COMPASSION FOR THE PLAYER OF THE YEAR COMMITTEE
Last Friday the Prep Pigskin Report announced its five finalists for the 2010 Silver Pigskin Player of the Year. Five young men were extremely happy, while a couple dozen were disappointed at our selections. I'd like to use this space to explain why we made the choices we did.
To our Player of the Year committee, there were 3 'must haves'. Vista's Stefan McClure is only the 7th San Diego athlete to be selected to play in the U.S. Army All American Bowl. He's being recruited by every major college program in the country and is the odds-on favorite to be the 12th name on the Prestigious Silver Pigskin. He was the first one to the podium
Don't count out St. Augustine's Evan Crower. He came within a dozen votes of making the Gala podium as a junior! Crower has thrown 25 TD passes as a senior and is the conductor of one of the most sophisticated passing attacks in the county. It should come as no surprise that Crower was also a unanimous pick to be on our podium.
Travis Bernard is the best athlete on the top ranked D-3 school in Southern California. The Valley Center senior is the county's leading rusher and could possibly break the 3,000 yard barrier in a single season! That is pretty rarefied air, making Travis the 3rd unanimous selection.
Diego Rodriguez was the next to get a podium spot. As a junior he suffered a major knee injury and frankly we didn't give the Montgomery running back much attention, until the numbers started coming in: 19 rushing TD's, two games with over 285 yards rushing, over 2,000 yards rushing on just 213 carries. And, most importantly, the Aztecs were winning, finishing the regular season 7-3. Diego quickly became the 4th finalist.
And that's where things got stalled. I wanted Pt. Loma's Christian Heyward on the podium; the defensive tackle is being recruited across the country.
Rick Willis wanted both Kevin Cuff and John Wilson out of Torrey Pines, and at least a half dozen other North County stars, including Oceanside's DeMario Coleman and Rancho Bernardo's Tyler Gomogda.
John Soderman insisted we consider Mar Vista's Rommell Cooper and Olympian quarterback Cobrin Humphery.
Stephanie Thompson felt strongly about Helix's Brandon Lewis. Kerri Sargent wanted Cathedral's Johnny Martin and Madison's Chase Knox in the mix.
Brandon Stone pushed for Christian High's Tyrone Sauls, and Shack wanted every member of his Pig Pen! Around and 'round we went.
For years now we have been considering adding a new award to our Gala, the “Iron Hog,” which would be awarded to the county's top down lineman. We decided to make that award a reality in 2010, and quickly reached consensus that it would go to Sam Meredith of Helix.
From there we agreed to let the people choose between Cooper, Cuff, Heyward, Humphery and Sauls. Some will criticize that decision, but I stand by it. We received over 1,300 votes in less than 70 hours. The audience participation reminded everybody who works on the show what we are doing is important to the community. I think involving the viewers is only fair. After all, it is YOUR show!
The internet poll opened on Tuesday. Cuff jumped to the early lead. Heyward moved in front by Wednesday afternoon, and then later in the day Cooper surged to the lead and never looked back. By Friday at 8pm, Rommell Cooper was the first Mar Vista athlete to make the Gala podium, beating Heyward by just 4 percentage points.
Naturally there is plenty of second guessing. We've received our share of feedback suggesting we missed the boat on several athletes. But you have to understand there simply aren't enough chairs on the podium to make everyone happy. Did we pick the 5 best football players in San Diego? Time will tell, but I know one thing for certain: the 5 young men we did choose are not only quality athletes, but also quality people. They will represent San Diego County and the PPR well.
The Player of the Year internet poll is now open. It is important for you to remember that unlike the vote we just took, the Player of the Year balloting is weighted to represent only 10 percent of the paper vote. For example: if we receive 200 paper ballots from coaches and media members, the fan vote will count for 20 ballots. What that means is the fan vote will decide a close race, but won't reduce this prestigious award to a popularity contest.
All I ask is that you choose wisely.
Yours In Pigskin,
Paul W. Rudy
Prep Pigskin Report