The REAL Offensive Player of the Year. And not just because he's wearing burnt orange. Because he's that good.
In between racking up insane yardage and touchdown totals on the gridiron, Texas commit Johnathan Gray has spent so much time collecting awards over the last two years that it was almost shocking to see Rivals High give the site's Offensive Player of the Year award to someone else, in this case Texas A&M commit Trey Williams, the star back for Spring Dekaney's state championship team.
A brief list of awards won by Gray this season include the Tom Landy Award, Gatorade National Player of the Year, Mr. Football USA, and the AP Texas Player of the Year. And that list may not even be exhaustive. Suffice it to say that Rivals High is out on a limb here.
It's not clear from the article why Rivals High opted to choose Williams above Gray. It's possible that the higher level of competition -- 5A for Williams versus 4A for Gray -- and the impact that Williams has had on his school, now only four years into its existence, made a difference.
Otherwise, the two posted similar numbers -- Williams ran for 3,884 yards to 3,905 yards for Gray, while scoring 48 rushing touchdowns to 65 for Gray. Add in the five receiving touchdowns for Gray and he came up only one score short of tying the national single-season record for all-purpose touchdowns. Gray also averaged two yards per carry more than Williams and ran for more yards in the state championship game than Williams.
For what it's worth, long-time Arlington Sam Houston coach Ken Ozee, who has watched many of the great backs in the state, including Eric Dickerson, LaDanian Tomlinson, Cedric Benson, and Adrian Peterson, and said recently that Gray is the best that he has ever seen.
It's a discussion that has been fairly prevalent as Gray broke the national scoring record as he helped Aledo to a third straight state title. So the numbers support Gray and the opinions of those calling him the best ever and all the other awards also support Gray. The only real argument for Williams seems to be the level of competition, but all Gray can really do about that is make plays and win the state championship, right? Right.
At the least, it seems debatable that Williams is more deserving than Gray of the award from Rivals High. At the least. And as a result, the decision from Rivals High makes no sense without actually revealing some of the debate that should have gone on behind the scenes about the decision.
As it is, the fact that Williams was hard to tackle even as a little kid doesn't make him the Offensive Player of the Year over a player who capped a record-setting career with another state championship and a record-setting season. Again, what more could Gray have done?
Who is more deserving of the Offensive Player of the Year award?
Johnathan Gray (1018 votes)
Trey Williams (122 votes)
Dorial Green-Beckham (59 votes)
1199 total votes