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High School Football Player of the Year: The Top 15 Candidates

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Top 15 Candidates For High School Player of the Year

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Daniel Shirey- USA TODAY Sports

Well, the high school season is over now.

It's been a long road here since last August, and there have been many surprises throughout the course of a long season.

Many of the top players lived up to their high expectations, and many did not.

So who was the top player in the country this year?

There are a countless number of guys who are very well qualified for such a prestigious honor. Naturally, there is much debate about who really should be number one. And let's be clear, just because a player is ranked as the number one 'prospect' in the country, doesn't mean he had the best season in the country.

Surprisingly, Robert Nkemdiche didn't have the amazing season that many expected, although everyone (almost) still has him as the top prospect. He didn't even crack my top 15 list for player of the year. I'm going off of production on the field this past season, not who has the most potential.

The player I have number one had just a jaw dropping season, and I just couldn't justify putting him anywhere but at number one. Players at 2 through 5 all are incredibly close. The positioning of those players on this list is almost interchangeable.

Also keep in mind that just because a player has such a good season like this, doesn't necessarily make him a top prospect in the eyes of the heavy hitter programs. Stats don't mean everything in football like it does in baseball. But for this list, all of the players are major prospects. They had enormous senior seasons because they are incredibly talented, and they played up to their talent level.

Thats what elite players do. That's exactly why they're on my list for the top 15 candidates for National High School Football Player of the Year…

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#15- Mike Mitchell- Linebacker

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Richard Rowe- USA TODAY Sports

The 6'4'' 215lb Mitchell simply had an awesome year for Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas. Mitchell finished the season with an astonishing 190 tackles, 4 sacks and 5 forced fumbles. Mitchell is currently uncommitted to any school, but many are speculating he's favoring the Oklahoma Sooners.

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#14- Leon McQuay III- Safety

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Jeremy Brevard- USA TODAY Sports

The star safety from Armwood High School in Seffner, Florida had a very well-rounded season finishing with 54 tackles, 5 interceptions, 1 forced fumble and even blocked a kick. McQuay isn't committed to any school at this time, but he's got a top three consisting of the Florida State Seminoles, Vanderbilt Commodores and Southern Cal Trojans. Inside sources have Vandy leading the way.

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#13- Montravious Adams- Defensive Tackle

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Paul Abell- USA TODAY Sports

This massive defensive tackle (6'3'' 290lbs) lived up to they hype for Dooly County High School in Vienna, Georgia. He had more than a hundred tackles and 5.5 sacks playing inside. Anytime a defensive tackle has over a hundred tackles, you have to impressed. Although uncommitted at this time, Adams seems to be leaning towards his home state Georgia Bulldogs.

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#12- Vernon Hargreaves III- Cornerback

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Kim Klement- USA TODAY Sports

The star cornerback from Wharton High School in Tampa, Florida finished his fantastic senior season with 100 tackles, 5 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles. The elite defensive back is verbally committed to the Florida Gators.

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#11- Reuben Foster- Middle Linebacker

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Daniel Shirey- USA TODAY Sports

The perennially polarizing linebacker commits then de-commits, so as of now, he's wide open. My hunch is he goes back his original choice, the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Tide get a good inside 'backer in Foster, who finished his season at Auburn High School in Auburn, Alabama, with 80 tackles, 5 sacks and a forced fumble.

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#10- Kendall Fuller- Cornerback

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Peter Casey- USA TODAY Sports

The latest in a long line of Fullers to be heading for the Virginia Tech Hokies. Fuller, from national powerhouse Good Counsel in Olney, Maryland, finished his season with 3 interceptions and nearly 1,100 yards of offense and 10 touchdowns. Truly an all-around threat.

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#9- Laquon Treadwell- Wide Receiver

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Daniel Shirey- USA TODAY Sports

Treadwell, from Crete-Monee High in Crete, Illinois was fantastic in leading his team to a state championship. Treadwell, at 6'3'' 200lbs, isn't committed anywhere as of yet, but he's indicated that the Ole Miss Rebels are clearly in the drivers seat. Treadwell finished his senior season with 83 receptions, 1,450 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns.

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#8- Derrick Green- Running Back

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Andrew Weber- USA TODAY Sports

The jacked running back from Hermitage High in Richmond, Virginia, had another fantastic season. He finished with 'only' 1,350 yards and 21 touchdowns due in large part to playing in only the first half of games because of blowouts. The 6'0'' 230lb power back isn't committed anywhere just yet, but insiders are pointing towards the Michigan Wolverines being the team to beat.

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#7- Jonathan Allen- Defensive End/ Outside Linebacker

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John David Mercer- USA TODAY Sports

This star end/'backer had a fantastic all-around season for Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, Virginia. The elite defender finished with 103 tackles, 9 sacks, 8 passes defended, 6 fumble recoveries and 6 (!) blocked kicks. He'll be a perfect fit in Nick Saban's 34 defense at Alabama.

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#6- Kenny Bigelow- Defensive Tackle

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Gary Vasquez- USA TODAY Sports

Bigelow only played in four games for Eastern Christian Academy (in Elkton, Maryland), but made it count. In merely four games of action, Bigelow finished with 12 sacks, an amazing number for so few games. The star defensive tackle (6'3'' 295lbs) is verbally committed to the Southern Cal Trojans.

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#5- Thomas Tyner- Running Back

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Mark J. Rebilas- USA TODAY Sports

Tyner finished his remarkable prep career with Aloha High School in Beaverton, Oregon as a record breaking back. Tyner, who's verbally committed to the Oregon Ducks, set a state record (third nationally) for rushing yards in a game when he blew up for 644 yards and ten touchdowns in September. Tyner finished his season with 2,325 yards and 29 touchdowns.

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#4- Max Browne- Quarterback

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Gary Vasquez- USA TODAY Sports

Browne, from powerhouse Skyline High School in Sammamish, Washington, lived up to his incredible potential this year. The 6'5'' 215lb gunslinger threw for 4,142 yards, 45 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. If that wasn't impressive enough, he also had a 73% completion percentage. Browne will play for the Southern Cal Trojans next season.

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#3- Su'a Cravens- Safety

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Mark Kartozian- USA TODAY Sports

Cravens, from Vista Murrieta High School in Murrieta, California, had as good of a season as possible for a safety. Cravens, due to play for the Southern Cal Trojans next year, finished with 95 tackles, 8 sacks and 4 interceptions (three of which he returned for touchdowns). Cravens is an absolute star.

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#2- Carl Lawson- Defensive End

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John Reed- USA TODAY Sports

Lawson, in my opinion, is the top 'prospect' in the country, but wasn't quite the player of the year overall. Still, the 6'2'' 255lb pass rushing freak finished with 26 sacks for Milton High School in Alpharetta, Georgia, which is an absurd number for one player. Lawson is committed to the Auburn Tigers.

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#1- Derrick Henry- Running Back

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Daniel Shirey- USA TODAY Sports

Here it is. The player of the year. Henry finished his truly spectacular high school career as the national record holder for career rushing yards. Henry played in 45 high school games, and in every single one he rushed for more than 100 yards. The 6'3'' 250 monster, who's committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide, finished his senior season with 4,292 rushing yards and 55 touchdowns. People, if you rush for 1,000 yards, thats good. 2,000? That's a great season. 4,000? Simply jaw-dropping.