The top football players in the state’s highest public school and private school classification came from the Memphis area this year, as Houston’s Lincoln Pare and Briarcrest Christian’s Omari Thomas were named Mr. Football in Class 6A and DII-AAA, respectively.
ECS’ Austin Hill, who led the Eagles to their first state title game appearance since 2005, won the award in DII-AA. The 6-foot-2, 220 pound linebacker is committed to Army.
ECS is the only Memphis-area team playing in the BlueCross Bowl this year. The Eagles take on defending state champion CPA on Thursday night in Cookeville.
The award caps a record-setting season for Pare, who became Houston’s all-time and single-season rushing leader in a quarterfinal win against Whitehaven. The 5-foot-9 senior finished with 2,804 yards and 35 rushing touchdowns this season and led Houston to its first semifinal appearance since 2001.
“I was really nervous. It’s a really big event. It means a lot to me. It’s probably the biggest award I’ve ever won,” Pare said.
Thomas, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound defensive lineman, is the state’s top uncommitted football prospect, according to the 247Sports composite. He is ranked No. 3 in the state and is the No. 9 defensive tackle in the country. He is scheduled to announce his commitment Dec. 9.
Thomas and fellow Mr. Football semifinalist Jabari Small led Briarcrest to the DII-AAA quarterfinals.
“It means a lot to me, it’s just blessing that I’m able to receive this award. I’m just happy to bring it back to Memphis,” Thomas said. “That was a goal that I really just wanted, for it to come back to Memphis and represent the city and my school.”