Jump to content

BluegrassPreps 2022 Preseason Mr. Football Watchlist


Recommended Posts

As the 2022 season draws near, it's time to sink our teeth into what's become our annual peak at the top contenders for Kentucky's most prestigious individual award, Mr. Football.

But first, a quick recap of last season: This time last year, it looked like a two horse race between 2020 Mr. Football Cam Hergott and Gavin Wimsatt. After Owensboro's star signal caller noped out on the remainder of the season in favor of early enrollment at Rutgers, all eyes were fixed on Hergott as the favorite to repeat. He put together a stellar season and was joined in the conversation by several others along the way, including Jack Sivori and the uber productive Joe Humphreys. But when the dust settled, it was Isaac Dixon who emerged with the prize on the heels of a turf tearing, legend making performance in the 3A State Finals.

Looking ahead: This year's field is as wide open as we've seen in a while. At this juncture, there appears to be no clear favorite, which could make for numerous twists and turns on the road to crowning this year's winner. Some names you may already know, while others may take time to come into focus.

 

Blake Birchfield (RB, Pikeville)

2021: 290 carries for 2,512 yards and 25 touchdowns | 1 interception

Career: 427 carries for 3,259 yards and 34 touchdowns | 28 receptions for 274 yards and 2 touchdowns | 2 interceptions | 1 scoop and score

Highlights: Jr. Season

Why he's here: He was the state's leading rusher last year while helping carry the Panthers to another title. And it's not out of the question that he could duplicate those feats in 2022. In a season bursting at the seams with highlight reel runs, he ripped off two of his longest against LCA on a big stage and punctuated his season by serving as Pikeville's workhorse on the biggest stage possible against Russellville. Mr. Football went to a running back in Pike County last year. Birchfield and his Panthers will look to keep it there.

 

Ty Bryant (ATH, Frederick Douglass)

2021: 39 offensive touches for 360 yards and 12 touchdowns | 58 tackles | 2 interceptions including a pick-six | 1 scoop and score

Career: 220 tackles | 3 interceptions | 4 forced fumbles and 4 recovered | 1 kick return touchdown | 48 offensive touches for 500 yards and 15 touchdowns

Highlights: Jr. Season

Why he's here: Frederick Douglass' track record for producing watchlist talent over the last few years is unmatched, and Bryant is a worthy addition to that lineage. He's been a productive and disruptive defender - he's played a hand in creating 11 turnovers - but he'll likely need a dramatic uptick in offensive touches and production to stay within arms reach of Mr. Football. The total package of athleticism, playmaking, and high profile is already there for the future Kentucky Wildcat. Getting the Broncos over the hump and claiming their first state title could be the missing piece of the Mr. Football puzzle.

 

Cristian Conyer (ATH, South Warren)

2021: 18 receptions for 224 yards and 3 touchdowns | 1 rushing touchdown | 12 tackles

Career: 30 receptions for 444 yards and 6 touchdowns | 22 tackles | 1 kick return touchdown

Highlights: Jr. Season

Why he's here: I know you're looking at those numbers and wondering, "how is he on this list?". Answer: The University of Tennessee bound cornerback has the skill set and necessary physical attributes to deter even the most reckless, gunslingin' quarterbacks from challenging his side of the field. He was one of the very few non-senior standouts on last year's 5A state champions despite missing several games. The possibility of a full season and upgraded role on offense, combined with his already renowned defensive prowess, is why Conyer merits a spot here. He's essentially picked up where Jantzen Dunn left off.

 

Kenyon Goodin (QB/DB, Collins)

2021: 164/271 for 2,486 yards and 28 touchdowns with 7 interceptions | 990 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns | 54 tackles | 1 interception

Career: 181/295 for 2,772 yards and 31 touchdowns with 9 interceptions | 1,187 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns | 1,045 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns | 103 tackles | 4 interceptions

Highlights: Jr. Season

Why he's here: The most productive player no one outside of Shelbyville knew about last year. In his first season as a full time quarterback, Goodin amassed nearly 3,500 yards of total offense and 52 touchdowns. He fell ten rushing yards shy of joining Cam Hergott and Jack Sivori in the 2k/1k club. Despite the offensive exploits - which includes a season spent as a standout receiver - he made his mark on the all-state team at defensive back, proving his versatility as a well rounded football player.

