Arkansas tight end Jeremy Sprinkle speaks during ...
Allen, Morgan honored, on their way to Arkansas
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/CARY JENKINS -- High School Players of the year: Will Francis of Harding Academy, Shaquille Hunter of Jackson City, L. J. Wallace of Pulaski Academy, Austin Allen of Fayetteville, Drew Morgan of Greenwood and Dontrell Brown of Stuttgart.
LITTLE ROCK Fayetteville’s Austin Allen and Greenwood’s Drew Morgan were honored Friday as the top football players in the state’s two largest classifications at the Little Rock Touchdown Club’s Awards Banquet at the Embassy Suites hotel in Little Rock.
That’s not all they have in common.
Allen, the Class 7A player of the year, and Morgan, the 6A player of the year, will be Arkansas Razorbacks teammates in the fall after they sign their national letters of intent Wednesday.
Allen, a quarterback, and Morgan, all-purpose player, led their high school teams to a run of state championships - two in a row for Allen and Fayetteville and three in a row for Morgan and Greenwood.
Morgan was committed to Arkansas State until Arkansas offered him a scholarship during a Dec. 3 visit to Fayetteville, one day before Bret Bielema was named Arkansas’ head coach.
“Coaches come and go, but sometimes you have to be selfish,” Morgan said, explaining his decision to be a Razorback.
Allen, who has been committed to Arkansas since last fall, will join his older brother Brandon, a redshirt sophomore quarterback, and father Bobby, who is now Arkansas’ director of high school relations after 15 years as an on field assistant.
“I’m excited about coming to play for Brett Bielema,” Austin Allen said. “He’s a great coach and I’m going to try and learn everything, and when I get my chance to start I want to be ready.”
Morgan, 6-0, 170, caught 83 passes for 1,110 yards and14 touchdowns and rushed 82 times for 764 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also returned a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns this past season.
Allen threw for 3,593 yards and 29 touchdowns as a senior and earned MVP honors after throwing for 198 yards and rushing for one touchdown in the Bulldogs’ 31-20 championship victory over Bentonville.
Arkansas Razorbacks running back Dennis Johnson was given the Paul Eells Award,which goes to a Razorback who exhibits perseverance, determination, courage and resolve in the face of difficult circumstances.
Johnson, who is in McKinney, Texas, preparing for the NFL Draft, wasn’t in attendance, but his stepfather Bernard Reams and high school coach Bill Keopple, who is now the head coach at Southern Arkansas, spoke on his behalf.
“I’m so honored and tickled, because this award comes from a great man who was a household name in Arkansas,” Reams said.
Johnson bounced back after sustaining a lower bowel injury in the second week of the 2010 season, which forced him to take a medical hardship.
Johnson, who finished as Arkansas’ all-time leader in kickoff return yardage as well as No. 2 all-time in all purpose yardage, came back to rush for 1,425 yards and 11 touchdowns, caught 49 passes for 415 yards and 4 touchdowns and returned a kickoff for a touchdown as a junior and senior.
“I remember when he was a feisty eighth-grader and he walked into the huddle and thought he was the coach,” Keopple said. “He and I had an attitude adjustment. I remember when Coach [Bobby] Petrino and Bobby Allen came to recruit him and they weren’t big on small running backs, but I told them he was strong and was fast and I had to work super hard on them to take him.”
Ryan Aplin was named MVP for Arkansas State after guiding the Red Wolves to consecutive Sun Belt Conference championships and a victory over Kent State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl.
Aplin was in Allen, Texas, preparing for an all-star game today. Defensive coordinator John Thompson accepted on his behalf.
“It’s an honor to represent Ryan Aplin,” Thompson said. “Gus [Malzahn] and Hugh [Freeze] should cut him a check because he allowed us to win a lot of football games.”
Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson was named the Razorbacks’ MVP but also wasn’t in attendance.
Little Rock Touchdown Club Award winners
DIVISION I BCS MVPS ARKANSAS Tyler Wilson ARKANSAS STATE Ryan Aplin
DIVISION I FCS MVPS UCA Wynrick Smothers UAPB Ben Anderson
PAUL EELLS AWARD Dennis Johnson, Arkansas
DIVISION II MVPS HENDERSON STATE Maxie Graham and Kevin Rodgers SOUTHERN ARKANSAS Don Unamba OUACHITA BAPTIST Brett Reece HARDING Kelvin Martin ARKANSAS-MONTICELLO Jamal Nixon ARKANSAS BAPTIST Jimmy Jean ARKANSAS TECH Tanner Marsh
NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF YEAR Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
COACH OF THE YEAR Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
HIGH SCHOOL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR 7A Austin Allen, Fayetteville 6A Drew Morgan, Greenwood 5A L.J. Wallace, Pulaski Academy 4A Dontrell Brown, Stuttgart 3A Will Francis, Harding Academy 2A Shaquille Hunter, Junction City
COACHES OF THE YEAR 7A Daryl Patton, Fayetteville 6A Rick Jones, Greenwood 5A Dave King, Batesville 4A Jeremie Burns, Ozark 3A Roddy Mote, Harding Academy 2A David Carpenter, Junction City
Sports, Pages 28 on 02/02/2013