GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With the final step to fully closing the 2017 season is almost here, we are proud to reveal our candidates for our Class 8A Player of the Year candidates. For Coach of the Year, five coaches are selected as candidates based upon the resume they had for the season. For Player of the Year, three players are selected on offense and three on defense as candidates for Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. One player from each classification of the six candidates total will be selected as the Overall Player of the Year for their respective classification.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Watch the first team reveal for all eight classifications including the award winners for Coach of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Overall Player of the Year, this Wednesday night on the FloridaHSFootball.com Gridiron Report on Varsity Sports Network, starting at 8:00 p.m. EST / 7:00 p.m. CST by clicking here.
Without further ado, here at the candidates for 2017 Class 8A Player of the Year:
• RB Lorenzo Lingard, Sr., Orange City University – The leading rusher in Class 8A this season, Lingard carried the ball 207 times for 1,701 yards, scoring 26 times throughout the season despite some weeks playing two games in a span of three to four days due to Hurricane Irma’s impacts.
• QB Isaias Castellon, Sr., Miami High – The top quarterback in Class 8A this season, Castellon, led his team to what most saw as the impossible in reaching the Class 8A state semifinals. During that run during the season, he threw for 2,853 yards and 34 touchdowns.
• WR Demarcus Harris, Jr., Vero Beach – The only wide receiver in Class 8A to break 1,000 yards receiving (1,001 to be exact), Harris was a big contributor in Vero Beach reaching the regional finals. He hauled in 43 catches while scoring 11 times for the Indians.
• LB Japerri Powell, Jr., Dr. Phillips – One half of the Powell twins for the Dr. Phillips’ state championship leading defense, Japerri had 146 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, nine sacks, four forced fumbles, two pass breakups, one blocked kick and scoring one defensive touchdown.
• LB Jaquarri Powell, Jr., Dr. Phillips – The other half of the Powell twins for Dr. Phillips, Jaquarri finished the season with 116 tackles, 28 tackles for loss, nine sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery for a touchdown and three pass breakupss.
• Tyler Davis, Jr., Apopka Wekiva – A monster on the defensive line for the Wekiva Mustangs, Davis was unapologetic to opposing quarterbacks taking them down 21 times on sacks, while collecting up 100 tackles and forcing three fumbles in a historic season for the 11-year school in Apopka.