One is presented by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the state’s largest newspaper. The other is released by the Associated Press from the Georgia Sports Writers Association. Below is a look at what are probably the 10 best candidates, along with a subjective guess at their odds of winning:
B.J. Bostic, Jefferson County
Bostic is the classic case of putting your team’s best player at quarterback and letting him dominate many phases of the game. Whether he lines up under center, in the shotgun, out wide as a receiver or in the secondary on defense, Bostic is almost always the best athlete on the field.
Size: 5-9, 160
Stats: Passed for 1,124 yards and 17 touchdowns. Rushed for 1,227 yards and 17 touchdowns. Caught four touchdown passes. Had over 800 yards in kick returns. In one early-season game, Bostic scored touchdowns rushing, passing, receiving and returning.
College: Committed to Georgia Tech, where he likely will play cornerback.
Team’s finish: Jefferson County was 12-1 and reached the Class AA quarterfinals, losing to Calhoun 49-35.
Odds of winning award: Low. Bostic played for a small school and probably needed to win a state title to emerge as a genuine contender, but there probably is no player who meant more to his team.
Ean Days, Camden County
Days is the best player on Georgia’s best team. He’s one of a handful of players who started on each of Camden County’s back-to-back state championship teams in Class AAAAA, Georgia’s highest classification. This season, Days moved to starting linebacker early in the season, and his defense was integral in Camden’s turnaround from a 1-2 start.
Size: 5-11, 190
Stats: Rushed for 1,421 yards and 25 touchdowns. Had 38 tackles as a linebacker. Days returned three kickoffs for touchdowns, including one to open the Class AAAAA championship game, a 31-3 victory over Northside of Warner Robins.
College: Offers from Illinois, Indiana, Central Florida, Vanderbilt
Team’s finish: Won Class AAAAA championship.
Odds of winning award: Low. Two-star recruits rarely win these awards unless their numbers are off the charts. Plus, Camden had lots of outstanding contributors. While he symbolized this blue-collar team, he wasn’t needed to carry it.
Hutson Mason, Lassiter
Mason blew away state records for passing yards (4,560) and touchdown passes (54) in a season with incredible efficiency. He is Georgia’s Gatorade Player of the Year.
Size: 6-3, 190
Stats: Mason completed 313-of-432 passes (73 percent) for 4,560 yards and 54 touchdowns against 10 interceptions.
College: To decide the week among Georgia, Clemson and Ole Miss.
Team’s finish: Lassiter was 12-1 and reached the Class AAAAA quarterfinals, the best finish in school history.
Odds of winning award: High. Record-setting performances go a long way at award time. His team overachieved, so falling short of the title is no factor. However, Mason did throw five interceptions and no touchdowns in Lassiter’s 46-17 defeat to Colquitt County in the quarters.
Alec Ogletree, Newnan
Ogletree is regarded by many as the top recruit and best overall high school player in Georgia. He contributed more on both offense and defense than any other major contender for the award.
Size: 6-3, 215
Stats: 40 receptions, 725 yards; 85 tackles on defense.
College: Committed to Georgia.
Team’s finish: Newnan was 13-1 and lost 29-24 in the Class AAAAA semifinals to Northside of Warner Robins.
Odds of winning award: Medium/high. Ogletree would be a fine choice, but he lacks the eye-popping numbers or the championship team that might be needed to put him over the top.
Storm Johnson, Loganville
Johnson was Georgia’s leader in rushing yards per game (176.1). His team played four of the eight quarterfinalists, and he averaged 181 yards and scored 13 touchdowns against them.
Size: 5-11, 210
Stats: Rushed for 1,937 yards, 31 touchdowns. Johnson returned two kickoffs for touchdowns.
College: Committed to Miami.
Team’s finish: Loganville was 6-5 and lost in the first round.
Odds of winning award: Low. Johnson’s team just wasn’t good enough to justify his getting such an award, but game-for-game, perhaps no player was better.
Nick Marshall, Wilcox County
Marshall, also a star basketball player, was the unofficial MVP of the state finals after his performance of 251 yards passing and 91 rushing in a 30-21 victory over Savannah Christian in Class A. Marshall threw for over 200 yards in four straight playoff games and wowed observes with his arm strength and elusiveness.
Size: 6-3, 185
Stats: 192-of-323 passing for 2,956 yards and 32 touchdowns.
College: Has an offer from Georgia as a junior.
Team’s finish: Won Class A championship.
Odds of winning award: Medium/high. He’s the only junior in this crowd. Most will favor seniors. Those who saw Marshall play in the state finals went away feeling he was the star of the show.
Rajion Neal, Sandy Creek
Neal was a marquee player on his school’s first state championship team. He rushed for 175 yards in the Class AAAA final, a 29-15 victory over Clarke Central. He was somewhat overlooked as a great back in the state until his team’s run to the championship.
Size: 5-11, 200
Stats: Rushed for 1,816 yards, 33 touchdowns. Returned two kickoffs four touchdowns.
College: Committed to Mississippi State.
Team’s finish: Won Class AAAA championship.
Odds of winning award: Medium. Neal was one of several big-time recruits off his team and stars in the championship game.
Da'Rick Rogers, Calhoun
Rogers, one of the top national recruits, set the Georgia record for receiving yards in a season on a team that was the runner-up in Class AA.
Size: 6-3, 210
Stats: Caught 84 passes for 1,647 yards and 22 TD.
College: Committed to Georgia.
Team’s finish: Calhoun went 14-1 and lost in the Class AA final to Buford 13-10.
Odds of winning award: High. He dominated the state playoffs until the state final, when he was fairly well contained.
Connor Shaw, Flowery Branch:
Size: 6-1, 175
Stats: Completed 76 percent of his passes and threw for 3,036 yards and 30 touchdowns against six interceptions. Rushed for 793 yards and 18 touchdowns.
College: Committed to South Carolina.
Team’s finish: Flowery Branch went 10-4 and lost in the Class AAA semifinals to Gainesville 29-21.
Odds of winning award: Medium/low. Shaw’s numbers are staggering, but they come in a year when another quarterback (Mason) set state records. Shaw also competes against Region 7-AAA rival Blake Sims (below), who was just named the county player of the year.
Blake Sims, Gainesville
Sims had 3,736 all-purpose yards for a 14-1 team that fell one conversion pass short of winning the first state title in school history.
Size: 6-1, 200
Stats: Threw for 2,280 yards and 30 touchdowns, rushed for 872 yards and 13 touchdowns. Sims also scored three touchdowns on kick and punt returns and had 3,736 all-purpose yards.
College: Committed to Alabama, where he likely will play defensive back.
Team’s finish: Gainesville went 14-1 and lost in the Class AAA final to Peach County 13-12.
Odds of winning award: High. Sims might’ve been the favorite to win the award entering the playoffs and the state final. He performed OK in the postseason but didn’t take home a title.
Todd Holcomb is the editor of Georgia High School Football Daily, a free e-mail newsletter. To join the mailing list, click