The Sun's High School football players of the year

Football players of the year, Columbia's Laremy Tunsil, left, and Trenton's Cedric Stokes.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Tuesday, December 25, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 24, 2012 at 5:20 p.m.


Laremy Tunsil, Columbia


The nation's top offensive line prospect showed why this season as the Columbia Tigers had one of the most potent rushing attacks in the area before falling at Navarre in the Class 6A regional finals. Behind the 6-foot-6, 305-pound senior, Tiger running back Ronald Timmons enjoyed a breakout season, rushing for 1,811 yards and 22 touchdowns. Tunsil was credited with 90 pancake blocks, which means many of his blocks completely took out defenders from making tackles. He often faced double teams and chopped blocks in trying to penetrate the Columbia offensive line. Prior to their game against Gainesville, Hurricanes' coach James Thomson called Tunsil one of the best high school players he has ever seen. The offensive tackle, who was the Florida Dairy Farmers Class 6A Player of the Year, has attracted college attention ever since he was a freshman and another Tiger, Tim Jernigan, was the big recruit in Lake City. The frenzy to land Tunsil will only escalate as signing day approaches.

Personal notes

It was Southern Cal that made the first college offer to Tunsil when he was a freshman. “It was exciting and weird at the same time,” he said, smiling. Of course, the offers started pouring in ever since his sophomore year and college scouts have his cell phone number (changed twice) on speed dial. He purposely ignored the attention during the season, instead focusing on the Tigers' goal of winning a state title. He said Florida is out of the picture and his current top three are Georgia, Alabama and Ole Miss. But also he sort of left his recruiting door open. “You never know, someone else might step in,” he said. Tunsil said he will announce his decision live on ESPN on National Signing Day on Feb. 6.


“I'm taking it one day at a time, I wish I had more time, actually,” Tunsil said of the recruiting process. “I don't let it get to me or get a big head about it because there is always room for improvement.”


Cedric Stokes, Trenton


It has been the greatest season in Trenton football history as the Tigers completed their second straight unbeaten regular season and advanced all the way to the state title game in Orlando. And leading the way was No. 4, Cedric Stokes, the Florida Dairy Farmers Class 1A Player of the Year. The senior running back topped the 2,000-yard mark in the state championship game, finishing the season with 2,014 yards and 28 touchdowns. Although Trenton fell to Bratt Northview, 42-21, the journey to the title game will live with Tiger fans forever. Stokes ran for 199 yards and scored two touchdowns before an incredible crowd of supporters who made the trip from Gilchrist County to the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando. “I didn't think we had that many people in Trenton,” he said. “The fans were behind us 100 percent and that felt great.”

Personal notes

Unlike a lot of athletes, Stokes is not one to boast about his accomplishments. He does most of his talking on the field. One of his best games of the season came in the regional finals against Lafayette, a team the Tigers had beaten to open the season. Trailing 19-7 late in the first half and pinned back at its own 1-yard line, Stokes ripped off his longest run of the season, an 88-yard breakaway sprint to the Lafayette 11. Trenton scored two plays later and the momentum totally changed in the game. The Tigers went on to win, 42-26, ironically the same score they won the first time they played the Hornets in the season-opener. Stokes finished with a season-best 207 yards in the game.


“It was a great season this year, and the guys I played with were amazing,” Stokes said. “I wish we could have won it at the end. It was great making it that far. I knew with the team we had, it would be a pretty good season this year.”

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