A total of 22 players from the Chattanooga area have been selected to the preseason all-state team featured in Murphy Fair's annual prep football preview magazine for Tennessee. Fair, who has been publishing a preseason team and individual player outlook for 32 years, named at least one area player to his all-state teams in seven of the nine TSSAA classifications.
That includes six teams with multiple area players who were honored, led by South Pittsburg with five players on the Class 1A all-state team. Meigs County (2A) and Red Bank (4A) each had four.
Red Bank, which reached the 3A semifinals last season and has moved up to 4A, had a foursome led by defensive back Reco Trimble - who has offers from Arkansas, Ole Miss and North Carolina State among other college programs - as well as kicker Jake Wright. Lions offensive lineman Delmetrius Gustus was joined by his twin brother Delmontae, who was selected as a defensive lineman.
"Anytime a young man can be recognized from our team at a statewide level, we consider it an honor for our entire program," Red Bank coach Chris Brown said. "We're particularly proud of the balance, having at least one guy in all three phases of offense, defense and special teams. That's a direct reflection of the talent level and the coaches on our staff working with those guys to get the most out of their ability."
The all-state selections for Meigs County, the 2A state runner-up each of the past two seasons, were offensive lineman Austin Andrews, receiver Cam Huckabey, defensive back Logan Carroll and linebacker Ben Smith. Also in 2A, Marion County, which is now in the same region as Meigs, had athlete Taye Hutchins and offensive lineman Michael Showalter on the list.
For South Pittsburg, which finished as 1A state runner-up last season and has reached at least the quarterfinals in 12 of the past 14 seasons, the selections were defensive lineman Gio Davis - who has offers from Tennessee, Arkansas, Arizona State and Ole Miss - senior running back De'Andre Kelly - who ran for more than 900 yards despite missing five games last season - tight end Reginald Hunter, junior defensive back Jayden Mount and sophomore kicker Cooper Keown.
"There's some really good talent on this team. There's a lot of potential, but now all our guys have to go out there and prove what they can do," said Chris Jones, who is preparing for his first season as coach of the Pirates.
On the Division II-AAA team, Baylor's honorees were Virginia-committed linebacker Trey McDonald and 6-foot-6, 280-pound junior offensive lineman Brycen Sanders, who has offers from Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina among others. The 5A selections included two Rhea County players: linebacker Drew Fisher and defensive back Jadden Pankey.
According to Murphy Fair's website, the magazine is available in Chattanooga at Big Ridge Cleaners on Hixson Pike, Mountain City Cleaners on Broad Street, Carriage Cleaners on Signal Mountain Boulevard and Dayton Boulevard.
Murphy Fair’s Preseason All-State Team
Chattanooga-area selections for 2021, with school in parentheses and height, weight, grade and position at which the player was selected:Division II-AAA — Trey McDonald (Baylor), 6-4, 230, Sr., LB; Brycen Sanders (Baylor), 6-6, 280, Jr., OL.DII-AA — Karson Gay (Boyd Buchanan), 6-6, 230, Sr., TE.Class 6A — Destun Thomas (Cleveland), 6-3, 190, Sr., WR.5A — Drew Fisher (Rhea County), 5-11, 210, Sr., LB; Jadden Pankey (Rhea County), 5-10, 175, Sr., DB.4A — Delmetrius Gustus (Red Bank), 6-1, 250, Sr., OL; Delmontae Gustus (Red Bank), 6-0, 275, Sr.; Reco Trimble (Red Bank), 6-1, 185, Sr., DB; Jake Wright (Red Bank), 5-10, 170, Sr., K.2A — Austin Andrews (Meigs County), 6-3, 280, Sr., OL; Logan Carroll (Meigs Conty), 5-11, 205, Sr., DB; Cam Huckabey (Meigs County), 6-1, 185, Sr., WR; Taye Hutchins (Marion County), 5-10, 170, Sr., ATH; Michael Showalter (Marion County), 6-1, 320, Sr., OL; Ben Smith (Meigs County), 5-11, 215, Sr., LB.1A — Gio Davis (South Pittsburg), 6-4, 285, Sr., DL; Addison Hook (Copper Basin), 6-2, 265, Jr., OL; Reginald Hunter (South Pittsburg), 6-3, 220, Sr., TE; De’Andre Kelly (South Pittsburg), 6-0, 195, Sr., RB; Cooper Keown (South Pittsburg), 5-7, 170, So., K; Jayden Mount (South Pittsburg), 5-9, 165, Jr., DB.