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Ohio Mr. Football Award finalists announced for 2023

The Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association has announced the eight finalists for the 2023 Ohio Mr. Football Award

The Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association has announced the finalists for the 2023 Ohio Mr. Football Award. The winner will be announced Thursday, Nov. 30 in Canton prior to the start of the OHSAA football state championships. The prestigious honor has been awarded since 1987.

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.

Last year's winner was Lamar Sperling of Archbishop Hoban.

The 2023 Ohio Mr. Football finalists:

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, 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.

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

(Feature image of 2022 Ohio Mr. Football winner Lamar Sperling of Archbishop Hoban by Jeff Harwell)

-- Ryan Isley | | @sbliveoh