Deiondre Porter, senior, Jefferson High, offensive player of the year
Why we picked him: Look no further than his stat line. Porter threw for 3,199 yards and 33 TDs and ran for 1,499 yards and 20 TDs. His 4,698 total yards were the most by anyone in the state this season, eclipsing the second-best total by 479 yards. Porter's 53 touchdowns were also tops in the state. The numbers say a lot about Porter, a USF commitment, but he believes it says more about his team. "That says that my coaching staff was doing something right, my O-line, my receivers and myself are all of one accord and we all have confidence in each other," he said. The Dragons' only losses came against Armwood High, and in the second meeting, in the second round of the 6A playoffs, Porter threw for 456 yards as the Dragons scored 48 points.
Proudest accomplishment: Porter was the starting quarterback for three seasons, taking over after the Dragons won the state title in 2010. In each of the next two seasons after that title, the Dragons had winning seasons but missed the playoffs. Porter said he is proud to have been able to lead his team to district runnerup honors and a playoff berth.
Future plans: Porter has orally committed to USF, where Porter looks forward to helping turn the program around. He is excited about staying near his home to play at the next level. "I want to bring a championship back to my city," he said.
Did you know? Porter's uncle, Derrick Gaines, was a running back at Florida A&M before spending three years in the NFL. His father, Fred Porter, was a defensive back for the Rattlers. A 5-year-old Porter followed in his family's footsteps when he began playing Pop Warner for the East Tampa Bandits. "I'm built around football," he said.
Josh Black, senior, Sickles High, defensive player of the year
Why we picked him: Gryphons coach Brian Turner has compared Black to current FSU back and former Plant High star James Wilder Jr. because of his defensive dominance. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound defensive end had 103 tackles (26 for a loss), 20 sacks and three forced fumbles. Black's success led to the best season in school history. Sickles won its first district title and grabbed its first playoff wins in a run to the Class 7A region final. "That's the big thing right there," Black said. "We were the first team to do it, and the first team to move it along and keep winning games."
Proudest accomplishment: Black had his best performances in his team's biggest games. He had three sacks in a 24-20 loss to Plant, and two sacks against Tampa Bay Tech in a victory that clinched the Class 7A, District 7 championship. In the playoff opener against Plant City, he had two sacks and two fumble recoveries. He amassed six tackles for a loss in a season-ending 19-14 loss at Kissimmee Osceola. "I just motivate myself," Black said. "I've got to make this play, and I make that play."
Future plans: Rivals.com and 247Sports.com both rank Black as a three-star recruit, and he's undecided about his college choice, having visited Arizona and Toledo and considering USF, Marshall and Minnesota. Black will likely play a hybrid of defensive end and linebacker in college and said he plans to go to a school that offers him the best chance for academic success. He's undecided about his course of study.
Did you know? Black spends a lot of his time outdoors, acting as the big brother to four cousins. "When they want to do stuff and can't go by themselves, I take them," Black said. One of them is well known: Sickles' standout junior running back Ray Ray McCloud III. Black said he likes swimming and playing basketball and other games with them.
Coach of the year: Frank LaRosa, East Bay High
His Indians consistently found ways to gut out ugly wins. Six victories came by eight points or fewer, and East Bay emerged from a three-way tiebreaker with the Class 7A, District 8 championship. LaRosa led his Indians to the first playoff win in school history and an 8-4 record.
QB Colby Brown, Sr., Plant: Threw for 2,905 yards and 31 TDs with three TDs rushing.
RB Chris Greene, Sr., East Bay: Rushed for 900 yards and 13 TDs for the district champions.
RB Alex Jackson, Sr., Plant: Had 711 rushing yards, 488 receiving yards and 12 TDs.
RB Jeff Keil, Sr., Wharton: Led the Class 8A region quarterfinalists in rushing (876 yards, 11 TDs) and had 500 receiving yards.
RB Ray Ray McCloud III, Jr., Sickles: Rushed for 2,316 yards and 26 TDs in leading team to its first playoff wins in school history.
WR Ventell Bryant, Sr., Jefferson: Temple commitment had 704 yards and a team-high 11 TD catches.
WR Shug Rhynes, Sr., Middleton: One of the state's leaders with 1,213 receiving yards and 10 total TDs.
WR Auden Tate, Jr., Wharton: Division I recruit led team with 815 yards and five TDs.
OL Gary Brown, Sr., Alonso: Georgia Tech commitment had a team-high 37 pancake blocks.
OL Jake Fruhmorgen, Jr., Plant: The four-star recruit has offers from prominent Division I programs.
OL Corey Martinez, Sr., Tampa Catholic: Florida State recruit helped team to a state semifinal.
OL Montel McBride, Sr., Plant City: Alabama commitment also played defense, totaling 16 tackles, five for loss, and two sacks.
OL Ray Raulerson, Sr., Plant: Tennessee commitment helped Plant average almost 400 yards of offense per game.
Ath. Dwayne Lawson, Jr., Hillsborough: Four-star 2015 prospect threw for 2,100 yards and rushed for almost 1,100 while accounting for 31 TDs.
