By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Two area high school football players were among 56 finalists for the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Back/Lineman of the Year awards for the 2018 football season.
Etowah senior defensive end Jamin Graham is a finalist for Class 5A Lineman, while Hokes Bluff junior running back Darrian Meads (pictured above) is a finalist for Class 4A Back.
The awards will be distributed and the winners announced on Jan. 15 in Montgomery.
Graham, who signed with Nebraska in December, finished the season with 86 tackles (including 54 solo), 11 sacks, 35 tackles for a loss, two safeties, two forced fumbles and two defensive touchdowns while helping the Blue Devils a 12-1 record, five shutouts, an undefeated regular season, a Class 5A, Region 6 championship and a second straight berth in the state quarterfinals.
Meads, who made first team all-state for the third straight year, spearheaded the Eagles to an 11-2 record and a third straight trip to the state quarterfinals with 2,634 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns.
The ASWA Back/Lineman of the Year finalists are listed below.
Class 7A Back
Te’Darrian Murray, Lee-Montgomery; George Pickens, Hoover; Taulia Tagovailoa, Thompson
Class 7A Lineman
Daevion Davis, James Clemens; Mohamoud Diabate, Auburn; Pierce Quick, Hewitt-Trussville
Class 6A Back
Bo Nix, Pinson Valley; Tyquan Rawls, Wetumpka; Roydell Williams, Hueytown;
Class 6A Lineman
Vonta Bentley, Jackson-Olin; D.J. Dale, Clay-Chalkville; Clay Webb, Oxford
Class 5A Back
Zaye Boyd, Russellville; Javonta Leatherwood, Central-Tuscaloosa; C.J. Yarbrough, East Limestone
Class 5A Lineman
Jamin Graham, Etowah; Fred Austin, Vigor; Mark Hand, Briarwood
Class 4A Back
Darrian Meads, Hokes Bluff; J.J. Evans, Montevallo; Lee Witherspoon, North Jackson
Class 4A Lineman
Will Breland, UMS-Wright; C.J. Person, Catholic-Montgomery; James Waller, American Christian
Class 3A Back
Tony Amerson, St. James; Daquan Johnson, Flomaton; Ian Thies, Westminster Christian
Class 3A Lineman
Ricky Samuel, T.R. Miller; Ja’Len Sims, Fultondale; Sean Smith, Piedmont
Class 2A Back
Payton Anderson, Fyffe; Jaquon Kincey, Abbeville; Samario Rudolph, Cottage Hill
Class 2A Lineman
Karron Daffin, Leroy; Arian Gregory, Luverne; Caleb Lyles, Fyffe
Class 1A Back
Graderius Brown, Linden; Jermaine Brown, St. Luke’s; Kristian Story, Lanett
Class 1A Lineman
Jah-Marien Latham, Pickens County; Colt Smith, Mars Hill Bible; Tristen Thetford, Maplesville