Despite falling one step shy of its goal of reaching the Division II-AAA state championship, the strong season turned in by McCallie's football team has been recognized with four players earning a place on the Tennessee Sports Writers Association all-state team.
Dual threat quarterback DeAngelo Hardy, along with defensive players Dre Taylor, Quindarrius Dunnigan and Brandon Benn all were honored on the D-II AAA team. Making the D-II AA squad were Notre Dame athlete Cam Wynn and offensive lineman Jacob Brigman as well as Chattanooga Christian running back Mondo Ellison.
Grace Academy defensive back Cade Tinsley and offensive lineman Austin Starr were selected all-state in Division II-A.
Hardy, a junior who also earned Mr. Football semifinalist honors, ran for more than 1,100 yards, threw for more than 1,200 and totaled 20 touchdowns. Taylor anchored the Blue Tornado defensive line with 28 solo tackles, nine more for loss and three sacks, while Dunnigan helped lead one of the state's stingiest defenses with 97 tackles and eight more for loss from his linebacker position. Benn had 51 total tackles and nine pass breakups for a unit that allowed barely more than 10 points per game.
"D-Lo is a really hard-nosed competitor who did everything we asked an more to make our offense go," said Blue Tornado coach Ralph Potter. "I think Dre was the best defensive lineman in our league. He's explosive and dominated the line of scrimmage all year. Quindarrius runs really well, especially for a guy his size, and he's very smart and a great leader. Brandon is a great tackler at safety who made a lot of big plays. He's an SEC or ACC caliber talent."
Besides the versatile Wynn's work in the defensive backfield, the Mr. Football semifinalist also had 1,286 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns and averaged 12 yards per reception with two more TDs and Brigman anchored a Fighting Irish offense that averaged 42 points per game.
"You can put Cam out there and he'll shut down an entire side of the field with his ability to cover any receiver one-on-one," Notre Dame coach Charles Fant said. "He was a home run hitter on offense too and scored more than 60 touchdowns in his career. He's just been fantastic for us.
"Brigman has got a hard job because he has to be able to move and block the toughest defender, but he did an incredible job. He's aggressive and completes every block and that's what makes him so special."
Ellison, despite missing nearly three full games with injury, earned his second straight all-state recognition by rushing for 910 yards (averaging more than 7 yards per carry).
Tinsley led Grace Academy in tackles from his safety position and also totaled more than 2,700 offensive yards. The Eagles ran behind the 6-foot-2, 315-pound Starr's blocks at left tackle on nearly 70-percent of their offensive plays.
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