 

Daisjaun Mercer (ATH, Hopkinsville)

2021: 44 receptions for 1,127 yards and 13 touchdowns | 51 tackles | 6 interceptions including 2 pick-sixes | 1 kick return touchdown

Career: 54 receptions for 1,323 yards and 16 touchdowns | 254 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns | 17 interceptions

Highlights: Jr. Season

Why he's here: Mercer is one of the most explosive, impactful all-around players in the state. He picked off eight passes as a freshman to establish himself as a top defender from day one, but had to bide his time behind Reece Jesse before breaking out in 2021 at receiver. His per catch average of 25.6 led the state for players with at least 40 receptions. Committed to Miami (OH).

 

Kaden Moorman (RB, Franklin County)

2021: 177 carries for 1,447 yards and 27 touchdowns | 18 receptions for 211 yards and 2 touchdowns | 1 passing touchdown | 2 kick return touchdowns

Career: 314 carries for 2,305 yards and 44 touchdowns | 52 receptions for 785 yards and 8 touchdowns

Highlights: vs. Central 2021

Why he's here: He was an All-State and All-BGP performer as a junior and one of the most versatile backs you'll see this year. Moorman can just as easily make defenders miss as run through them. He combines power, shiftiness, pass catching, and blocking into a package that drew attention first from the University of Wisconsin, then from UK, whom he is currently committed to. He should have the Flyers firmly in the 4A title picture.

 

Antonio Robinson Jr. (ATH, Beechwood)

2021: 54 tackles | 2 interceptions | 452 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns | 263 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns

Highlights: Jr. Season

Why he's here: He instantly jumped to the top of the list of in-state prospects after landing in NKY, by way of South Florida. The Wake Forest commit is a spectacular all-around athlete who can impact the game in several facets. In regards to Mr. Football, enrolling at Beechwood carries with it a double edged sword. The Tigers already have a two-way beast and potential darkhorse for the award in Mitchell Berger. But it also keeps his visibility high, as Beechwood is yet again a state championship favorite. And bringing another ship back to Fort Mitchell would be a great addition to a Mr. Football resumé. 

 

Daniel Swinney (RB, Male)

2021: 226 carries for 1,659 yards and 29 touchdowns | 14 receptions for 317 yards and 3 touchdowns

Career: 272 carries for 2,067 and 36 touchdowns 

Highlights: Jr. Season

Why he's here: He's a star for one of the state's brand names and the top running back in Louisville. A few of 2021's high points: two monster games against Trinity (including six touchdowns in the semifinals), a career high 262 yards against Ballard, and outshining JaWaun Northington in the 'Old Rivalry'. He should have ample opportunity to pile up numbers while Male breaks in a new quarterback and Max Gainey recovers from injury. 

 

Tommy Ziesmer (Edge/TE, Boyle County)

2021: 61 tackles | 10 sacks | 5 forced fumbles | 1 scoop and score | 1 receiving touchdown

Career: 153 tackles | 21 sacks | 35 tackles for loss | 8 forced fumbles

Highlights: Jr. Season

Why he's here: Simply put, he's the most accomplished defensive lineman in Kentucky. While other elite talents at the position have dealt with injuries, Ziesmer has been a stalwart for the Rebels, helping anchor back to back championship defenses with a quick first step and nose for the football. He'll no doubt be a pillar for Boyle County in their bid for a three-peat. Committed to the University of Kentucky.


 

Five more to remember

Mitchell Berger (ATH, Beechwood) - An all-around natural athlete and competitor who comes by it honest. Collected over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and 17 touchdowns last year, as well as bringing the heat from his linebacker position.

Kenyatta Carbon (ATH, Owensboro) - Was working on a superb junior season before it was cut short by injury. He runs it, catches it, plays defensive back, and returns kicks. And does it all at a high level. Should thrive in his role in O's high octane offense.

