Consider this a start.
Other names will emerge for the 2021 Tennessee Titans Mr. Football award from now until season’s end. There are dark horses out there, to be sure. And move-ins — there are a handful of impact players who fit that mold in Middle Tennessee — aren’t included on this initial list.
Some players below have longer odds to win the award than others. All will have an impact on the 2021 season in one way or another.
For now, this is a good beginning when it comes to area candidates for Mr. Football, which takes into account performance during the season, academics and character.
Alex Broome (Sr., RB, Lipscomb Academy): Broome showed up to offseason workouts looking beefed up and in peak shape. The Boston College commit was a semifinalist for the Division II-AA award last year after compiling 1,807 all-purpose yards and 30 touchdowns.
Barion Brown (Sr., DB/WR, Pearl-Cohn): The speedy wideout/defensive back is ranked the No. 5 player in Tennessee, per the 247Sports Composite, and has Alabama interested in his services. He led Pearl-Cohn with 597 yards receiving and seven touchdowns in nine games last season, adding two interceptions on defense.
Brandon Connard (Sr., RB, Riverdale): The MTSU commit could build on his 981 yards and 14 touchdowns rushing last year. Those numbers helped Riverdale reach the Class 6A state quarterfinals.
Taylor Groves (Sr., DB/WR, East Robertson): Groves seems settled on the recruiting front, now that he’s been through a decommit (Michigan) and a new commitment (Ole Miss). The No. 10 player in Tennessee, per the 247 Composite, can be a force on both sides of the ball.
Elijah Herring (Sr., LB, Riverdale): Herring and his younger brother, junior edge-rusher Caleb, are going to be a handful for opponents this year. Elijah was third on the team in tackles for loss last year (10) and has committed to Tennessee.
Isaiah Horton (Sr., WR, Oakland): All eyes will be on Horton at the end of this month when he will announce a commitment between Tennessee, Alabama, Miami and Florida. He led Oakland with 34 catches for 643 yards (18.9 ypc) and seven touchdowns.
Jordan James (Sr., RB, Oakland): The Georgia commit is as good as advertised. A four-star running back, he rushed for 1,740 yards last year and punched in 26 touchdowns.
Jackson Long (Sr., TE, Beech): Big tight ends — and Long is 6-4, 216 pounds — are capable of putting up big numbers. The Tulane commit would need to build on his 13 catches, 183 yards and two touchdowns from a year ago.
Jake McNamara (Sr., QB, Page): McNamara isn’t talked about much, but the Colorado State commit is a poised, accurate thrower at 5-11, 185 pounds. He’s the returning Region 5-5A Offensive Player of the Year.
Langston Patterson (Sr., LB/RB, CPA): Patterson gave Vanderbilt fans a shot in the arm with his commitment to the Commodores. Those folks would love to see the 6-foot-1, 215-pound linebacker have a big 2021 season. He totaled 72 tackles (19 for loss) last year in addition to 733 yards rushing and 13 TDs on offense.
Myles Pollard (Sr., DB/WR, Ravenwood): The Michigan commit might not get a lot of passes thrown his way. At a rangy 6-2, 185 pounds he makes his presence felt in the secondary. But Ravenwood could use him on offense with new quarterback Chris Parson.
Marcel Reed (Jr., QB, MBA): A bunch of teams have added their name to the Reed sweepstakes since he threw for 1,565 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Big Red last year. He added 366 yards and seven TDs rushing and is the son of former Tennessee State coach Rod Reed.
Luther Richesson (Sr., QB, Lipscomb Academy): The 6-foot-3, 204-pound QB received high marks from the Elite 11 camp and could enjoy a breakout year after completing 67 percent of his passes and throwing 26 touchdowns last season. Another year under Trent Dilfer certainly won’t hurt.
Derek Taylor (Sr., ATH, Greenbrier): A three-star prospect categorized as an athlete by 247Sports, Taylor can play both sides of the ball. He received a Michigan State offer in February.
Destin Wade (Sr., QB, Summit): Wade, a four-star prospect committed to Kentucky, is capable of putting up big-time numbers. It’s hard to imagine him topping the 2,899 yards and 37 TDs from scrimmage he compiled last season, but who knows?
Keaten Wade (Sr., LB, Summit): Wade’s twin brother, also a four-star prospect committed to Kentucky, is a handful as well. He was injured much of last season but is at full health again.
Upton Bellenfant (Stewarts Creek, Kicker of the Year): A finalist for the award last year, Bellenfant is a five-star kicker according to Kohl’s Kicking Camp and the No. 5 kicker in the country.