By Max Haldeman:
A year ago, I compiled a list of the best high school football players in the midstate and formed a “Dream Team”. When I sat down to form the 2017 “Dream Team”, I had forgotten how difficult it was to take a pool of so many talented high school football players and narrow it down to the best at their position. Never mind the fact that some of these players line up and play a snap on nearly all 11 positions on the field every season.
Here we are in August of 2017, with high school football right around the corner, and it’s time to get to know this year’s group of top end talent.
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
John Bachus – Giles County Bobcats – 6’0” 210 – Senior
Bachas threw for over 3,300 yards and 29 touchdowns in his Junior season at Giles County. He will look to best his already impressive numbers from a year ago for his Senior season as he recently committed to UT-Martin.
Master Teague – Blackman Blaze – 5’10” 210 – Senior
Teague, committed to Ohio State, was a second team All-Midstate selection last season where he ran the ball 242 times for over 2,000 yards and totaled 24 touchdowns. Teague will look to carry the Blaze to the state playoffs once again in 2017, and is a candidate to take home the Mr. Football award this winter.
Camron Johnson – Brentwood Academy Eagles – 6’1” 185 – Senior
The Vanderbilt commit had 46 catches for 789 yards and six touchdowns for the state champions from a year ago. He has been selected as a member of the All-Midstate team for each of the past 2 seasons and can dominate the game in all three phases.
Kendrell Scurry – Independence Eagles – 6’3” 185 – Junior
Scurry is receiving offers from the biggest names in college football thanks to his mix of size, speed, and skill. At 6’3”, Scurry can go up and get the ball with anyone in not only high school football, but at the next level. He totaled 58 catches and had nearly 1,000 yards and 16 touchdowns a year ago for the Eagles. Still a Junior, Scurry has a chance to solidify himself as the best Wide Receiver in the state by the end of his high school career if he continues to progress through two more seasons at Independence.
Max Wray – Franklin Rebels – 6’6” 290, Senior
Arguably the most highly touted player in the state of Tennessee for the 2018 class, Wray anchors the Rebels offensive line where they will look to repeat on a year where they accumulated over 370 yards per game in 2016. Wray, the Ohio State commit, was a first-team All-Midstate selection in 2016 and is poised for an even bigger 2017.
Maxwell Iyama – Siegel Stars – 6’5” 300 – Senior
Iyama, committed to play at South Carolina next season, has the size to be an impact player on the offensive line. He was a member of the All-Region team a year ago and will look to have a big year for the Stars in 2017.
Jackson Lampley – Montgomery Bell Academy Big Red – 6’4” 300, Junior
Lampley had a tremendous year in 2016 as a sophomore and earned his spot on the post season dream team a year ago. Lampley was a key component in the Big Red rushing attack in 2016, paving the way for the now Tennessee Volunteer running back, Ty Chandler.
Cole Mabry – Brentwood Bruins – 6’6” 265 – Senior
Mabry, the Notre Dame commit, was the anchor for the Bruins a season ago and will look to do the same in 2017. If he is able to add a few extra pounds to his 6’6” frame, he will be even more of a force than he was a season ago.
Tanner Anonutti – Ensworth Tigers – 6’5” 260 – Senior
Anonutti will play at the next level as an offensive lineman, but will also line up at Tight End and play the defensive side of the ball at Ensworth. He just committed to play next year at the University of Tennessee and has shown his athleticism and versatility being able to line up on both sides of the ball and multiple positions on each side.
Jaylon King – Ensworth Tigers – 6’0” 170 – Senior
Jaylon King is one of the top players in the midstate coming into 2017, as he looks to best his 2016 totals in both passing (1,412) yards, rushing (376) yards, and touchdowns (18). King was selected as a member of the all-region team from a season ago and is committed to playing at Georgia Tech at the next level.
Aidan Raines—Mt. Juliet Bears—6’2” 190—Senior
Raines does a little bit of everything for the Bears and he had a very productive 2016 season for Mt. Juliet as he accumulated over 1,800 total yards and 20 touchdowns. He rushed for 1,261 yards and scored 16 touchdowns on the ground while scoring four more touchdowns as a wide receiver. This season, he will play safety on defense and is the holder on extra point attempts as well being the punt and kick returner as well.
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
Brant Lawless – Nashville Christian Eagles – 6’3” 285, Senior
Lawless was a first-team All-Midstate with 38 tackles in 2016, 14.5 of them for loss, with two sacks, three fumble recoveries, and a defensive score. The anchor of the Nashville Christian defensive line is poised to turn it loose in his senior year.
D’Andre Litaker – Riverdale Warriors – 6’2” 302 – Senior
Litaker, the transfer from Oakland high school, is recovering from a knee injury where he missed the entire 2016 season. He was a headache on the defensive front for the Patriots as a sophomore, and will look to do more of the same for the Warriors in 2017. Highly touted for his size and strength, Litaker will look to put it all together and live up to his 4-star recruitment as he heads east to Rocky Top after his Senior season.
