Ranking the Top 10 Alabama Mr. Football winners of all-time

The Alabama Sports Writers Association will name its 42nd Mr. Football winner in January.
The award, which annually recognizes the state’s best high school football player, was first awarded in 1982 to Tommy Compton of Vigor. The 41st winner, awarded earlier this year, was Ryan Williams of Saraland.
Williams was the first sophomore to win the award and just the second underclassmen. No one has won Mr. Football twice, though Williams will have that chance this fall.
The prestigious list of winners includes multiple players who went on to become college football stars and even an NFL No. 1 draft pick (Williamson’s JaMarcus Russell).
But who was the best among the 41 winners so far?
Well, that’s a tough – dare I say impossible – question to answer. It’s certainly subjective since all of these players were considered the best in the last four decades.
However, AL.com asked several well-known Alabama media members (and a few former media members) -- all of whom have covered high school football extensively for decades -- to rank their top 10 Mr. Football winners in order.
Those responses were combined to form AL.com’s list of the Top 10 Mr. Football winners.
Who is No. 1 according to our poll?
Class 6A Finals: Pinson Valley vs. Saraland
Pinson Valley's Bo Nix carries the ball against Saraland during the AHSAA Super 7 Class 6A championship at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. (Mark Almond | preps@al.com)
10. Bo Nix, QB, Pinson Valley
Total points: 16
Winning Year: 2018
The skinny: As a senior playing for his father Patrick, Nix completed 267 of 447 passes for 3,795 yards and 50 touchdowns as Pinson Valley defended its 6A state crown. He was named championship game MVP after accounting for 372 yards and three touchdowns in a 27-16 win over Saraland.
Other contenders in 2018: Taulia Tagovailoa, Thompson; Clay Webb, Oxford; Lee Witherspoon, North Jackson; George Pickens, Hoover; Roydell Williams, Hueytown.
College: Auburn, Oregon. Started for three seasons at Auburn before graduating in 2021 and transferring to Oregon. In his first year with the Ducks in 2022, he accounted for 4,103 total yards of offense and 315.6 total yards per game, ranking 12th in the nation. He opted to return this fall for his final year and is considered a Heisman Trophy candidate. He leads active quarterbacks in career starts (47).
Top 20 FB teams: Daphne 2010
Daphne's T.J. Yeldon tries to get past Hoover's Connor Eagan during the Class 6A Football Championship 2010 game between Hoover and Daphne at the Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Friday, Dec. 3, 2010. (Michelle Campbell/al.com)
9. T.J. Yeldon, RB, Daphne
Total points: 19
Year: 2011
The skinny: As a senior, Yeldon rushed for 2,196 yards and scored 32 touchdowns for the Trojans.
Other contenders in 2011: Jameis Winston, Hueytown; Troymaine Pope, Anniston; ArDarius Stewart, Fultondale; Tyler Hayes, Thomasville.
College: Alabama. Yeldon rushed for 3,322 yards and 37 touchdowns in a three-year career in Tuscaloosa. He also caught 46 passes for 494 yards and 2 TDs.
NFL: Drafted in the second round of the 2015 draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Played four years with the Jaguars and two years with Buffalo. Rushed for 2,005 yards and 6 TDs on 492 carries. Also caught 185 passes for 1,448 yards and 7 TDs.
Williamson QB JaMarcus Russell
Williamson quarterback JaMarcus Russell looks for a receiver against Briarwood Christian Friday Nov. 22, 2002 at Ladd-Pebbles Stadium. (Mobile Register, John David Mercer)
7. (TIE) JaMarcus Russell, QB, Williamson
Total points: 23
Winning year: 2002
The skinny: Russell completed 219-of-372 passes for 3,332 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushed for another 400 yards and five touchdowns. He passed for 10,774 yards in his high school career.
Other contenders in 2002: Chad Jackson, Hoover; LeRon McClain, Tuscaloosa County; Tim Castille, Briarwood Christian; Jake Tompkins, Russellville; Dusty Goodwin, Demopolis; Tyrone Prothro, Cleburne County
College: LSU. Passed for 6,625 yards and 52 touchdowns for the Bengal Tigers. Completed 62 percent of his passes and won the 2006 Manning Award.
NFL: No. 1 overall pick by the Oakland Raiders in 2007. Played three seasons for the Raiders, completing 52 percent of his passes for 4,803 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Super 7: Class 6A Championship
Saraland's Ryan Williams breaks away from Mountain Brook's Mac Palmer for a first-quarter touchdown during the AHSAA Super 7 Class 6A championship at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (Mark Almond | preps@al.com)
7. (TIE) Ryan Williams, WR, Saraland
Total points: 23
Winning year: 2022
The skinny: In becoming the first sophomore to win the award, Williams caught 88 passes for 1,641 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also rushed 57 times for 700 yards and 15 TDs, threw a touchdown pass and scored on a pair of punt returns. He also was the Gatorade Alabama Player of the Year and MVP of the title game win over Mountain Brook.
