Ohio Mr. Football Finalists Announced by OPSWA


Hates Particle Man

November 22, 2023

News Release – Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association
For Immediate Release – November 22, 2023

Ohio Mr. Football Finalists Announced by OPSWA
OPSWA members voting now through noon Monday; winner announced Thursday, November 30 in Canton

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association has announced the finalists for the 2023 Ohio Mr. Football Award. The winner will be announced next Thursday afternoon in Canton prior to the start of the OHSAA football state championships. The prestigious honor has been awarded since 1987.

The OPSWA district chairpersons and officers have selected eight outstanding finalists. The voting process is nearly identical to that used to determine the Heisman Trophy winner in college football. The 221 registered OPSWA members each get one vote, with voting ending at noon on Monday, Nov. 27.

Ohio’s Mr. Football was selected by the Associated Press from 1987-2016. Since 2017 it has been presented by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association.

The OPSWA All-Ohio teams will begin being released on Monday, December 4.

2023 Ohio Mr. Football Nominees
Finalists listed in alphabetical order.
OPSWA membership voting ends at noon Monday, November 27.
Winner announced at 4 p.m. on Thursday, November 30.

Marquise Davis, Cleveland Heights, RB, junior
Northeast Lakes District Offensive Player of the Year. Davis rushed for 2,087 yards and 32 touchdowns on 217 carries , becoming the focal point of their offense after graduating All-Ohio quarterback Darreon Fair. Davis made All-Ohio last year as a sophomore safety. This year, the Tigers (9-1) used him as a safety and linebacker hybrid in addition to that increased load on offense. He had 55 solo tackles, 11 assists, four TFL, one sack, three interceptions, four PBU and a defensive TD. Helped Cleveland Heights to the Greater Cleveland Conference title in its first year since moving from the Lake Erie League. Also is a Power Five prospect with scholarship offers from Ohio State, Alabama, Michigan, Miami (Fla.), Notre Dame and USC, to name a few.

Bradyn Fleharty, Hilliard Bradley, QB, senior
Central district Offensive Player of the Year, completed 130 of 245 passes for 2,114 yards with 23 TDs and 3 INTs and rushed for 975 yards on 149 carries (6.5 average) with 12 TDs in the regular season for a sixth-ranked 9-1 team that has since advanced to a state semifinal. A Yale commit (although he is considering recent offers from Air Force, others), Fleharty eclipsed all of the program’s passing records in just three seasons, Updated stats through 13 games for Mr. Football consideration: 170 of 329, 2,627 yards, 30 TDs, 5 INT passing, 186 carries for 1,166 yards and 14 TDs rushing. Updated stats through 14 games: 184 of 363, 2,798 yards, 32 TDs, 6 INT passing, 204 carries for 1,317 yards and 17 TDs rushing.

Jordan Marshall, Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller, RB, senior
Two-time GCL South Player of the Year followed a career- and league-best 1,951 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns as a junior with 1,202 yards and 14 TDs in nine regular-season games against a brutal schedule this fall. After rushing for 100-plus yards in nine games as a junior, Marshall surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark in eight of nine games this season – including a season-best 220 yards on 21 carries in the Crusaders’ 47-7 road victory against Cleveland St. Ignatius. The only game he did not surpass the century mark was in Moeller’s 28-21 loss at two-time defending state champion Lakewood St. Edward in Week 9, when he carried 17 times for 97 yards. In Moeller’s 38-7 win against Elder that clinched the outright title, Marshall carried 22 times for 113 yards and three scores. Marshall did not play in the regular-season finale. In his varsity career at Moeller, Marshall has rushed for 4,710 yards and 59 TDs. Marshall, who also has 14 TDs as a receiver, has surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark 28 times that included a career-best 263 yards on 28 attempts and four scores in a 28-7 win against St. Xavier in the state playoffs last season. The Michigan commit has led Moeller to back-to-back D-I state semifinal appearances.

