The first group of Tennessee Sports Writers Association all-state football teams for 2020 has been released, and the Chattanooga area has eight total players on the initial lists. Classes 6A and 5A are the first to be announced, with 4A and 3A coming out Tuesday, 2A and 1A released Wednesday and all three Division II classes announced Thursday.
The all-state teams for cross country will be announced Friday, and golf honorees will be revealed Saturday. Girls' soccer selections will be revealed later.
McMinn County had a pair of players on the 6A team: Tennessee Titans Mr. Football finalist Jalen Hunt at running back — he also made notable contributions as a defensive back this year — and offensive lineman Bryce Goodner. They were joined by Bradley Central's Javon Burke, an 1,800-yard rusher who also started in the secondary and earned the recognition at defensive back, where the University of Tennessee Chattanooga signee intercepted two passes and had 20 solo tackles.
In 5A, Walker Valley had three players honored: quarterback Tucker Pope, receiver Brody Swafford and linebacker Eli Denton. They were joined by Soddy-Daisy linebacker Rhett Stottlemire and Rhea County linebacker Drew Fisher.
Hunt, a Tennessee State signee, led the state, regardless of classification, with 2,451 rushing yards (averaging 223 per game) and 27 touchdowns, much of that coming behind the blocking of Goodner, who signed with Virginia Tech.
Pope, who also signed with Tennessee State, threw for 1,866 yards and 20 touchdowns to lead the Mustangs to eight victories, including the program's first home playoff win. He also ran for 438 yards and 12 scores.
Swafford had 867 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, and he was especially dangerous on special teams, where he had 469 return yards and three scores. Denton had 72 tackles, including 49 solos and 10 for loss, plus two fumble recoveries.
"This just speaks to how far we've come as a program in two short years and where we're going," Mustangs second-year coach Drew Akins said. "We've got a lot of momentum, and it's exciting for us as coaches to see their hard work pay off.
"Tucker transferred and made such an impact in his two years. He deserves all the accolades he's getting. Brody was our team leader. He's who our guys looked to and fed off of. When we needed a play, he's who we went to, and he had a knack for making the big play, whether on offense or special teams.
"Eli is just a sophomore, so his future is so bright. We've changed our defense from giving up 40 points to just 14 per game this season, and we leaned on him a lot to help us improve."
Fisher finished among the Chattanooga area's tackles leaders with 120, including 14 for loss and four sacks. He was also the Region 4-5A defensive player of the year. Stottlemire's 79 total tackles ranked third in the area during the regular season, and he also forced two fumbles.
TSWA ALL-STATE FOOTBALL
QB – Cade Granzow, Brentwood
QB – Jaxson Campbell, Independence
RB – Jalen Hunt, McMinn County
RB – Jordan James, Oakland
RB – Robert Giaimo, Bartlett
WR – Walker Merrill, Brentwood
WR – Isaiah Horton, Oakland
WR – Jake Briningstool, Ravenwood
OL – Bryce Goodner, McMinn County
OL – Graham Keating, Oakland
OL – Fisher Anderson, Franklin
OL – Harrison Wilkes, Germantown Houston
OL – Zach Ferguson, Dobyns-Bennett
ATH – Ray Banner, LaVergne
K – Upton Bellenfant, Stewarts Creek
DL – Lou Burchfield, Maryville
DL – Javon Nelson, Riverdale
DL – Ethan Hassler, Collierville
DL –Jackson Martin, Dobyns-Bennett
LB – Brent Rowe, Hendersonville
LB – Spencer Rich, Brentwood
LB – Junior Colson, Ravenwood
LB – Justin Jefferson, Bartlett
DB – John Howse IV, Brentwood
DB – D.J. Burks, Maryville
DB – Javon Burke, Bradley Central
DB – Ellis Ellis, Hendersonville
ATH – CJ Taylor, Warren County
P – Trey Turk, Oakland
QB – Destin Wade, Summit
QB – Tucker Pope, Walker Valley
RB – Jermarcus Johnson, Henry County
RB – De’Sean Bishop, Knoxville Karns
RB – Shawn Gary, South-Doyle
WR – Liam Fortner, Knoxville Central
WR – Micah Simpson, Morristown East
WR – Brody Swafford, Walker Valley
OL – David Hull, South-Doyle
OL – Brady Cash, Knoxville Central
OL – Brycen Hodges, Powell
OL – Cooper Koch, Summit
OL – Carter Szydlowski, Columbia Central
ATH – Jason Foust, Powell
K – Ewan Johnson, South-Doyle
DL – Levi Herald, South-Doyle
DL – Jaxon Adams, Oak Ridge
DL – Andrew Gilbert, Knoxville West
LB – Rhett Stottlemire, Soddy-Daisy
LB – Kalib Fortner, Knoxville Central
LB – Drew Fisher, Rhea County
LB – Eli Denton, Walker Valley
LB – Ethan Scott, Knoxville West
DB – Prince Kollie, David Crockett
DB – Preston Sisler, South-Doyle
DB – Preston Turner, Oak Ridge
DB – Jawan Odoms, Henry County
ATH – Shannon Blair, Knoxville West
P – Ryan Bolton, Knoxville Central