One of the biggest individual honors a high school football player can receive is Mr. Football USA, the title bestowed upon the nation’s most outstanding player each fall by ESPNHS.
Below is a look at the top candidates in the chase for the 2011 Mr. Football USA. Every Tuesday during the regular season we’ll update the totals of many leading contenders as well as examine some of the new names that are emerging as strong contenders.
RB Johnathan Gray, Aledo (Aledo, Texas)
This week: Gray ran for six touchdowns (4, 1, 40, 70, 15 and 47 yards) and 243 yards on just 14 carries as Aledo thrashed Boswell (Fort Worth, Texas) 73-30 on Friday night.
Season totals: 128 carries for 1,804 yards and 33 touchdowns rushing, 13 catches for 218 yards and three scores receiving; Aledo is 5-2
Stock – Slightly Up: Gray’s continues to accumulate single-season and career stats that jump off the page. He now has scored 1,028 career points, placing him No. 3 all-time nationally and just 48 points (eight touchdowns) behind No. 2 on the list, former NC State running back T.A. McLendon.
WR Dorial Green-Beckham, Hillcrest (Springfield, Mo.)
This week: The nation’s No. 1 ranked WR by ESPNU had his seventh 100-yard game of the year Friday, catching five passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns in Hillcrest's 49-0 rout of West Plains (West Plains, Mo.).
Season Totals: 78 catches for 1,493 yards and 15 touchdowns; team is 7-1
Stock – Same: Green-Beckham is now up to 5,617 career receiving yards and is just 191 yards away from breaking the national career receiving yardage record held by former Evangel Christian (Shreveport, La.) WR Abram Booty.
DE Mario Edwards Jr., Denton Ryan (Denton, Texas)
This week: Edwards, the top-ranked recruit nationwide by ESPNU, had seven tackles, a sack and a forced fumble in Ryan's easy 42-20 win over The Colony (Colony, Texas).
Season totals: 9.5 sacks and four forced fumbles; team is 7-0 and No. 41 in the POWERADE FAB 50
Stock – Same: Edwards and the Raiders seem to have it on cruise control right now, gliding through district play. He'll need to step up his production when it counts in the playoffs to be a serious contender.
QB Alec Morris, Allen (Allen, Texas)
This week: Morris is now throwing less with Missouri-bound RB Jonathan Williams' return to the lineup from injury, but is still producing. He hit 17-of-24 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns with a fifth score and 57 yards rushing in Allen's 40-28 win over Plano West (Plano, Texas).
Season totals: 124-of-196 for 1,878 yards and 25 touchdowns with one interception, 154 yards and four touchdowns rushing; team is 7-0 and No. 3 in the FAB 50.
Stock – Same: Morris leads an offense that is now averaging nearly 43 points a game against top level 5A competition in Texas.
RB Rushel Shell, Hopewell (Aliquippa, Pa.)
This week: The nation’s third-ranked back committed to Pitt on Friday morning and then had another big outing Friday night, rushing 39 times for 254 yards and a touchdown in a tough 34-23 loss to Central Valley (Monaca, Pa.) on ESPNU.
Season totals: 188 carries for 1,316 yards and 12 touchdowns, one receiving touchdown; team is 4-3, missed one game with a concussion.
Stock – Same: Shell put on a show on ESPNU and is still averaging over 200 yards per contest, but he'll need to put Hopewell on his back the rest of the year to stay in this race.
ON THE RADAR
ATH Stefon Diggs, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.)
This week: Diggs had a short but productive night in Good Counsel's 35-0 rout of Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.) on Saturday, catching two passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns.
Season totals: 28 receptions for 620 yards and seven touchdowns, 65 yards and one touchdown rushing, one punt return touchdown, 22 tackles and three interceptions; team is 7-0 and ranked No. 6 in the FAB 50.
Stock – Same: Diggs continues to make the most with limited opportunities, but his overall numbers are struggling to keep up with some others on this list.
RB D.J. Foster, Saguaro (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
This week: Foster had another huge night Friday, rushing 11 times for 219 yards and five scores while also catching two passes for 67 yards and a score as Saguaro crushed Coronado (Scottsdale, Ariz.) 56-0.
Season Totals: 115 carries for 1,588 yards and 33 touchdowns, 187 yards and two touchdowns receiving, one kick return touchdown and a fumble return touchdown; team is 7-1.