K Sterling Hofrichter, Jr., Armwood: Division I prospect averaged 36 yards per punt with 67 touchbacks. Also had nine field goals.
QB Noah Johnson, Jr., Armwood
RB Patrick Brooks, Jr., Plant
RB Willie Parker, Jr., Carrollwood Day
RB Deon Thompson, Sr., Tampa Bay Tech
RB Ish Witter, Sr., Alonso
WR Tavares Chase, So., Plant City
WR Derrick Ingram, Sr., Jefferson
WR Trevor Laurent, So., Armwood
OL Dillon Browne, Sr., Freedom
OL Richard Bush, Sr., Plant
OL Frank Carter, Sr., Hillsborough
OL Zach Hudson, Sr., Sickles
OL Chris Powell, Sr., Durant
Ath. Deon Cain, Jr., Tampa Bay Tech
K Daniel Lezotte, Sr., Sickles
DL John Broome, Sr., Plant City: The Florida International commitment had 58 tackles, 10 for loss, and a team-high 17 sacks.
DL Byron Cowart, Jr., Armwood: Five-star lineman had 13 sacks and three fumble recoveries.
DL Shavar Manuel, So., Blake: Racked up 19 sacks in followup to 10-sack freshman year.
LB Andrew Beck, Sr., Plant: Texas commitment led team with 110 tackles, 33 for loss.
LB Juwuan Brown, Sr., Jefferson: USF commitment amassed 31 tackles for a loss and a team-high 12 sacks.
LB Jordan Griffin, Jr., Armwood: Led team with 159 tackles, including a game-high nine in the state final.
LB Deondre Romeo, Sr., East Bay: Averaged more than 11 tackles to help Indians get program's first playoff victory.
DB Aaron Covington, Jr., Armwood: Picked off four passes and blocked two punts.
DB Kyle Gibson, Sr., Armwood: Vanderbilt commitment had two of his team-high six interceptions during the state title game.
DB Amani Oruwariye, Sr., Gaither: Vanderbilt commitment had four interceptions, nine passes defensed and three blocked punts.
DB Chavez Pownell, Sr., Jefferson: Had five interceptions to go with 809 receiving yards on offense.
Ath. T.J. Harrell, Sr., Tampa Catholic: Had a team-high 593 rushing yards, and played linebacker and safety.
P Justin Motlow, Sr., Tampa Catholic: Averaged more than 40 yards per punt and had 1,151 receiving yards and 10 TDs.
KR Jaaron Barrett, Sr., Sickles: Had two big kickoff returns with 749 receiving yards and eight TDs.
DL Alex Carswell, Sr., Strawberry Crest
DL Marques Ford, Jr., East Bay
DL Hyriam Frederick, Sr., Armwood
DL Deven Santana, Sr., Sickles
LB Azeez Al-Shaair, So., Hillsborough
LB Matt Chaney, Sr., Strawberry Crest
LB Vincent Jackson, Sr., Jesuit
LB Tre Watson, Sr., Tampa Catholic
DB Tajee Fullwood, Sr., Tampa Bay Tech
DB Bernard Rogers, Sr., Plant
DB Mazzi Wilkins, Sr., Plant
Ath. Fred Russ, Sr., Tampa Bay Tech
P Chase Litton, Sr., Wharton
KR Kezio Snelling, Jr., Steinbrenner
Armwood: Talvin Bailey, Thomas Bartley, Craig Carrington, Justin Manning; Berkeley Prep: Clint Gasque, George Pennington, Joe Schiano; Blake: Corey Bennett; Bloomingdale: Logan Crouse, Cody Decker, John Hester, Isaiah McIntyre, Doug Sandberg, Ryan Voyles; Brandon: Brandon Jones; Cambridge Christian: Garrett Young; Carrollwood Day: Dominic Cuono, Michael Smith; East Bay: Kameron Daniels, Eric Latortue; Freedom: Andre Folkes, Scott Patchan; Gaither: Alex McGough, Jeff Suarez, Devon Weiand; Jefferson: Mondreas Lofton, Joshua Marrero, Kyle Walker, James Wilson; Jesuit: Kevin Newman, Jack Taylor, Rhett Waldron; King: Greg Thompson; Leto: Josh Dupree; Newsome: Bruce Anderson, Ramsey Bennett, Chris Bryant, Travis Hempstead; Plant City: Sawyer Dawson, Sterling Day, Landon Galloway; Robinson: Jahrvis Davenport; Seffner Christian: Robbie Shell; Sickles: Jake Hampton, Isaac Holder, Wes Harris; Spoto: Kevin Hobley, Traverrian Williams; Steinbrenner: Shyheem Barthel, Nick Nankovitch, Andre Washington; Strawberry Crest: Austin Carswell, Josh Hyde, Chris Perez; Tampa Catholic: Kenny Bryant, Kyle Ploucher, Ben Reed; Tampa Bay Tech: Micah Tucker, Rashawn Washington; Wharton: Ozzi Williams