Three Chattanooga-area players named Tennessee Titans Mr. Football finalists

Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / Baylor (7) Amari Jefferson avoids a tackle attempt by Knoxville Catholic (5) Quincy Pannell at the Baylor School on Friday, November 17, 2023.
Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / Baylor (7) Amari Jefferson avoids a tackle attempt by Knoxville Catholic (5) Quincy Pannell at the Baylor School on Friday, November 17, 2023.

Three players from the Chattanooga area have been named finalists for the Tennessee Titans Mr. Football award in their respective classification.

When the TSSAA and Tennessee Titans made the announcement Tuesday night, the local trio who were named finalists included McCallie's Carson Gentle and Baylor's Amari Jefferson in Division II-AAA and Bradley Central's Boo Carter in Class 6A.

Five semifinalists in each of the state's nine classifications were announced two weeks ago, with the lists narrowed to three finalists in each class on Tuesday.

Five area players had been named semifinalists, but South Pittsburg quarterback Kamden Wellington and Pirates linebacker Jamarion Farrior were not among the three players in Class 1A to be named finalists.


The award is based solely on each player's regular season performance — playoffs do not factor into the process — and award winners for all nine TSSAA classifications, plus Kicker of the Year, will be announced during a Dec. 5 ceremony at Nashville's Nissan Stadium, home of the Titans.

Gentle, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound hybrid defensive end/linebacker who has committed to the University of Tennessee, was also a semifinalist for the award last year. This season he led the Blue Tornado with 58.5 total tackles, including 45 solos, eight for loss and three sacks, plus four pass breakups.

"Carson is just a freakish athlete," McCallie coach Ralph Potter said. "He would be the best player we've got at whatever position he played. He's such a good linebacker for us because he can rush the passer and also defend receivers out in space. On offense, he's a great blocking tight end who also has great hands and can make plays after the catch.

"He's a four-year starter — it's been a long time since we had someone start as a freshman — who is extremely smart and physical. He can make all the calls on getting everyone lined up correctly and he's become a much more vocal leader this year in terms of making sure everyone is handling their responsibility."

Jefferson, a 6-foot, 200-pound receiver committed to Alabama, had 53 catches for 877 yards (16.6 per catch average) and 12 touchdowns during the regular season.

"I think his skill set speaks for itself, and it's evident to anybody who watches him," Baylor coach Erik Kimrey said. "What should also be recognized is just the quality of human he is and the leader he's become for us.

"Amari is a high-level competitor who takes pride in everything he does. The way he approaches the game reverberates throughout the team because of the example he sets."

Baylor (10-2) and McCallie (11-1) will face off next Thursday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. in the BlueCross Bowl. Those two have combined to win each of the past four D-II AAA state titles, so regardless of the outcome the championship will remain in Chattanooga for a fifth consecutive year. The Blue Tornado avenged last year's loss to the Red Raiders with a dramatic 34-31 win during the regular season.

Bradley Central's Carter, who is also committed to Tennessee, compiled 1,145 all-purpose yards, including 55 catches for 911 yards and 12 TDs, during the regular season. The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder also returned two punts for scores and had 71 total tackles (four for loss) and an interception for the top-ranked Bears (13-0), who host three-time defending state champion Murfreesboro Oakland (11-2) in Friday's semifinals.

This is the 39th 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 other two finalists in each category. The other semifinalists will each receive a certificate.

Contact Stephen Hargis at [email protected].


2023 Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Finalists

DIVISION I, CLASS 1A

Ben Franklin, Cornersville

Cameron Schlicht, Dresden

Dawson White, Moore County

DIVISION I, CLASS 2A

Isaiah Groves, East Robertson

Darien Meza, Mt. Pleasant

Stone Wallace, Riverside

DIVISION I, CLASS 3A

Radarious Jackson, Sheffield

Skylan Smith, Covington

Brandon Winton, Jr., Alcoa

DIVISION I, CLASS 4A

Gabe Borders, Macon County

Zeion-LaFrederick Simpson, Pearl Cohn

KeShawn S. Tarleton, Pearl Cohn

DIVISION I, CLASS 5A

Eric Hazzard, Page

Kelvin Perkins, Southwind

Dominic Reed, Centennial

DIVISION I, CLASS 6A

Boo Carter, Bradley Central

Braden Graham, Riverdale

Daune Morris, Oakland

DIVISION II, CLASS A

JayLen Mosley, Jackson Christian School

Brian Shields, First Assembly Christian School

Tyson Wolcott, Friendship Christian School

DIVISION II, CLASS AA

Markeis Barrett, Webb School of Knoxville

Ty Clark, Franklin Road Academy

Crews Law, Christ Presbyterian Academy

DIVISION II, CLASS AAA

Kaleb Beasley, Lipscomb Academy

Carson Gentle, McCallie

Amari Jefferson, Baylor

KICKER OF THE YEAR

Grant Chadwick, Tullahoma

Daniel Echeverria, Mt. Juliet

Owen Taylor, Knoxville Halls


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