Tavi McLean—Marshall County Tigers–6’3” 270—Senior
McLean was a disruptive force on the Tiger defensive line in 2016 as he posted 88 tackles, 13.5 of those were for loss and 3.5 sacks as the Tigers made the Class 4A Semifinals. He is versatile enough to play both Defensive tackle and end for Marshall County
Ani Izuchukwu – Davidson Academy Bears – 6’4” 230 – Junior
Izuchukwu’s season in 2016 was cut short after a season ending injury. Despite missing the majority of the season, Izuchukwu still had 4.5 tackles for loss for Davidson Academy. At 6’4” 230, Izuchukwu has the frame to grow and blossom into a highly touted recruit over the next 18 months before he signs his letter of intent to play at the next level.
Jack Sirmon – Brentwood Academy Eagles – 6’2” 225 – Senior
Sirmon is committed to playing for Chris Peterson next season at Washington as the do it all linebacker. He can tackle in open space, rush the QB, stop the run, and drop back in coverage, which makes him arguably the best linebacker in the state of Tennessee.
Kane Patterson – CPA Lions – 6’1” 200 – Junior
Patterson, just a Junior, is already receiving offers from multiple schools across the SEC. He was a presence all over the field, and had 75 total tackles and 18 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and five sacks. He will look to anchor the CPA linebacker unit this fall.
C.J. Grissim – Brentwood Bruins – 5’10” 190 – Senior
Grissim was the heart of the Bruins defense a year ago, totaling 143 tackles for Brentwood and was named the region 7-5A Defensive Player of the Year
Daniel Taylor – Brentwood Academy – 5’10” 175 – Senior
Taylor is committed to play for Ken Niumatalolo at the Naval academy next season. At 5’10” 175 soaking wet, Taylor does a good job with his positioning and speed to make up for his lack of size lining up against opposing wide receivers.
Rod Reed – Stratford Spartans – 5’11” 175 – Junior
Reed, last season as a sophomore, was selected to the all-region team. He led the Spartans with six interceptions and had two defensive touchdowns as well.
Adonis Otey – Blackman Blaze – 6’0” 175 – Junior
Otey, just a Junior, has interest from many schools across the southeast. He will also line up at Wide Receiver where he will use his athleticism and playmaking ability that he has when the ball is in his hands.
Jarek Campbell – Riverdale Warriors – 5’11” 195 – Senior
Campbell, who is currently committed to Louisville, also received offers from Kentucky, Memphis, Tennessee, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt as he 32 tackles for Riverdale last season.
Aaron Sears—Oakland Patriots—5’10” 160—Senior
Sears was “Mr. Automatic” for the Patriots in 2016 as he was perfect converting all 89 of his extra point attempts and was nine of 11 in field goal attempts with a long of 48 yards as he accounted for 116 total points.
Harrison Smith—Brentwood Academy Eagles—5’11” 170—Senior
Smith is a big weapon for the Eagles on the occasion that their high powered Offense punts as Harrison averaged 43 yards per punt in 2016.
Jimmyrious Parker – Pearl Cohn Firebirds – 5’7” 149
Parker, the smallest player on the Dream Team, might be the most versatile. He was a first-team All-Midstate selection from 2016 thanks to his contributions as a runner, pass catcher, and return man for the Firebirds as he had 1,779 yards of total offense. Parker averaged 27.2 yards per punt return and returned two for touchdiwns.
Bryce Wallace—Marshall County Tigers—5’11” 170—Junior
The younger brother of former Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace made a name for himself with a great sophomore campaign as he threw for 2,870 yards and 31 touchdowns to help lead the Tigers to the Class 4A Semifinals
Dontae Smith – Spring Hill Raiders – 5’10” 180 – Senior
Smith led the midstate in rushing in 2016 with over 2,200 yards and 21 touchdowns as a Junior. With just 204 carries on the season, he averaged over 10 yards per carry.
Jared McCray – Cane Ridge Ravens – 6’1” 180 – Senior
McCray led the Mid state in receiving with 54 catches for 1,187 yards and scored 14 touchdowns for the Ravens who had an undefeated regular season.
Trey Knox – Blackman Blaze – 6’4” 205 – Junior
Knox had 670 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns for the Blaze. Those numbers are even more impressive when you take into consideration that the Blaze have arguably the best running back in the state, Master Teague, lined up in the backfield as their workhorse.
Chandon Page – Pearl Cohn Firebirds – 6’2” 320 – Senior
Last but certainly not least, Page rounds out the 2017 first-team on the offensive line. Page also plays on the defensive side of the ball as a run stopping nose tackle, but he was awarded as the Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2016 for Region 5-4A.
Jordan McCoy – Brentwood Academy Eagles – 6’0” 245 – Senior
McCoy will anchor the Eagles offensive line in 2017 as they look to repeat on one of the best offensive units in the state.
Joe More – CPA Lions – 6’5” 270 – Senior
More committed to Navy and received offers to play collegiate football at Army, Austin Peay, Cornell, Navy, Richmond, and Samford and will look to anchor the Lions offensive front in 2017.
