Gold Hel­met fi­nal­ists

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

Valor Chris­tian quar­ter­back Dy­lan McCaf­frey is the win­ner of the 2016 Den­ver Post Gold Hel­met Award, beat­ing out three other wor­thy se­nior fi­nal­ists. Here’s ev­ery­thing you need to know about those fi­nal­ists, who are elite football play­ers and scholar-ath­letes in their own right:

Mikey Griebel,

Columbine, QB/RB/S/RET Af­ter be­ing named a first-team all-con­fer­ence quar­ter­back his fresh­man year at Her­itage, Griebel trans­ferred to Columbine and soon be­came the team’s de facto star. He rushed for 2,183 yards over the next two sea­sons while lead­ing the Rebels back into the state ti­tle con­ver­sa­tion, and as a ju­nior car­ried the team on his back to the Class 5A semi­fi­nals. The Univer­sity of North Dakota com­mit switched to quar­ter­back as a se­nior to fill a team need, lead­ing the Rebels to the state quar­ter­fi­nals. He car­ries a 4.0 GPA, has com­pleted an ex­ten­sive amount of com­mu­nity ser­vice and serves as a com­mit­tee mem­ber on the Jef­fco student lead­er­ship sum­mit. Griebel ended his prep ca­reer with 46 var­sity starts, all-con­fer­ence ac­co­lades at four po­si­tions, more than 6,100 to­tal yards, 226 ca­reer tack­les and 82 to­tal touch­downs.

Jonathan Van Di­est

Cherry Creek, DL/LB Van Di­est leaves the sto­ried Cherry Creek pro­gram as one of the most ac­com­plished de­fen­sive play­ers to ever put on a Bru­ins uni­form. He recorded 50 var­sity starts in four years — break­ing a Cherry Creek record es­tab­lished in 1955 — and fin­ished with 38 ca­reer sacks, tied for sec­ond all time with for­mer Den­ver South star and cur­rent Arizona Car­di­nals line­man Calais Camp­bell. Van Di­est, a Univer­sity of Colorado com­mit, posted 62 tack­les as a sopho­more dur­ing the Bru­ins’ Class 5A ti­tle run, and then pro­ceeded to be­come the lynch­pin of the Bru­ins’ bruis­ing de­fense over the next two sea­sons. He has been se­lected to play in the 2017 Un­der Ar­mour All-Amer­i­can Bowl and, out­side the lines, boasts a 4.1 GPA, is a Young Life vice pres­i­dent and vol­un­teers at Mile High Work­shop, which helps em­ploy ex-felons and ad­dicts.

Mar­cus McElroy Jr.

Mullen, RB The Colorado State Univer­sity com­mit ran for 2,605 yards and 38 scores over the past two sea­sons — and av­er­aged 106.8 yards per game this fall — while lead­ing Mullen back into Class 5A state ti­tle con­tention. A ver­sa­tile back, McElroy has the speed to run by de­fend­ers, the raw strength to run over them, and sure hands as a re­ceiver. Mus­tangs coach Tom Thenell calls McElroy “a man of faith, and an ex­am­ple of the kind of in­di­vid­ual who pro­motes an in­clu­sive com­mu­nity,” and that’s a main rea­son why the se­nior has been so heav­ily in­volved in student lead­er­ship at Mullen. He’s one of two stu­dents to serve on Mullen’s strate­gic plan­ning com­mit­tee and is a mem­ber of the Lasal­lian student lead­ers, so he’s had a huge in­flu­ence on shap­ing both the present and fu­ture learn­ing and so­cial en­vi­ron­ment at his high school.

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