Note: This story was last updated at 12:30 p.m.
He won the Mr. Football award last year, and Oak Ridge High School senior Tee Higgins is a semifinalist again this year.
The semifinalists were announced by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, or TSSAA, on Friday.
Higgins is one of four semifinalists for Division I Class 5A Back of the Year. The other three semifinalists are Caden Harbin of Halls High School in Knoxville, Jordan Mason of Gallatin High School, and Jacob Murprhee of Dickson County High School.
Higgins, a 6-foot-5 wide receiver who has committed to Clemson, had 59 catches for 901 yards and 17 touchdowns during the regular season. A wide receiver who also plays cornerback and punt returner, he’s also returned at least one interception—he had a 90-yard return against Webb—and at least two punts for touchdowns this season.
Higgins had two interceptions that led to Oak Ridge touchdowns in the season-opener against Clinton, and he became the all-time leader in career receiving yards for the Wildcats during that game.
Higgins has the opportunity to add to his numbers in the playoffs. The Wildcats start with a first-round game at home on Blankenship Field against Walker Valley at 7 p.m. today (Friday, November 4). (Oak Ridge is the number one seed in Region 3-5A, and Walker Valley is the number four seed in Region 4-5A.)
Higgins won the Tennessee Titans Mr. Football award last year during a luncheon at Nissan Stadium in Nashville on November 30, 2015. Higgins was named Back of the Year in Class 5A.
He is only the second Mr. Football from Oak Ridge. There have been other Mr. Football finalists, but only won other player has won the award. That was Greg Woofter, who won the Lineman award in 1998. The last finalist that didn’t win was Spencer Gulmire in 2005.
In 2015, Higgins had 46 catches for 841 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also had a punt return and an interception for a touchdown, and another interception and some big punt and kickoff returns.
Higgins has been rated one of the top football and wide receiver prospects in the nation, and he has been considered the number one overall player in Tennessee. He has also been a star basketball player, but he recently said he will not play basketball this year in order to focus on football.
This year’s Mr. Football awards will be presented from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday, November 28, at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.
The Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Awards will be presented to the top 16 backs and linemen in eight TSSAA classifications. For the 15th consecutive year, the top kicker in the state will be recognized with a Mr. Football Award, regardless of classification.
Four semifinalists have been announced for each category and each classification. There are six classifications in Division I and two in Division II.
Two finalists for each category will be announced by Mike Keith on the Titans website at www.titansonline.com at 11 a.m. Central time (12 p.m. Eastern) Tuesday, November 15. The two finalists for each award will be the ones invited to attend the awards luncheon at Nissan Stadium, where the winner of each award will be announced.
A committee of statewide sports writers selected winners based on performance in the 2016 regular season. Academics and character were also taken into consideration. High school head coaches and members of the media nominated the finalists.
“We are very excited and appreciative about being involved with the Tennessee Titans for the 10th consecutive year,” said Bernard Childress, TSSAA executive director. “They have helped make the recognition of these 68 student-athletes, their families, and schools possible. The sponsorship of the Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Awards and numerous contributions to high schools across the state since the team moved to Tennessee have meant a great deal to the member schools of the TSSAA.”
The TSSAA said this is the 32nd year that the Mr. Football Awards have been presented to Tennessee’s best high school football players. A Mr. Football trophy will be presented to the winners of each category. A Mr. Football plaque will be presented to the runner-up in each category. The other semi-finalists will each receive a certificate.
More than 400 people, including the 34 finalists, their families, coaches, school administrators, and members of the media from all parts of the state, are expected to attend the 2016 luncheon.
Mike Keith, play-by-play voice of the Tennessee Titans, will emcee the awards presentation. A live videostream of the awards will be provided at www.titansonline.com.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
See the list of Tennessee Titans Mr. Football semifinalists here.
See previous Mr. Football stories here.
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