Other contenders in 2022: Peter Woods, Thompson; Jack Hayes, Piedmont; Earl Woods, Hueytown; Cole Gamble, Mountain Brook.
College: Alabama (commit)
DeMarco McNeil
Auburn defensive lineman DeMarco McNeil (92) works against teammates during drills in Auburn, Ala. Thursday, Aug. 8 , 2002. (Mobile Register, G.M. Andrews)
5. (TIE) DeMarco McNeil, DT, Blount
Total points: 26
Winning year: 1998
The skinny: McNeil is the only defensive lineman to ever win the award, and he helped the Leopards win Class 5A state titles in 1996, 1997 and 1998.
Other contenders in 1998: Tim Castille, Briarwood Christian; Brandon Johnson, Alma Bryant; Golinsky Smith, Sylacauga; DeAndre Green, Blount; Michael Owens, Deshler; Derrick Graves, Holt; Brodie Croyle, Westbrook Christian
College: Auburn. Finished career with 205 tackles, including 35 for a loss and 14 sacks. Also had three interceptions and five forced fumbles.
NFL: A degenerative knee condition caught up with McNeil in the NFL. He went to training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004 and was with the New England Patriots in 2005 when they let him go.
Kerryon Johnson
Madison Academy's Kerryon Johnson runs the ball for a touchdown over Dale County Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014, during the AHSAA Super 7 3A championship game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. (Julie Bennett/ jbennett@al.com) AL.comAL.com
5. (TIE) Kerryon Johnson, RB/DB, Madison Academy
Total points: 26
Winning year: 2014
The skinny: Johnson ran for 1,659 yards and 25 touchdowns for the Mustangs as a senior. He also caught 22 passes for 598 yards and eight TDs. On defense, he had 71 tackles, five forced fumbles and six interceptions. In Madison Academy’s state title victory over Dale County, Johnson touched the ball 10 times – scoring on six. Finished career with 19 interceptions.
Other contenders in 2014: Ty Pigrome, Clay-Chalkville; Jamarius Henderson, Dale County.
College: Auburn. Johnson rushed for 2,494 yards and 32 touchdowns on 519 carries. In 2017, he rushed for 1,391 yards and 18 TDs and helped Auburn to the SEC Championship game.
NFL: Drafted in the second round of the 2018 draft by the Detroit Lions. Rushed for 1,225 yards and 8 TDs on 283 carries in three years and 34 games with the Lions.
Andre Smith
Huffman's Andre Smith later won the Outland Trophy while playing for Alabama. (Jerry Ayres | Birmingham News file photo) bn
4. Andre Smith, OT, Huffman
Total points: 42
Winning year: 2005
The skinny: Smith remains the only offensive lineman ever to win Mr. Football. He was credited with 88 pancake blocks as a senior.
Other contenders in 2005: Tim Hawthorne, Homewood; Chris Smelley, American Christian; Terrell Zachary, Wadley; Nick Gentry, Prattville
College: Alabama. Smith won the 2008 Outland Trophy and was a two-time first-team All-SEC selection. In his final year, he led the team with 103 key knockdowns and allowed just one sack and six pressures.
NFL: No. 6 overall pick in 2009 by the Cincinnati Bengals. Played 121 games for the Bengals, Vikings, Cardinals and Ravens, starting 98.
Julio Jones
Former Foley wide receiver Julio Jones makes a catch against Daphne. (AL.com File Photo)
3. Julio Jones, WR, Foley
Total points: 45
Winning year: 2007
The skinny: Jones caught 68 passes for 1,179 yards and 16 touchdowns for Todd Watson’s Lions as a senior.
Other contenders in 2007: Anthony Landrum, Sweet Water; William Green, Spain Park; Barrett Trotter, Briarwood Christian; Justin Rogers, Vestavia Hills; Justin Albert, Prattville; Tim Simon, Cordova
College: Alabama. Started 40 games in three years. Finished his college career with 179 receptions for 2,653 yards and 15 TDs. In his final year, Jones caught 78 passes for 1,133 yards and 7 TDs.
NFL: Drafted No. 6 overall by the Atlanta Falcons in 2011. In 12 seasons overall, Jones has 903 receptions for 13,629 yards and 63 TDs. He played 10 seasons with the Falcons, one with the Titans and last year with Tampa Bay.
Etowah running back Carnell Williams stiff arms Williamson defensive back Demetrius Howze on the way to a long gain in the first quarter of the state championship game at Legion Field. (Adam Rust | Post-Herald)ph
2. Carnell Williams, RB, Etowah
Total points: 46
Winning year: 2000
The skinny: Cadillac ran for 2,620 yards and 38 touchdowns as a senior. During his junior and sophomore seasons, he rushed for a combined 3,129 yards and 43 scores.