Ryan Montgomery, Findlay, QB, junior
Holds full scholarship offers from Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Penn State and South Carolina. Montgomery is the nation's No. 15 quarterback and No. 214 overall recruit in the class of 2025, per the 247Sports rankings. He is the No. 9 ranked junior in Ohio. This season, Montgomery finished 228-of-333 for 3,018 yards with 35 touchdowns and five interceptions. That included a performance of 32-of-37 for 491 yards with 6 TDs at Sylvania Southview, breaking the single-game yardage record held by Ben Roethlisberger in 2000. In 2021 as a freshman, Montgomery was 173-of-299 for 2,420 yards with 29 TDs and 7 INTs. As a sophomore in 2022, he was 172-of-285 for 1,787 yards and 22 TDs and 5 INTs. Findlay is 22-13 in his three playoff seasons so far with him as the quarterback. Montgomery, who also won the QB accuracy challenge at Under Armour’s Future 50 camp in June, is the younger brother of Luke, also a high-profile recruit now at Ohio State as an offensive lineman.

Dominic Purcell, Columbus Bishop Watterson, LB, senior
A Navy commit and the Central District Defensive Player of the Year, Purcell made 132 tackles (31 TFL), 7 sacks, 3 INT (1 TD), 2 FR (1 TD), 7 PBU, 2 blocked punts in the regular season for a fourth-ranked 9-1 team that has since advanced to a regional final. Made first-team All-Ohio in 2022. Updated stats through 13 games (played only four quarters in first two rounds due to routs): 163 tackles (37 TFL), 8 sacks, 4 INT (1 returned for TD), 9 PBU, 2 FR (1 for TD), 2 blocked punts (1 for TD). Also has 4 TDs on just 5 receptions at TE. Updated stats through 14 games (played only four quarters in first two rounds due to routs): 173 tackles (108 solo), 38 TFL, 8 sacks, 4 INT (1 returned for TD), 9 PBU, 3 FF, 2 FR (1 for TD), 2 blocked punts (1 for TD). Also has 4 TDs on just 5 receptions at TE.

Rashid SeSay, West Muskingum, RB, senior
SeSay contributed in all three phases in setting a Muskingum Valley League record of 42 touchdowns in a season. He finished the regular season with 1,060 yards and 27 TDs on 136 carries, caught 28 passes for 454 yards with eight scores and threw a pair of TDs. He also returned a pair of kickoffs for TDs, made 55 tackles and had a pick six to highlight his all-around contributions. He also owns school records for career rushing TDs (40), career receiving TDs (19) and total career TDs (63). He finished with 2,356 career rushing yards, 7.2 yards per carry, and 1,430 receiving yards.

Jack "Poochie" Snyder, Canton South, QB, senior
Entered regional final completing 73 percent of his passes for 3,288 yards, 36 touchdowns and three interceptions. Also had rushed for 1,524 yards at 11.0 a carry and 15 touchdowns. Second straight season of 3,000 yards passing/1,000 yards rushing. Third straight season of at least 35 touchdowns passing. Stark County's career passing leader in yards (10,670) and touchdowns (118), with both of those marks ranking top 13 in Ohio history according to OHSAA unofficial records. Also career rushing totals of 2,906 yards and 43 touchdowns. Has 14-0 Canton South in state semifinal for first time in program history. Also led South to first 10-0 regular season in school history. Committed to Division I FCS Sacred Heart University in Connecticut.

Danny Stoddard, Medina, QB, senior
Led Bees to regional final appearance and 10-4 record. Completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 4,497 yards, 50 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. Rushed for 870 yards and 13 touchdowns on 160 carries. Career passing: 9,730 yards and 111 touchdowns. Career rushing: 1,591 yards and 26 touchdowns. College offers from Maine, Eastern Illinois, Dayton and Findlay. Last year's Ohio Division I Offensive Co-Player of the Year.

