 2,756 yards rushing/36 TDs ; 700 yards receiving/5 TDs

He spent most of CovCath's championship run in the shadow of AJ Mayer. But make no mistake about it, McGinness was an invaluable cog in the Blue Colonels’ offensive machine. He's one of the best all-purpose backs in the state.

Joe Jackson, Johnson Central

2016 Stats: 2,134 yards rushing/34 TDs

After a monster sophomore campaign, Jackson was expected to be the centerpiece of another championship caliber squad in 2017. But a knee injury cut his junior season short after just one game. Early indications are that he should pick up right where he left off in JC's wishbone attack.

Tre Bass, Franklin Simpson

2017 Stats: 1,457 yards rushing/14 TDs ; 245 yards receiving/4 TDs

He showed up big on the games biggest stage - 169 total yards and 3 TDs on 9 touches in the state finals versus Johnson Central. The speedy Bass averaged an eye popping 14 yards per carry last year.

Aidan Robbins, Manual

2017 Stats: 631 yards rushing/6 TDs

Career Stats: 1,001 yards rushing/9 TDs

The numbers belie the physical specimen that Robbins is. The 6’3”, 220 lb running back committed to Louisville back in June. Obviously the numbers have to go up, as do the number of Manual wins, but few players in the state can match the physical prowess of this future Cardinal.

Wide Receivers

Demontae Crumes, Butler

2017 Stats: 30 receptions/770 yards/14 TDs

Career Stats: 55 receptions/1,144 yards/20 TDs

The UK commit is the definition of a big play wide receiver; he averaged 25 yards per catch in 2017, and nearly half of his receptions went for TDs.

JP Vaught, Southwestern

2017 Stats: 52 receptions/930 yards/7 TDs ; 386 yards rushing/6 TDs

Career Stats: 109 receptions/2,286 yards/29 TDs ; 501 yards rushing/6 TDs

Arguably the fastest player in the state, Vaught is a threat to score any time he gets his hands on the ball. He was the dual 100m/200m 3A state champion as a sophomore.


Jacob Lacey, South Warren

Career Stats: 156 tackles (69 solo)

The 6’2”, 290 lb defensive tackle is the centerpiece of one of the the state's top defenses, pound for pound. He's headed to South Bend next year to suit up for the Fighting Irish. Lacey chose Notre Dame over Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Clemson ,Tennessee, UK, and Louisville, among others.

Bryan Hudson, Scott County

Career Stats: 67 tackles (43 solo), more pancakes than iHOP

The four star Virginia Tech commit is the primary road grader in Scott County's wing-t offense. He's also considered one of the top discus and shot put throwers in the nation. The 6’4”, 295 pound Hudson will compete in both football and track and field as a Hokie.

Stephen Herron Jr., Trinity

2017 Stats: 43 tackles/8 sacks

Herron Jr. (6’4”, 235 lbs), a four star DE, made waves on the college recruiting landscape when he flipped from Michigan to Stanford less than a month ago. He's been a big part of the foundation of a Rocks defense that has helped propel Trinity to consecutive, unbeaten state championships.

Tanner Bowles, Glasgow

Career Stats: Pancakes for days… Seriously, he and Hudson should open an iHOP together.

At the college level, a commitment to Alabama is as big as it gets. Bowles (6’5”, 285) chose the Crimson Tide over the likes of Ohio State, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma, Florida State, Penn State, UK, and Louisville. The Scotties have a good shot at duplicating their semi-final run last year, which would keep Bowles’ name in the Mr. Football conversation deep into the postseason.


Milton Wright, Christian Academy-Louisville

2017 Stats: 34 receptions/685 yards/9 TDs ; 346 yards rushing/7 TDs ; 40 tackles/4 ints. ; 2 kick return TDs

Career Stats: 90 receptions/1,658 yards/29 TDs ; 814 yards rushing/14 TDs ; 135 tackles/10 ints./4 pick six's ; 9 kick return TDs

Only a select few can rival Wright's versatility - he's accounted for TDs in nearly every possible way throughout his career (receiving, rushing, throwing, interception return, and kick return). He's a four star recruit, who's narrowed his list to Alabama, Ohio State, UK, Louisville, and Purdue.

Kyle Kelly, Newport Central Catholic

2017 Stats: 1,162 yards rushing/13 TDs ; 284 yards receiving/5 TDs ; 72 tackles/1 int.

Career Stats: 1,983 yards rushing/27 TDs ; 414 yards receiving/5 TDs ; 88 tackles/1 int.

Kelly (6’2”, 200 lbs) has been NewCath's primary ball carrier the past two years, but will play linebacker at the next level at Ohio University. The Kelly bloodline is strong at NCC, and Kyle is primed for another standout season for the Thoroughbreds. The playoff path for the 'Breds is treacherous, though. They'd likely have to beat both CAL and DeSales just to get out of the region.

Logan Castleman, Beechwood

2017 Stats: 427 yards rushing/10 TDs ; 479 yards receiving/8 TDs ; 3 ints.

Career Stats: 525 yards rushing/15 TDs ; 1,198 yards receiving/20 TDs ; 8 ints.

The numbers don't do justice to the caliber of player Castleman is. His versatility and patience have been of paramount importance to Beechwood’s recent championship success. He's not just a running back, receiver, or safety… he's a football player, making plays all over the field in a variety of ways. And he's patiently waited his turn to be the guy on offense. As much as he excels on the gridiron, football might not even be his best sport; he signed to play baseball at Wright State.

Chase Estep, Corbin

2017 Stats: 710 yards rushing/8 TDs ; 631 yards receiving/6 TDs

Career Stats: 1,062 yards rushing/15 TDs ; 1,354 yards receiving/15 TDs ; 9 of 19 passing/207 yards/2 TDs

Over 2,600 yards from scrimmage and 32 TDs accounted for as a runner, receiver, and thrower tells you all you need to know about the dynamic ability this young man possesses. After spending his career up to this point as an all-purpose running back/receiver hybrid, Estep now moves behind center to assume full time QB duties after the departure of Cameron Sizemore. Like Castleman, Estep too will play baseball at the next level, signing with UK last year.