For the first time ever, FloridaHSFootball.com is giving fans a chance to vote for Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Coach of the Year in each classification as part of our 2021 All-State honors.
From now until 9 p.m. ET on Thursday, Feb. 17, you can vote once per hour, per device to keep the integrity of the poll legitimate and fair for everyone.
Here are the nominees for each category and polls for you to vote in for Class 3A. Please remember to click the share buttons above to share this with your friends and family so they can participate in the fan polls as well.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
RB Travis Bates, Sr., Tampa Berkeley Prep
Bates was part of the Buccaneers’ one-two punch up the gut with the ground game that led them to the first-ever state championship game appearance in school history. For his 2021 resume, Bates rushed for 1,857 yards and 21 touchdowns, the most for any player in Class 3A for the season as Berkeley Prep finished as the State Runner-Up.
RB Davion Gause, So., Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna
Only a sophomore, Gause had a major impact for the Lions in leading them back to the Class 3A State Championship rushing for 1,855 yards and scoring 17 touchdowns as part a balanced offensive attack against one of the toughest schedules in the state.
WR Nate Johnson, Jr., Clearwater Central Catholic
In a huge year as a junior, Johnson helped lead the Marauders to the Class 3A-Region 3 Championship game with an instrumental impact hauling in 48 catches for 915 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns. And to further add to his resume, Johnson also had 3 interceptions on defense, returning one for a touchdown.
QB Carter Smith, Fr., Fort Myers Bishop Verot
Only a freshman quarterback, but Smith proved that he is going to be one of the top Class of 2025 prospects with his breakout 2021 season. Smith went 150-of-261 passing for 2,020 yards, throwing 15 touchdowns, and having only two passes intercepted. He also added 585 yards rushing on the ground on 130 carries, scoring six more times for the Vikings while leading them to the Class 3A-Region 3 Semifinals.
UTL Xavier Townsend, Sr., Tampa Berkeley Prep
One of the top weapons the Buccaneers utilized and utilized often as part of their one-two gut punch on the ground during the season, Townsend truly did it all. First, let us start off with the ground game with 1,209 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns in 13 games played. He also added in 19 catches for 434 yards and 7 more touchdowns. And if that was not enough Townsend added in 2 punt return touchdowns and finished the season with 2,215 all-purpose yards. That effort helped Berkeley Prep reach their first-ever State Championship game in school history where the Buccaneers finished as the Class 3A State Runner-Up.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
DL Kenyatta Jackson, Sr., Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna
Part of a dynamic duo with Jamaal Johnson on the defensive line for the Lions, Jackson racked up 78 tackles on the season and collected up 18 sacks, helping Chaminade-Madonna reclaim the Class 3A State Championship to cap off the 2021 season.
DL Jamaal Johnson, Sr., Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna
The other part of the Lions’ dynamic duo on the defensive line, Johnson sometimes was forgotten about, but when he wanted you to know he was there on the field, he would surely let you know it. Johnson’s senior year campaign ended with 80 total tackles and 21.5 sacks, helping lead Chaminade-Madonna to the 2021 Class 3A State Championship.
DL Keon Keeley, Jr., Tampa Berkeley Prep
A phenomenal pass-rusher who will be getting looks in the Class of 2023, Keeley showed why he should be getting the attention he deserves after collecting up 65 total tackles, 35 tackles for loss, and 16.5 sacks in the best season in school history for the Buccaneers who finished the 2021 season as the Class 3A State Runner-Up.
LB Austin Redd, Sr., Fort Myers Bishop Verot
Redd led the state in Class 3A once again in tackling with 144 tackles while also adding 8 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions which 1 was returned for a touchdown, 3 sacks, and four quarterback hurries while leading the Vikings to the Class 3A-Region 3 Semifinals.
DB Carson Schiavello, Jr., Clearwater Central Catholic
Schiavello was a force to reckoned with as he met challenges head-on when teams tried to challenge him on the field, collecting up 68 tackles, intercepting a pass, and batting down 7 more passes an instrumental part of reaching the Class 3A-Region 3 Finals.
COACH OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
Dom Ciao, Tampa Berkeley Prep
Ciao, a Hillsborough and Florida coaching legend, guided the Buccaneers to their first-ever state championship game appearance after coming up one game short in 2020. The Buccaneers finished the 2021 season as the Class 3A State Runner-Up with a 12-1 overall record including a 9-0 record in the regular season.
Jarrod Hickman, Tallahassee Florida High
In 17 years as the head coach of the Seminoles, Hickman has been a consistent leader having guided his team to state semifinal appearances in two out of the last three seasons. Overall, this year Florida High went 11-2 overall only losing to eventual Class 1A State Champion Madison County in the regular season and falling to eventual Class 3A State Champion Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna in the state semifinals all while winning the Class 3A-Region 1 Championship.
Dameon Jones, Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna
Six years with Chaminade-Madonna and all six years have resulted in trips to the Class 3A State Championship Game with the Lion going 4-2 overall in those games including winning the 2021 title over Tampa Berkeley Prep. Jones had the Lions set up with one of the toughest schedules in the nation only losing once to Plantation American Heritage in Week 2 finishing the season with a 12-1 overall record.
Eric Kresser, Palm Beach Gardens Benjamin
Kresser, who was promoted to head coach back in 2017 after the retirement of the legendary Ron Ream, lead the Buccaneers to their deepest playoff run since 2001, reaching the Class 3A-Region 2 final before falling to Lakeland Christian. After a shortened 2020 season where the Buccaneers went 2-4, things were drastically better in 2021 with an 8-4 overall record.
Danny Williams, Lakeland Christian
Williams saw improvements of his Vikings teams from the 8-4 team In 2020, leading them to the Class 3A-Region 2 Championship, an undefeated regular season, and finishing the season 11-1 overall after falling to eventual Class 3A State Runner-Up, Tampa Berkeley Prep in the state semifinals. The 2021 appearance in the state semifinals was the third overall appearance in that round for Lakeland Christian.