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: The nation's top-rated running back and 2010 ESPNHS Mr. Football USA carried 16 times for 189 yards and four touchdowns while also totaling 72 yards on two receptions in Aledo's 59-14 rout of Brewer (Fort Worth, Texas).
Season totals: 197 carries for 2,430 yards and 48 touchdowns rushing, 18 catches for 418 yards and four scores receiving; Aledo is 8-2
Stock – Same: Gray is now 17 touchdowns and 122 points behind the all-time high school leaders in those two categories, former Michigan RB Mike Hart, who prepped at Onondaga (Nedrow, N.Y.). Aledo opens its postseason Thursday with Dunbar (Fort Worth, Texas) on Thursday, hoping for a third straight state title.
WR Dorial Green-Beckham, Hillcrest (Springfield, Mo.)
This week: The nation’s No. 1 ranked WR by ESPNU had his lowest yardage-total of the year Friday night, catching six passes for just 63 yards but two scores, also rushing for 22 yards as Hillcrest won its first round playoff encounter with St. Clair (St. Clair, Mo.) 42-14.
Season Totals: 104 catches for 2,049 yards and 23 touchdowns, one rushing touchdown; team is 10-1
Stock – Same: Green-Beckham has reached two pretty lofty landmark this fall with 100+ catches and now 2,000+ receiving yards.
QB Maty Mauk, Kenton (Kenton, Ohio)
This week: Mauk had perhaps the greatest game in his illustrious career Friday, completing 27-of-29 passes for 504 yards and a state-record nine touchdowns, while also rushing for 85 yards in a 74-22 destruction of Wellington (Wellington, Ohio) in a Division IV opening round playoff game.
Season Totals: 301-of-420 for 4,248 yards and 57 touchdowns with eight interceptions, 164 carries for 1,289 yards and 16 touchdowns; team is 11-0
Stock – Up: Mauk surpassed his older brother Ben’s national record of 17,364 passing yards on his third completion of the game, and now holds that mark with 17,700 yards and counting. Mauk also holds national records for attempts, completions and touchdown passes.
QB Alec Morris, Allen (Allen, Texas)
This week: Morris completed 19-of-28 passes for 382 yards and four touchdowns with one interception and 34 yards with two scores on the ground as Allen closed out the regular season by pounding Flower Mound (Flower Mound, Texas) 59-30.
Season totals: 176-of-282 for 2,819 yards and 33 touchdowns with six interceptions, 289 yards and eight touchdowns rushing; team is 10-0 and No. 3 in the FAB 50.
Stock – Slightly Up: Morris accounted for six scores in one of his better outings over the past month, but now the stakes raise with the Eagles opening Class 5A Division I playoff action this coming week.
RB T.J. Yeldon, Daphne (Daphne, Ala.)
This week: Yeldon, the nation’s No. 7 rated back by ESPNU and an Auburn commit, ran 33 times for 177 yards and four scores as Daphne outscored Opelika (Opelika, Ala.) 49-31 in an Alabama Class 6A playoff opener.
Season totals: 210 carries for 2,093 yards and 30 touchdowns rushing, 11 receptions for 157 yards and two scores, one touchdown pass; team is 10-1
Stock – Slightly: So far, so good for Yeldon and Daphne on their quest for a second-straight Class 6A state title. A trip to preseason FAB 50 ranked Prattville (Prattville, Ala.) is up next.
ON THE RADAR
RB Mike Davis, Stephenson (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
This week: Davis ran 39 times for 212 yards and two touchdowns, including what appeared to be a game-winner from four yards out with 29 seconds left, in a heart-breaking 50-49 loss to rival and FAB 50 No. 24 M.L. King (Lithonia, Ga.).
Season totals: 197 carries for 1,786 yards and 21 touchdowns; team is 9-1 and ranked No. 50 in the POWERADE FAB 50
Stock – Same: Davis was the bellcow Stephenson needed late to retake the lead, and the Jags will need to continue to ride him in a challenging Class AAAAA opening round matchup with state power Lowndes (Valdosta, Ga.).
DE Mario Edwards Jr., Denton Ryan (Denton, Texas)
This week: Edwards, the top-ranked recruit nationwide by ESPNU, had very few pass rush opportunities in Denton Ryan's 35-10 win over Little Elm (Little Elm, Texas), as the Lobos attempted just one pass in the entire game.
Season totals: 12.5 sacks and four forced fumbles; team is 10-0 and No. 34 in the POWERADE FAB 50
Stock – Slightly Down: Ryan capped an undefeated regular season for the third time in school history, but Edwards is just a 1/2 sack ahead of his output from his junior season a year ago and will need to shine in the playoffs to stay in consideration.
QB Gunner Kiel, Columbus East (Columbus, Ind.)
This week: Kiel hit 8-of-16 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns as Columbus East rolled past Franklin County (Brookville, Ind.) in the Class 4A, Sectional 15 final, 34-12.
Season Totals: 108-of-201 passing for 2,127 yards and 25 touchdowns with three interceptions, with 395 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns in 11 games; team is 11-1.
Stock – Same: Kiel and his teammates will now face 7-5 Evansville Central (Evansville, Ind.) in a Class 4A quarterfinal.
RB Rushel Shell, Hopewell (Aliquippa, Pa.)
This week: The Pitt commit ran 32 times for 268 yards and four touchdowns as Hopewell ran over Indiana (Indiana, Pa.) 41-13 in a first round Class AAA matchup.
Season totals: 273 carries for 2,033 yards and 24 touchdowns, one receiving touchdown in nine games; team is 7-3, missed one game with a concussion.
Stock – Slightly Up: Shell needs 229 yards to break the career rushing record of 9,027 yards in Pennsylvania and his team will need everyone of them to knockoff 10-0 Franklin Regional (Murrysville, Pa.) in a playoff second round matchup this week..
RB Trey Williams, Dekaney (Spring, Texas)
This week: Williams had a second-straight 300-yard outing Friday, rushing 35 times for 304 yards and touchdowns of 79, 6, 78 and 6, but it wasn't enough as Westfield (Spring, Texas) outlasted Dekaney 38-31.
Season totals: 252 carries for 2,420 yards and 29 touchdowns with two receiving touchdowns; team is 8-2.
Stock – Slightly Up: Dekaney will play in the playoffs this year for the first time in school history, opening action in the Texas Class 5A Division II bracket Saturday versus College Park (The Woodlands, Texas).
QB Jameis Winston, Hueytown (Hueytown, Ala.)
This week: Winston completed 9-of-17 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 92 yards in a 36-0 whitewashing of LeFlore (Mobile, Ala.).
Season Totals: 141-of-211 for 2,035 yards and 24 touchdowns with five interceptions, 963 yards and 16 touchdowns rushing, one touchdown reception; team is 12-0.
Stock – Same: Winston is nearing 1,000 yards rushing and will try to extend the Gophers' season this week against 10-1 Eufaula (Eufaula, Ala.) in a 5A second round matchup.
MOVING OFF THE TRACKER
QB Neal Burcham, Greenbrier (Greenbrier, Ark.)
Comments: Burcham suffered a torn ACL Thursday night as Greenbrier was upset by rival Vilonia (Vilonia, Ark.) 37-26. Burcham, who committed to SMU earlier in the week, will unfortunately miss the playoffs and also Greenbrier's basketball season as well recovering from the injury.
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.