Stock – Slightly Up: Foster continues to wow with his big numbers. A showdown with 5A power and West Region ranked Chaparral looms in two weeks.
QB Gunner Kiel, Columbus East (Columbus, Ind.)
This week: Kiel and Columbus East finished strong in its final home game of the regular season, punishing North Lawrence (Bedford, Ind.) 54-14. Kiel completed just 5-of-15 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown, but ran for 36 yards and four touchdowns.
Season Totals: 89-of-164 passing for 1,718 yards and 20 touchdowns with two interceptions, with 331 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns; team is 8-1.
Stock – Slightly Down: Kiel didn't cap off the regular season with a flourish, but now the important games start as Columbus East hosts a Class 4A opening round state playoff game this week.
RB Trey Williams, Dekaney (Spring, Texas)
This week: Williams was back at it on Friday night in a 41-39 win over Tomball (Tomball, Texas) after a "down" week of 139 yards, rushing 23 times for 321 yards and three touchdowns (62, 24 and 67 yards) in the shootout victory.
Season totals: 173 carries for 1,601 yards and 17 touchdowns with two receiving touchdowns; team is 6-1.
Stock – Slightly Up: We've said it before, if there was no Johnathan Gray, Williams would be the talk of Texas high school football right now, averaging nearly 10 yards per carry and close to 230 yards per contest.
QB Jameis Winston, Hueytown (Hueytown, Ala.)
This week: Winston had one of the biggest nights of his senior year Friday, hitting 25-of-29 passes for 320 yards and four touchdowns while adding another rushing score as Hueytown pounded John Carroll Catholic (Birmingham, Ala.) 57-15.
Season Totals: 112-of-167 for 1,522 yards and 20 touchdowns with four interceptions, 694 yards and 14 touchdowns rushing, one touchdown reception; team is 9-0.
Stock – Slightly Up: One week after rushing for 160 yards and three scores, Winston showed the other side of his game by picking a defense apart with his arm. He is the total package under center.
RB T.J. Yeldon, Daphne (Daphne, Ala.)
This week: Yeldon, the nation’s No. 8 rated back by ESPNU and an Auburn commit, finally had a big workload night after a few light weeks and made the most of it, rushing 35 times for a season-high 359 yards and four touchdowns (35, 5, 1 and 85 yards) as Daphne topped region rival Fairhope (Fairhope, Ala.) 45-24.
Season totals: 133 carries for 1,547 yards and 21 touchdowns rushing, one receiving score; team is 8-0 and ranked No. 27 in the FAB 50.
Stock – Up: This is what Yeldon can do when a game is competitive and he gets to play all four quarters. He could pile up some serious numbers come playoff time if Daphne gets to the state title game as they did in 2010.
SMALL SCHOOL STAT KINGS
QB Neal Burcham, Greenbrier (Greenbrier, Ark.)
This week: Burcham had the biggest game of his senior year thus far Friday night, as he hit 34-of-46 passes for 535 yards and eight touchdowns plus a rushing touchdown to lead Greenbrier to a 62-35 win over Siloam Springs (Siloam Springs, Ark.), a team they lost to 44-29 in 2010.
Season Totals: 146-of-209 for 2,435 yards and 30 touchdowns with two interceptions and three rushing touchdowns; team is 7-0
Stock – Up: Burcham is having as efficient and productive of a year as any quarterback in high school football and seems to keep topping himself every week..
QB Maty Mauk, Kenton (Kenton, Ohio)
This week: Like Burcham, Mauk continues to put up video game numbers against small school competition. The Missouri commit accounted for 600 yards of total offense on the button this week in a 70-33 beatdown of Celina (Celina, Ohio). Mauk hit 33-of-48 passes for 497 yards and eight scores while also rushing 13 times for 103 yards and two scores.
Season Totals: 220-of-323 for 3,016 yards and 38 touchdowns with eight interceptions, 124 carries for 936 yards and 12 touchdowns; team is 8-0
Stock – Up: Mauk's numbers continue to pile up and he's seemingly breaking a new record each week. He now has 190 career touchdown passes, surpassing the previous national record of 185 by former Florida star Chris Leak.
Disagree with this list or have suggestions/comments of who should be added for consideration? Email Brian Stumpf at email@example.com, hit him up on Twitter - @BrianStumpfESPN or post in the comments section below.