Trey Greene—Stewarts Creek Red Hawks—6’5” 305—Senior
Greene is a throwback lineman who loves to run block which fits the Red Hawk Wing T offense. His physicality sets him apart from other linemen and when the Red Hawks need a big gain in the run game, they always find it behind Greene on the left side.
Tymon Mitchell – Franklin Road Academy Panthers – 6’3” 290 – Senior
Mitchell is just as destructive on the defensive side of the ball as he is on the offensive side. He has received offers to play at iowa State, Louisville, Purdue and Vanderbilt.
Austin Amor—Grace Christian Academy-Franklin
Amor was an offensive juggernaut for the Lions in 2016 as he generated 3,119 yards of total offense as he passed for 2,076 yards and 21 touchdowns while running for 1,043 yards and 17 additional touchdowns on the ground.
Alontae Taylor – Coffee County Raiders – 6’0” 185 – Senior
Taylor is dynamic when he gets the ball in his hands. Listed as an Athlete at the next level, Taylor will line up primary as a quarterback where he will run the wildcat. He has rushed for over 1,300 yards in his first three seasons at Coffee County, while collecting 18 catches for 168 yards and 1 touchdown as well. His future in football is at any position where the offense can put the ball in his hands.
Joseph Anderson – Siegel Stars – 6’4” 265 – Junior
Anderson, just a Junior, is arguably one of the most highly touted players in the 2019 class. He has offers from the top programs in college football and will be a transcendent talent for the Stars for two more seasons.
Jackson Hannah – Montgomery Bell Academy Big Red – 6’2” 220 – Junior
Hannah, a 4-star prospect with offers from the biggest names in the SEC, had 37.5 tackles in his 2016 season as a sophomore for MBA. He also registered 4 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss. Hannah will need to add some size if he wants to make it at the next level but has plenty of time to do so over the next two seasons for the Big Red.
Dewayne Johnson – Cane Ridge Ravens – 6’2” 207 – Senior
The Ravens defense has stars all over the field, and Johnson is absolutely included in that group. He will look to be a leader on the Ravens defense that will look to best their 2016 state quarterfinals finish.
Joseph Honeysucker – Hillsboro Burros – 6’3” 220 – Junior
Honeysucker is not only a member of the 2017 Dream Team, but he is on the 2017 All Name Team as well. At 6’3”, Honeysucker has the size to be a beast on the defensive front wherever he decides to play at the next level.
Michael Jackson—Waverly Tigers—5’8” 180- Senior
Jackson was named the region 4-2A Defensive Player of the Year after posting 91 tackles, 17 of those were for loss and forced two fumbles as he helped the Tigers make the Class 2A Semifinals.
Jahsun Bryant – Cane Ridge Ravens – 6’3” 215 – Senior
Bryant is another Raven defender to make the list. He had 89 tackles in 2016 and will look to play with the rest of the Ravens defense filled with stars.
Tony Thompson—Mt. Juliet Bears—6’3” 220—Senior
Thompson was everywhere in 2016 for the Bears as he made 94 tackles including 12 for loss, he also intercepted four passes returning two for touchdowns and blocked five kicks playing special teams.
Jevan Robertson—Independence Eagles—5’9” 155-Senior
Robertson was an all region pick for the Eagles Last season as he was in on 109 tackles while intercepting four passes for Independence.
Bradley Miller—DeKalb County Tigers—5’11” 170–Senior
Miller was the definition of a ball Hawk for the Tiger Defense in 2016 as he made 50 tackles, forced three fumbles and intercepted a mid state high eight passes for DeKalb.
Eric Carter – Maplewood Panthers – 6’0” 175 – Senior
Carter did it all on the back end for the Panthers a year ago. As a safety, he’s the last line of defense and made 100 tackles, two interceptions one for a touchdown, a fumble recovery and also had two sacks for Maplewood.
Rush Lansdell—Columbia Academy Bulldogs—6’2” 175–Junior
Lansdell is your typical coaches son as he is fundamentally sound, really understands the game and is always in the right place to make a play. In 2016, Lansdell made a ton of plays as he registered 72 tackles and intercepted five passes for Columbia Academy.
Thomas Burks—Blackman Blaze—6’0” 175—Senior
Burks has been a weapon for the Blaze for the last three seasons starting for the Blaze as a Freshman. He was very steady for the Blaze in 2016 as he was 51 of 52 in converting extra points while hitting eight field goals as he had 75 points on the year.
Caleb Estes—Marshall County Tigers—5’9” 170
Estes is successful at both kicking and punting for Marshall County as he averaged 37 yards per punt for the Tigers who made the 4A Semifinals.
T.J. Sheffield – Independence Eagles – 5’10” 160 – Senior
Sheffield, committed to playing at the University of Tennessee, could have easily been on the First Team with his teammate, Scurry, if we did some shifting. The Tennessee commit was arguably the best offensive weapon for Independence a season ago while making an impact on Kickoff returns as well as he averaged 32.2 yards per kick return and even had an 87 yard Kickoff return for a touchdown.