Information about the OPSWA is available at: https://www.ohsaa.org/news/OPSWA

Ohio Mr. Football Winners (including college choice):
1987: Buster Howe, RB-DB-K-P, Zanesville, Ohio State
1988: Robert Smith, RB, Euclid, Ohio State
1989: Robert Smith, RB, Euclid, Ohio State
1990: Bobby Hoying, QB, St. Henry, Ohio State
1991: Derek Kidwell, QB-DE, Fostoria, Bowling Green
1992: Marc Edwards, RB-LB, Norwood, Notre Dame
1993: Curtis Enis, RB-LB, Mississinawa Valley, Penn State
1994: Charles Woodson, DB-RB, Fremont Ross, Michigan
1995: Andy Katzenmoyer, LB, Westerville South, Ohio State
1996: Derek Combs, RB-DB-KR, Grove City, Ohio State
1997: Tony Fisher, RB, Euclid, Notre Dame
1998: Ryan Brewer, RB, Troy, South Carolina
1999: Bam Childress, DB-WR-KR, Bedford St. Peter Chanel, Ohio State
2000: Jeff Backes, RB-DB, Upper Arlington, Northwestern
2001: Maurice Clarett, RB, Warren G. Harding, Ohio State
2002: Ben Mauk, QB, Kenton, Wake Forest/Cincinnati
2003: Ray Williams, RB, Cleveland Benedictine, West Virginia
2004: Tyrell Sutton, RB, Archbishop Hoban, Northwestern
2005: Delone Carter, RB, Copley, Syracuse
2006: Brandon Saine, RB, Piqua, Ohio State
2007: Bart Tanski, QB, Mentor, Bowling Green
2008: Erick Howard, RB, North Canton Hoover, Akron
2009: Erick Howard, RB, North Canton Hoover, Akron
2010: Akise Teague, RB-DB-KR, Youngstown Ursuline, Cincinnati
2011: Maty Mauk, QB, Kenton, Missouri/Eastern Kentucky
2012: Mitch Trubisky, QB, Mentor, North Carolina
2013: Dante Booker Jr., LB, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, Ohio State
2014: Joe Burrow, QB, Athens, Ohio State, Louisiana State
2015: Keishaun Sims, RB-DB, Massillon Perry, Ashland University
2016: Michael Warren, RB, Toledo Central Catholic, University of Cincinnati
2017: Joey Baughman, QB, Wadsworth, Elon University
2018: Cade Stover, SS-RB, Lexington, Ohio State University
2019: Evan Prater, QB, Cincinnati Wyoming, University of Cincinnati
2020: Corey Kiner, RB, Cincinnati Roger Bacon, Louisiana State
2021: Drew Allar, QB, Medina, Penn State
2022: Lamar Sperling, RB, Akron Archbishop Hoban, Buffalo
Previous Finalists (alphabetical order, winners in bold)

