|The Simone Award.|
Originally, the award for the best high school football player in the Kansas City metropolitan area was the D.M. Nigro Award. The award was given annually from 1931 until 1975 (the year of D.M. Nigro's death). Following Nigro's death, no top player award was handed out from the years of 1975 to 1982.
In April of 1983, Tommy Simone, a 12-year-old from the Northland was stuck and killed by a police car that was responding to a distress call. Tommy was known as the ultimate competitor and his death left the community in shock. To honor Tommy, his parents came up with the idea of reinstating the annual award for the best high school football player in Kansas City, hence the arrival of the Simone Award.
The Simone Award has been given annually since 1983. The final verdict on the winner of the award is made up of by votes casted by members of the Greater Kansas City Coaches Football Association and select members of the local media. By maintaing the elite prestige of the Simone Award on a yearly basis, the memory of Tommy Simone has been enshrined in Kansas City history.
Perhaps the more recent and most intriguing of the winners include NFL players the likes of Ladell Betts (1996), Darren Sproles (2000), Chase Coffman (2004), and Josh Freeman (2006). But the most interesting thing about many of the winners that haven't gone on to the NFL is the lives they lead after their Simone days that don't necessarily involve the stardom they received in high school.
*****Early Favorites for the 2012 Simone Award
|Montell Cozart. Rivals.com.|
6-foot-2, 180 lbs.
Cozart was the one of four finalists for the Simone Award last season and he's since committed to play football at the University of Kansas (Miege's previous head coach, Tim Grunhard, took the job as KU's offensive line coach this past spring, all but securing Cozart's commitment). By all means Cozart enters the fall of 2012 as the prohibitive favorite to claim the award as the top high school football player in the Kansas City area. His junior numbers were fantastic as he completed 161 of 255 passes for 2,448 yards and 31 touchdowns. He also added 550 rushing yards. He did lose his favorite target from 2011 in Tre' Parmalee (a Kansas commit for the class of 2012) but Cozart should still produce big time numbers.
|Brad Strauss. LJ World.|
6-foot-1, 185 lbs.
The LHS faithful would love nothing more than seeing Strauss become the school's first Simone Award winner since linebacker Jason Thoren claimed the award in 1993. Last season Strauss passed for 1,554 yards and 11 touchdowns, rushed for 707 yards and 11 touchdowns, intercepted three passes on defense and returned a kick for a touchdown. He's a lights-out type of player that should have no problem producing big numbers in his third year as the starter, assuming he can stay healthy (his shift from safety to cornerback on defense should help). I would guess that Strauss will have at least a few non-BCS, FBS offers on the table by season's end as well.
|Trent Hosick. Rivals.com|
Trent Hosick, Staley
6-foot-2, 215 lbs.
Hosick has commited to play quarterback at Mizzou which means he'll get plenty of attention from both high school and Missouri fans alike. His personal statement, which you can read here, is really a piece of work and the type of monologue that seems geared towards inspiring people to recycle their sandals and/or join the Peace Corps. He plays in an offense at Staley that is basically designed to produce Simone Award candidates given its fluidity and high intensity. Right now he's the only player from Missouri who I would consider an early favorite to be amongst the four finalists for the award come December.
|Traevohn Wrench. Rivals.com|
6-foot-0, 185 lbs.
I haven't witnessed Wrench in a game but I've only heard good things about him from those who have. Wrench is a good enough athlete to basically out-maneuver anyone he goes up against and it explains things like his seven touchdown, 458-yard rushing performance last season in Regionals versus Bonner Springs. Wrench has early offers from Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Nebraska, but that list should increase as the season continues. Also, don't forget that Wrench plays for the legendary Marvin Diener, who's coached Kansas high school greats like Terence Newman, Jake Sharp and Bubba Starling and certainly knows how to the put the ball in the hands of his best athletes.
I vividly remember in 2007 when Nathan Scheelhaase won the Simone Award. The school essentially shut down for the day while we celebrated at an assembly. Jared Allen showed up and gave a speech.
Thanks for including the post-Simone lives of the players that didn't make the NFL. It is encouraging to observe young men do good off the football field.
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