Micah Carter (DL, St. Xavier) - Junior season was lost with an injury suffered against Carbon's Red Devils. Has the size (6'5"/260lbs) and tools to dominate the line of scrimmage. Committed to Purdue.

Jakob Dixon (WR, Pleasure Ridge Park) - Balled out at UK's summer camp and earned a scholarship offer from the Cats. Solid junior season and summer exposure could lead to all-state caliber senior year with PRP's passing game intact from last year.

Charlie Noon (ATH, Highlands) - Is he a Quarterback? Running back? Receiver? All of the above. The Birds' - and maybe NKY's - most valuable offensive weapon needs to be accounted for at all times. Getting him the ball in space is a must for a Highlands resurgence in 2022.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anyone else feeling the lack of star power this year? It was impossible to ignore as I put this watchlist together. Very few players that I instantly thought, "yeah, he's a lock for this". There are no generational talents, â la Michael Mayer or Wan'Dale Robinson. No blue chip quarterback. Louisville and Lexington are represented, but the talent in those cities for the class of '23 is down, overall.

If there's a silver lining here, the lack of preseason hype could keep us guessing on a winner right up until he's announced. Opinions could be all over the map. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, DevilMayCare said:

Anyone else feeling the lack of star power this year? It was impossible to ignore as I put this watchlist together. Very few players that I instantly thought, "yeah, he's a lock for this". There are no generational talents, â la Michael Mayer or Wan'Dale Robinson. No blue chip quarterback. Louisville and Lexington are represented, but the talent in those cities for the class of '23 is down, overall.

If there's a silver lining here, the lack of preseason hype could keep us guessing on a winner right up until he's announced. Opinions could be all over the map. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

I think this is well said and absolutely true.  While I think this years Mr. Football will come from the list above, I also think this year sets up for several players to "break out" onto the state-wide scene as there is certainly room for that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/4/2022 at 11:17 AM, DevilMayCare said:

Antonio Robinson Jr. (ATH, Beechwood)

2021: 54 tackles | 2 interceptions | 452 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns | 263 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns

Highlights: Jr. Season

Why he's here: He instantly jumped to the top of the list of in-state prospects after landing in NKY, by way of South Florida. The Wake Forest commit is a spectacular all-around athlete who can impact the game in several facets. In regards to Mr. Football, enrolling at Beechwood carries with it a double edged sword. The Tigers already have a two-way beast and potential darkhorse for the award in Mitchell Berger. But it also keeps his visibility high, as Beechwood is yet again a state championship favorite. And bringing another ship back to Fort Mitchell would be a great addition to a Mr. Football resumé.

This is an interesting one to follow. In the past, voters for Mr. Football and Mr. Basketball have not embraced voting for kids who live across the state line - even when those kids lived physically closer to their respective school than most of the in-state kids on the list of award finalists (see Rondale Moore and CJ Fredrick).

I wonder what the Mr. Football voter response would be to a kid coming in from out of state and only playing one year - especially when he's A) already committed to play college a non-Kentucky school and B) one of those people from northern Kentucky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Glad to see Carbon on the list as 5 more to remember.  If he can stay healthy he could be poised to have a huge breakout season for the Devils.  He is a great safety but took his offensive game to another level last year for 681 yards on just 69 carries and 12 TDS while adding another 103 yds on just 6 catches with 2 more TDs.  If he can stay healthy and the Devils give him enough touches then the numbers he could put up would at least get him in the conversation. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/9/2022 at 4:38 PM, ApolloFan98 said:

Glad to see Carbon on the list as 5 more to remember.  If he can stay healthy he could be poised to have a huge breakout season for the Devils.  He is a great safety but took his offensive game to another level last year for 681 yards on just 69 carries and 12 TDS while adding another 103 yds on just 6 catches with 2 more TDs.  If he can stay healthy and the Devils give him enough touches then the numbers he could put up would at least get him in the conversation. 

Carbon's place in this conversation would be more prominent if not for the injury last year. His stock could rise quickly if he has a hot start to the season.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using the site you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use Policies.