  • Darreon Fair, Cleveland Heights, QB
  • CJ Hester, Wyoming, RB/DB
  • Diore Hubbard, Gahanna Lincoln, RB
  • Jordan Marshall, Moeller, RB
  • Lamar Sperling, Akron Archbishop Hoban, RB
  • Connor Walendzak, Perrysburg, RB
  • Mason Wolfe, Millersburg West Holmes, QB
  • Drew Allar, Medina, QB
  • Carson Gresock, Upper Arlington, RB
  • Avery Henry, St. Clairsville, OL
  • Gideon Lampron, LaGrange Keystone, RB/LB
  • D.J. Newman, Archbold, QB
  • Drew Novak, Mount Orab Western Brown, QB
  • Gabe Powers, Marysville, LB
  • Te'Sean Smoot, Springfield, QB
  • Gabe Tingle, West Lafayette Ridgewood, QB
  • Beau Brungard, New Middletown Springfield, QB
  • Reid Carrico, Ironton, RB/LB
  • Corey Kiner, Roger Bacon, RB
  • Ian Kipp, Mentor, QB
  • Peter Pedrozo, Westerville South, QB
  • Davis Singleton, Byesville Meadowbrook, QB
  • Lorenzo Styles Jr., Pickerington Central, WR/DB
  • Mason Sullivan, Kirtland, RB
  • Owen Treece, Van Wert, QB
  • Caleb Gallwitz, Howard East Knox, Sr, RB
  • Angelo Grose, Mansfield Senior, DB
  • Gabe Jones, West Jefferson, RB
  • Ian Kipp, Mentor, Jr, QB
  • Baron May, New Philadelphia, QB
  • Evan Prater, Wyoming, QB
  • Drew Schiano, Perry, QB
  • Ethan Wright, Akron Manchester, RB
  • Brady Blattner, Byesville Meadowbrook
  • CJ Charleston, Gates Mills Gilmour Academy
  • Ethan Heller, Thornville Sheridan
  • KJ Price, London
  • Cade Stover, Lexington
  • Jamir Thomas, Massillon Washington
  • Mark Waid, Girard
  • Miyan Williams, Cincinnati Winton Woods
  • Ja’Vez Alexander, Sandusky, QB
  • Daniel Bangura, Canal Winchester Harvest Prep, RB
  • Joey Baughman, Wadsworth, QB
  • Isaiah Bowser, Sidney, RB
  • Tanner Holden, Wheelersburg, WR
  • Lukas Isaly, Hannibal River, QB
  • Tyreke Smith, Cleveland Heights, DE
  • Jimmy Weirick, Pickerington North, QB
  • Daniel Bangura, Canal Winchester Harvest Prep
  • Alonzo Booth, Columbus St. Francis DeSales
  • Lynn Bowden, Warren Harding
  • Dustin Crum, Grafton Midview
  • RJ Jacobs, Sugarcreek Garaway
  • Josh Myers, Miamisburg
  • Michael Warren, Toledo Central Catholic
  • Logan Bolin, Midview, WR
  • Ridge Durbin, Danville, QB
  • Brendan Ferns, St. Clairsville, LB-RB
  • DeShaunte Jones, Cincinnati Colerain, RB
  • Jeremy Larkin, Cincinnati LaSalle, RB
  • Keishaun Sims, Massillon Perry, RB/CB
  • Chaz Westfall, Perrysburg, LB/OG
  • Joe Burrow, Athens, QB
  • Dustin Crum, Grafton Midview, QB
  • Jake Davis, Indian Valley, RB
  • Gus Dimmerling, Perrysburg, QB
  • DaVon Hamilton, Pickerington Central, DL
  • Gunnar Hoak, Dublin Coffman, QB
  • Jeremy Larkin, Cincinnati La Salle, RB
  • L.J. Scott, Hubbard, RB
  • Breck Turner, Norwalk, RB
  • D’Mitrik Trice, Huber Heights Wayne, QB


  • Joe Burrow, Athens, QB
  • James Canan, Bradford, RB
  • Heath Harding, Dayton Christian, RB
  • Nick Holley, Toledo Whitmer, QB
  • Kareem Hunt, Willoughby South, RB
  • Godwin Igewebuike, Pickerington North, RB
  • Jamal Johnson, New Philadelphia, RB
  • De’Veon Smith, Warren Howland, RB
  • Mitch Trubisky, Mentor, QB
  • Ja’Wuan Woodley, Bishop Hartley, RB
  • Malik Zaire, Alter, RB
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This is prediction and not opinion, preference, or evaluation, but I'd think either Davis or Marshall (perhaps favoring Marshall, only because Davis is a junior). Poochie is the wild card. Anyone else would be a surprise.
Surprised no one from Massillon was nominated; just figured some kid is having a stellar year with the butt kicking they're putting on most teams.
This is prediction and not opinion, preference, or evaluation, but I'd think either Davis or Marshall (perhaps favoring Marshall, only because Davis is a junior). Poochie is the wild card. Anyone else would be a surprise.
I'll be equally happy for any of the nominees who wins. But Poochie is kind of a sentimental favorite for me, as I think he and Canton South are great stories. And agreed on your front-runners. Often the senior wins as a kind of career (and team) achievement, but Marquise Davis is that rare talent who could win twice.
Congratulations! These guys have all obviously worked hard on their Game. Doesn’t really mean anything though as far as the next level. Prater been at UC for 3-4;yrs now and hardly ever sees the Field.
I think Jones from Glenville needed to be a candidate. I'm not saying he should beat out the young man from Cleveland Heights - but he deserves to have his name included for what he has done for two years running the ball.