TAMPA — When Deiondre Porter put on his white vest and matching bow tie in preparation for the 2014 Hillsborough County fall sports awards ceremony, he did so thinking he was simply one of many being considered to receive the Guy Toph trophy, the award given annually to the county's most outstanding football player.
"(I told him) he was a nominee; he didn't know," said Jefferson coach Jeremy Earle, flashing a proud grin. "We wanted to let it be a surprise."
In actuality, Porter's coaches already knew he had been chosen as the 75th recipient of the award. And when the presenter began describing the senior quarterback's accolades Thursday at the Hillsborough County school district's downtown office, Porter's ears perked up.
"When they started calling out my stats and stuff, I got the clue," he said.
The recognition may have been a surprise to Porter, the Tampa Bay Times' All-Suncoast and All-Hillsborough Player of the Year, but it shouldn't have been to anyone who followed the three-year starting quarterback's senior season with the Dragons. Porter, Jefferson's ninth recipient of the trophy, led all players in the state of Florida with 4,698 yards and 53 touchdowns last season.
Porter was back in the news Jan. 20 when he switched his commitment from USF to Florida during a televised press conference. There he will join last year's recipient of the Guy Toph Award, Wharton defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III.
"It's going to be a fun time, two Tampa boys up there in Gainesville," said Porter, who was recruited by Florida as an athlete. "Basically it's going to be, 'Anything you can do, I can do'. It's going to be a good competition if we end up playing the same position."
At Thursday's ceremony, awards were also given out for the highest team GPAs in each fall sport — football, volleyball, cross country, swimming and golf — as well as athletes of the year distinctions and the Jim "Jimbo" Kynes Outstanding Lineman Award.
Plant's Richard Bush, a senior offensive lineman and Princeton commit, is the 2014 recipient of the lineman award, joining six other Panthers or Plant teams recognized in Thursday's ceremony.
"I looked over at Coach Weiner, and he couldn't contain his smile," Bush said about receiving his award. "Every team seems to have a lineman going to big schools, and it's just really humbling being recognized with those guys."
Photo courtesy of the school district
Highest team GPAs
Football: Steinbrenner (3.29)
Volleyball: Newsome (3.73)
Boys cross country: Freedom (3.76)
Girls cross country: Alonso (3.79)
Boys swimming: Tampa Bay Tech (3.51)
Girls swimming: Plant (3.65)
Boys golf: Alonso (3.51)
Girls golf: Plant (3.62)
Kirkwood Volleyball Award: Lexi Thompson, Durant
Jim "Jimbo" Kynes Outstanding Lineman Award: Richard Bush, Plant
Guy Toph Award: Deiondre Porter, Jefferson
Jessie Helfrich Hicks Award for Outstanding Swimmer — Girls: Ally Donahue, Plant
Jessie Helfrich Hicks Award for Outstanding Swimmer — Boys: Kyle Kimura, Plant
Casey Most Valuable Golfer Award — Girls: Kellyanne Hurst, Plant City
Casey Most Valuable Golfer Award — Boys: Joseph Trim, Jesuit
Dr. Ben Walker Cross Country Award — Girls: Anna Montgomery & Bailey Sullivan, Plant
Dr Ben Walker Cross Country Award — Boys: Frederick Stanford, Robinson