By Megan Kuharich
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It is the most-prized high school football award an individual can receive.
On Nov. 28, the Tennessee Titans partnered with the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) to host the Mr. Football Awards at Nissan Stadium.
More than 400 people, including the honorees, their families, coaches, school administrators and members of the media from across the state attended the event on Monday.
The Titans have been a sponsor of the Mr. Football Awards since 2007 but officially started hosting the ceremony at Nissan Stadium in 2015.
"We are very excited and appreciative about being involved with the Tennessee Titans for the 10th consecutive year," said Bernard Childress, Executive Director of the TSSAA. "They have helped make the recognition of the 68 student-athletes who were named semi-finalists, and the eventual 34 finalists, their families, and schools possible. The sponsorship of the Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Awards and numerous contributions to high schools across the state since the team moved to Tennessee have meant a great deal to the member schools of the TSSAA."
The awards were presented to the top back and lineman in each of the eight classifications of the TSSAA for a total of 34 finalists and 16 winners. High school head coaches and media members nominated the finalists, while a committee of statewide sports writers selected the winners based on performance on and off the field during the 2016 regular season.
"This is such an outstanding honor for all 34 of the young men recognized today at the Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Awards," Childress added. "They were here not only due to their athletic ability that they displayed on the field throughout the season, but just as much for their outstanding character and academic achievements."
Winners included: Preston Rice, Wayne County (1A back); Josh Silvey, Greenback (1A lineman); Cordarrian Richardson, Trezevant (2A back); Alex Kirkendoll, Marion County (2A lineman); Tykee Kellogg, Alcoa (3A back); Jacob Phillips, East Nashville (3A lineman); Amari Rodgers, Knox Catholic (4A back); Cade Mays, Knox Catholic (4A lineman); Tee Higgins, Oak Ridge (5A back); Trevis Hopper, Memphis Central (5A lineman); Jacoby Stevens, Oakland (6A back); Aubrey Miller, Whitehaven (6A lineman); Eric Gray, Lausanne (DII-A back); Trey Smith, University School of Jackson (DII-A lineman); Ty Chandler, Montgomery Bell Academy (DII-AA back) and Dorian Hopkins, Memphis University School (DII-AA lineman).
Tennessee's top high school football players were recognized at the 2016 Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Awards at Nissan Stadium. (Donn Jones Photography.com)