Spanish Fort’s Tyler Johnston was named the 34th recipient of the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Mr. Football Award during the ASWA’s annual Player of the Year Awards luncheon Wednesday of last week in Montgomery.
Johnston, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior quarterback who has verbally committed to UAB, threw for 3,619 yards during the 2015 season, completing 193 passes for 39 touchdowns. He also ran the ball 129 times for 750 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was also 35-0 as a starter and led Spanish Fort to state championships in 2013 and 2015.
Johnston joins a long list of former Alabama high school football greats who have received the Mr. Football Award over the years and only time will tell as to how his career will pan out. While all of the past winners went on to play college ball, by my count only seven ever made it to the NFL, which just goes to show just how hard it is to make it to the pros.
Emma Sansom wide receiver Freddy Weygand, 1983’s Mr. Football, went on to play for the Chicago Bears after playing at Auburn. Jackson-Olin quarterback David Palmer, 1990’s Mr. Football, played for the Minnesota Vikings after a stellar college career at Alabama. Etowah running back Cadillac Williams, who won the Mr. Football Award in 2000, went on to play for the Tampa Bay Bucs and the St. Louis Rams after playing at Auburn.
Williamson quarterback JaMarcus Russell, 2002’s Mr. Football, played for the Oakland Raiders after playing for Nick Saban at LSU. Huffman offensive lineman Andre Smith, 2005’s Mr. Football, went on to play for the Cincinnati Bengals after starring at Alabama.
Foley wide receiver Julio Jones, who won the Mr. Football Award in 2007, went on to play for the Atlanta Falcons after an outstanding college career at Alabama. Daphne running back T.J. Yeldon, who won the Mr. Football Award in 2011, went on to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars after a standout career at Alabama.
As you might have imagined, most of the Mr. Football winners end up at either Alabama or Auburn. To date, nine Mr. Footballs have gone to Alabama – Hazlewood running back Pierre Goode (1985), Parker running back Robert Jones (1987), Palmer (1990), Etowah quarterback Freddie Kitchens (1992), Jeff Davis tight end Gorman Thornton (1995), Central-Tuscaloosa running back Antoneyo Williams (1996), Smith (2005), Jones (2007) and Yeldon (2011).
Eight former Mr. Football winners have gone to Auburn – Weygand (1983), Vigor running back Darrell Williams (1988), Blount defensive lineman DeMarco McNeil (1998), Williams (2000), Hewitt-Trussville quarterback Brandon Cox (2001), Leroy quarterback Clint Moseley (2008), Carver quarterback Jeremy Johnson (2012), Oxford running back Roc Thomas (2013) and Madison Academy running back Kerryon Johnson (2014).
Three past winners signed with UAB. Those players included West Jefferson running back Thomas Banks (1993), Alexandria running back Mac Campbell (1997) and Springville running back Cory Whisenant (1999).
Two past Mr. Football winners played at LSU – Homewood running back Robert Davis (1991) and Russell (2002). Two others went to Vanderbilt – Pike County quarterback Chris Nickson (2003) and Prattville quarterback Larry Smith (2006).
The eight other past winners ended up at various other schools. Vigor quarterback Tommy Compton (1982) went to North Alabama, and Gardendale wide receiver Roderick Green (1984) went to Southern Miss. Lee-Montgomery running back Larry Ware (1986) played at Georgia, and Pike County running back Steven Coleman went to Troy State (1989).
Shades Valley running back Dawud Rasheed (1994) played at Duke, and Hoover quarterback Jarod Bryant (2004) went on to the Naval Academy. Cherokee County quarterback Coty Blanchard (2009) signed with Jacksonville State, and, last but not least, Wetumpka quarterback Jamal Golden (2010) signed with Georgia Tech.