Other contenders in 2000: Kendal Gibson, Aliceville; Patrick Billings, Hazlewood; Keldrick Williams, Sidney Lanier; Kenneth Darby, Butler; Spencer Pennington, Fayette County; Justin Tuck, Coosa Central
College: Auburn. Rushed for 3,831 yards and 45 touchdowns on 741 carries in four years on the Plains. He ran for 1,307 yards as a junior and 1,165 as a senior.
NFL: Drafted No. 5 overall by the Tampa Bay Bucs in 2005. Played six seasons for the Bucs and one for St. Louis, rushing for 4,047 yards and 21 TDs on 1,055 carries. Also scored 4 receiving TDs. He was named 2006 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
David Palmer
Jackson-Olin's David Palmer is shown during a game vs. Ensley in 1990. (Birmingham News file photo by Jeff Roberts)bn
1. David Palmer, ATH, Jackson-Olin
Total points: 61
Winning year: 1990
The skinny: Palmer received four of the seven first-place votes in the poll. The “Deuce” – playing quarterback, tailback, wide receiver and defensive back – rushed for 2,119 yards and 26 touchdowns and passed for 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also was a return specialist.
Other contenders in 1990: Patrick Nix, Etowah; Sherman Williams, Blount; Robert Davis, Homewood; Damian Jefferies, B.B. Comer; Bart Yancey, Briarwood Christian; Harold Morrow, Maplesville
College: Alabama. Palmer was a consensus first-team All-American and a finalist for the Heisman Trophy as a junior. He caught 102 passes in three seasons for 1,611 yards and 11 touchdowns. He rushed 86 times for 598 yards and a touchdown. He completed 15 of 20 passes for 260 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. He returned 83 punts for 865 yards and four touchdowns and ran back 36 kickoffs for 841 yards.
NFL: Drafted in the second round by the Minnesota Vikings in 1994. He caught 73 passes for 631 yards in his pro career and had 4,884 return yards and 5 total TDs.
Four players appeared on all seven ballots: David Palmer, Julio Jones, Cadillac Williams, DeMarco McNeil
David Palmer received four of the seven first-place votes. Julio Jones, Cadillac Williams and Pierre Goode received one each.
Others receiving Top 10 points: Pierre Goode (15), Mac Campbell (14), Robert Davis (7), Tyler Johnston (6), La’Damian Webb (5), Kool-Aid McKinstry (5), Freddy Weygand (2), Lectron Williams (1)
Voting panel: Ben Thomas, AL.com; Mike Herndon, former AL.com/Press-Register reporter; Josh Bean, former AL.com/Press-Register reporter; Randy Kennedy, former Press-Register sports editor, current talk show host Sports Talk 99.5 FM in Mobile; Brett Beaird, talk show host WYTK-FM 93.9; Dennis Victory, AL.com; Daniel Boyette, former AL.com high school writer.
1982: Tommy Compton, Vigor
1983: Freddy Weygand, Emma Sansom
1984: Rod Green, Gardendale
1985: Pierre Goode, Hazlewood
1986: Larry Ware, Lee-Montgomery
1987: Robert Jones, Parker
1988: Darrell Williams, Vigor
1989: Steve Coleman, Pike County
1990: David Palmer, Jackson-Olin
1991: Robert Davis, Homewood
1992: Freddie Kitchens, Etowah
1993: Thomas Banks, West Jefferson
1994: Dawud Rasheed, Shades Valley
1995: Gorman Thornton, Jeff Davis
1996: Antoneyo Williams, Central-Tuscaloosa
1997: Mac Campbell, Alexandria
1998: DeMarco McNeil, Blount
1999: Cory Whisenant, Springville
2000: Carnell Williams, Etowah
2001: Brandon Cox, Hewitt-Trussville
2002: JaMarcus Russell, Williamson
2003: Chris Nickson, Pike County
2004: Jarod Bryant, Hoover
2005: Andre Smith, Huffman
2006: Larry Smith, Prattville
2007: Julio Jones, Foley
2008: Clint Moseley, Leroy
2009: Coty Blanchard, Cherokee County
2010: Jamal Golden, Wetumpka
2011: T.J. Yeldon, Daphne
2012: Jeremy Johnson, Carver-Montgomery
2013: Roc Thomas, Oxford
2014: Kerryon Johnson, Madison Academy
2015: Tyler Johnston, Spanish Fort
2016: La’Damian Webb, Beauregard
2017: Asa Martin, Austin
2018: Bo Nix, Pinson Valley
2019: Kristian Story, Lanett
2020: Ga’Quincy McKinstry, Pinson Valley
2021: Ryan Peppins, Thompson
2022: Ryan Williams, Saraland
NEXT SUNDAY: 10 players you won’t believe weren’t Mr. Football.

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