Breaking down contenders for state’s top player on offense
We are heading into the stretch run of the high school football season. The playoffs begin next month. What better time to take a look at The Oklahoman's All-State Offensive Player of the Year race.
Here's a look at the numbers, achievements and how these potential candidates could win. Just because a player isn't on this list doesn't mean they won't be considered once the season ends.
More than 30 players were considered, but here are 11 having the best offensive seasons across the state, in alphabetical order:
CJ Brown, Beggs
Brown is a big reason for the Golden Demons' 5-1 start, including a win against then-No. 1 Tulsa Metro Christian in Week 6. The senior running back, who's committed to Oklahoma State, has 1,171 rushing yards on only 87 carries with 16 touchdowns. Brown was expected to have a big season, and he has done that and then some, making Beggs a serious title contender in Class 2A.
Max Brown, Tulsa Lincoln Christian
Brown has been the state's best quarterback to this point. The senior, who's committed to Central Michigan, has led Lincoln Christian to a 7-0 record with an offense that has scored at least 49 points in all but one game. Brown has completed 91 of 121 passes for 1,584 yards and 25 touchdowns to only one interception. He has also rushed for 731 yards on 64 attempts with 10 scores.
Emmanuel Crawford, Grove
The junior running back came into the season primed for a breakout year, and he has done exactly that. Grove is 6-0 and looks like a team ready to make a run in Class 4A, and Crawford is a big reason why. He has rushed for 1,364 yards and 23 touchdowns so far, having an eerily similar dominant season as former Tulsa Edison running back Sevion Morrison did in 2018.
Camden Crooks, Cushing
Crooks broke out as a sophomore and came into his junior season with high expectations. He has delivered thus far on both sides of the ball, but he has been outstanding offensively. His 51 receptions for 838 yards and 12 touchdowns have helped the Tigers to a 5-1 record, with their only loss coming to topranked Tuttle to open district play.
Gavin Freeman, Heritage Hall
The recent Texas Tech commit is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. A first-team All-State selection at wide receiver as a junior, Freeman is again playing stellar as a senior. Through six games, Heritage Hall is undefeated, and Freeman is scoring in every facet of the game. He has seven receiving touchdowns, one rushing and four on special teams, and he has racked up more than 1,000 all-purpose yards.
Isaiah Gray, Lawton MacArthur
Lawton MacArthur is off to its best start since 2016, and Gray is a huge reason why. The senior running back gives the Highlanders one of their most dynamic playmakers in recent years. In six games, Gray has 109 carries for 913 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also has five catches for 91 yards and a score. If Gray continues to lead Lawton MacArthur to success, he has a case to be an All-State player at the end of the year.
Landon Lagasse, Cashion
Lagasse has tried to fill the void left after second-team All-State wide receiver Brexten Green graduated, but he has been tremendous. The senior wide receiver has 55 catches for 1,008 yards and 20 touchdowns, helping Cashion to a 6-1 record. Receiver is a deep position across the state, but Lagasse has been one of the best this season and that shouldn't change.
Erik McCarty, McAlester
McCarty earned a selection as a second-team All-State running back following his sophomore season, so he came into his junior year with high expectations and has met them. McAlester is 6-0 and ranked second in Class 5A, with McCarty a big reason why. He has rushed for 713 yards on 69 carries with 14 touchdowns and has a receiving touchdown.
Braylin Presley, Bixby
The reigning Offensive Player of the Year was clearly going to be on this list, and the title is his unless someone can take it. Presley plays his best on the biggest stages. He has played only one full game this season, but the Oklahoma State commit has still managed to rush for 616 yards and eight touchdowns, catch 30 passes for 362 yards and three scores and also has 18 passing yards with the Spartans undefeated.
Michael Taffe, McGuinness
Perhaps the state's biggest breakout athlete is Taffe, a junior running back. He came into the season knowing his role was going to increase, but he has become one of the best offensive players in Oklahoma. Through six games, he has 143 carries for 1,088 yards and 21 touchdowns. Taffe also has 21 receptions for 157 yards as well as two passing completions for 111 yards.
Zane Woodham, Tulsa Holland Hall
The defending Class 3A state champions had a big void to replace on the offensive side of the ball, and Woodham has done just that. The senior running back has 96 carries for 961 yards and 12 touchdowns, helping top-ranked Holland Hall to a 6-0 record. If he continues his strong play, the Dutch will be tough to knock off in 3A and likely be favored to win back-to-back titles.