Sunday, January 23, 2011

Texas Junior Named Mr. Football USA

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

I had a chance to watch Aledo (Texas) High junior Johnathan Gray's record-breaking performance in the Texas Class 4A Division II championship game.

To be honest, in 35-years of covering high school sports, I'm not sure I've ever witnessed a better individual performance. The 5-10, 195-pound running back rushed for 323 yards and eight touchdowns to lead Aledo to a 69-34 championship win over La Marque.

So this week when I heard that Gray was the first junior to ever be named ESPN Rise Mr. Football USA, I wasn't shocked.

Aside from the incredible championship game numbers, Gray, who's dad was a running back at Texas Tech, rushed for 3,221 yards and a single-season state record 57 rushing touchdowns, which broke the 57-year old mark that belonged to Kenneth Sims of Sugar Land High School.

With a year to go, Gray will now set his sights on the Texas record for career touchdowns and career rushing touchdowns. With 135 TDs so far, he needs 13 rushing scores and 12 overall to move to the top of the heap in the Lone Star State.

Gray will also continue to climb the state's yardage list. Coming into his senior season, Gray has rushed for 7,003 yards. He would need an incredible 4,240 yards to pass Hill, who holds the state and national record with 11,232 yards. The #2 guy, Tryalon Shead of Cayuga, is 3,295 yards in front of Gray.

Gray is the fifth Texas running back to win the award.

Here's a look at the all-time list...

2009 – Dillon Baxter, Mission Bay (San Diego, Calif.) QB-RB
2008 – Garrett Gilbert, Lake Travis (Austin, Texas) QB
2007 – Jacory Harris, Northwestern (Miami, Fla.) QB
2006 – Darren Evans, Warren Central (Indianapolis, Ind.) FB
2005 – Matt Stafford, Highland Park (Dallas, Texas) QB
2004 – Chase Daniel, Carroll (Southlake, Texas) QB
2003 – Jeff Byers, Loveland (Loveland, Colo.) OL-DL
2002 – Chris Leak, Independence (Charlotte, N.C.) QB
2001 – Vince Young, Madison (Houston, Texas) QB
2000 – Cedric Benson, Robert E. Lee (Midland, Texas) RB
1999 – D.J. Williams, De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) RB-LB
1998 – J.R. House, Nitro (Nitro, W. Va.) QB
1997 – Ronald Curry, Hampton (Hampton, Va.) QB-RB
1996 – Travis Henry, Frostproof (Frostproof, Fla.) RB
1995 – Tim Couch, Leslie County (Hyden, Ky.) QB
1994 – Chris Redman, Male (Louisville, Ky.) QB
1993 – Peyton Manning, Newman (New Orleans, La.) QB
1992 – James Allen, Wynnewood (Wynnewood, Okla.) RB
1991 – Steven Davis, Spartanburg (Spartanburg, S.C.) RB
1990 – Derrick Brooks, Washington (Pensacola, Fla.) LB
1989 – Robert Smith, Euclid (Euclid, Ohio) RB
1988 – Terry Kirby, Tabb (Tabb, Va.) RB
1987 – Carl Pickens, Murphy (Murphy, N.C.) WR
1986 – Emmitt Smith, Escambia (Pensacola, Fla.) RB
1985 – Jeff George, Warren Central (Indianapolis, Ind.) QB
1984 – Andre Rison, Northwestern (Flint, Mich.) WR-DB
1983 – Chris Spielman, Washington (Massillon, Ohio) LB
1982 – Rod Woodson, Snider (Fort Wayne, Ind.) WR-DB
1981 – Marcus Dupree, Philadelphia (Philadelphia, Miss.) RB
1980 – Bill Fralic, Penn Hills (Pittsburgh, Pa.) OL
1979 – Herschel Walker, Johnson County (Wrightsville, Ga.) RB
1978 – Eric Dickerson, Sealy (Sealy, Texas) RB
1977 – Marcus Allen, Lincoln (San Diego, Calif.) QB-RB
1976 – Freeman McNeil, Banning (Wilmington, Calif.) RB
1975 – Charles White, San Fernando (San Fernando, Calif.) RB
1974 – Billy Sims, Hooks (Hooks, Texas) RB
1973 – Earl Campbell, John Tyler (Tyler, Texas) RB
1972 – Tony Dorsett, Hopewell (Aliquippa, Pa.) RB
1971 – Dave Logan, Wheat Ridge (Wheat Ridge, Colo.) WR
1970 – Pat Haden, Bishop Amat (La Puente, Calif.) QB

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