•Maurice Drew (De La Salle, Concord) -- For pure numbers, Maurice falls short of the others. But, of course, at De La Salle, Drew rarely gets to play much in the second half due to the team's dominance. It's when you look at what he's done in games against Long Beach Poly -- four TDs as a junior and 170 yards rushing as a senior -- and how many times he's brought back kicks for scores -- three punts and three kickoffs this year and eight for his career -- when you see just how much of a force he's been. Despite the limited playing time, Drew still had 1,500 yards rushing and 26 TDs this season.
•Terrell Jackson (Centennial, Corona) -- The state's leading scorer even though he's a junior, Jackson is going to be on every major college's wish list for next season. Jackson scored eight TDs in Centennial's title game, a 57-55 win in three overtimes over J.W. North of Riverside. That gave him 50 TDs for the season overall plus 2,344 yards rushing.
•Dennis Keyes (Birmingham, Lake Balboa) -- For two-way dominance, nobody was more effective this year in the L.A. City Section than Keyes. In fact, he's just been voted the L.A. City Player of the Year by a panel of sportswriters. Keyes rushed for 153 yards and had an interception in Birmingham's 35-7 win over Taft in the city title game.
•Jeff Kline (Los Alamitos) -- As a starting quarterback for the Griffins, Kline ended with a 17-1-2 record and led them to their first CIF Southern Section Div. I title. Kline's terrific outing in the final game vs. Mater Dei gave him more than 2,000 yards passing to go along with more than 500 yards rushing.
•Whitney Lewis (St. Bonaventure, Ventura) -- Called one of the top overall college prospects in the nation at the start of the season, Whitney backed it up, especially down the stretch. After scoring five TDs and compiling 359 total offense yards in a 40-14 romp past Westlake for the CIF Southern Section Div. IV title, Lewis ended the season with more than 1,000 yards in rushing and receiving. His final pass-catching totals were 65 receptions for 1,235 yards while he had 1,059 yards rushing. Lewis also wound up with 42 TDs scored.
•Michael Okwo (Mira Costa, Manhattan Beach) -- Michael has already been named as the Player of the Year by the South Bay Daily Breeze. His teams at Mira Costa went 25-2 over the past two seasons and his productivity on both sides of the ball were terrific. As a running back, Okwo rushed for 2,481 yards and scored 30 TDs. At linebacker, he had 130 tackles with seven sacks and an interception. For his career, Okwo had 6,014 yards rushing, 71 TDs scored and 400 total tackles.
•T.C. Ostrander (Menlo-Atherton, Atherton) -- After establishing himself as one of the nation's top quarterbacks last summer at the Student Sports Elite 11 Quarterback Camp, T.C. continued to excel this season. He led the Bears to the CIF Central Coast Section Div. II title and wound up with 3,033 yards through the air. His total of 44 TD passes for the season also is one of the best in Northern California history.
•Louis Rankin (Lincoln, Stockton) -- Enjoyed a breakout year for the Trojans and finished with 41 touchdowns and more than 2,200 yards rushing. He had the highest scoring total in the state for seniors from large schools. Rankin's size and speed also pushed him to the forefront as a college prospect, too. He'd be our pick as the Player of the Year for the entire Sac-Joaquin Section.
•Steve Smith (Taft, Woodland Hills) -- Smith broke the state career receptions record in the L.A. City final and ended with a career total of 271. He also is the state's all-time career leader for yardage. This year's stats were not as impressive as last year, but a mid-season injury was the primary reason for that. If Taft had won in the L.A. City final, Smith probably would have been L.A. City Player of the Year.
•Kyle Wright (Monte Vista, Danville) -- Gatorade has already named Kyle as its National Player of the Year, but that doesn't automatically make him a favorite to be our Mr. Football statewide winner. Last year, the Gatorade winner was St. Bonaventure's Lorenzo Booker, while the state's Mr. Football honor went to De La Salle lineman Derek Landri (we think we know more about California high school football than a p.r. firm in Chicago). Wright led the Mustangs to a 13-0 record and No. 6 state overall state ranking. He finished with 2,858 yards passing and had 37 TD passes compared to just four interceptions. Wright also was Monte Vista's second-leading rusher with more than 400 yards, including several long scoring runs.
Don't hesitate to give us your opinion of who should be Mr. Football State Player of the Year.
Also, please send in any nominations you may have for our annual all-state football teams. We choose first team overall, second team overall, first team medium schools, first team small schools plus an all-underclass team for top juniors and sophomores.
Be sure to include each player's year in school plus height and weight and other comparative statistics.
The complete all-state football teams also will be part of our premium subscription package. Please consider subscribing to all of our content. We'll be providing the same type of coverage for basketball (boys and girls) once all of our football postseason honors packages are all complete.
Send all info to: email@example.com. You can FAX to (209) 463-1219 or send via the mail to: 3230 N. El Dorado, Stockton CA 95204.