By Maurice Patton
Destin Wade became the second Summit player in four years to be named a TSSAA Tennessee Titans Mr. Football finalist, as the Spartans junior quarterback joined fellow Class 5A honorees Kalib Fortner of Knoxville Central and Prince Kollie of David Crockett in being so recognized during an online announcement Tuesday.
The winner will be named during a Dec. 8 ceremony at Nissan Stadium.
“It’s great for the program,” Summit coach Brian Coleman said as the Spartans approach Friday’s Class 5A state playoff quarterfinal matchup with host Beech. “Tai (Carter) was a great kid, a great player, and Destin’s a great kid, a great player.
“It’s great recognition for him, it’s great for the team, and he’s always going to give credit to the guys in front of him. I think it shows we’re doing things right as a program, that we’re getting these type accolades.”
Despite playing just six games during the regular season because of the pandemic – and seeing limited action in some of those – Wade has rushed for 999 yards and thrown for 879 yards, while accounting for 26 total touchdowns, including playoff victories over Hillwood and Columbia Central.
“We’re not chasing numbers with him,” Coleman said. “Against Spring Hill (in Week 2), we were up three scores and we pulled him at halftime. We’re trying to keep him healthy, and he’s fine with that. People need to see that and take that into account and do the math. I appreciate their understanding that that’s how his numbers were.”
Carter was a 2017 Class 5A finalist, rushing for 1,225 yards and 14 touchdowns before sustaining a season-ending knee injury as Summit advanced to the state quarterfinals and lost 21-16 to Beech. Knoxville Catholic’s Cade Mays was named the winner, with Southwind’s Jordan Davis also a finalist. Carter is currently playing at Tennessee Tech.
Coming off a trip to the state finals a year ago, Wade has helped the Spartans to an 11-1 performance thus far.
“He showed Friday night – if we need a big play, he’s a big playmaker,” Coleman said, referring to Wade’s 242-yard, three-TD rushing performance along with a passing score in Summit’s 28-14 win over Columbia Central.
“I guess that’s been reflected and seen across the state by the coaches and the media, and it’s great to see. And he goes (into the season) thinking he’s got his twin brother with him before Keaten gets the injury – a lot falls on his shoulders, and he’s embraced it and done a great job with that also.”
Independence senior quarterback Jaxson Campbell, who had been named a Class 6A Mr. Football semifinalist, did not make the finalist cut despite 1,976 passing yards, 721 rushing yards and 34 total touchdowns in 10 games as the Eagles advanced to the second round of the state playoffs.
The full list of Tennessee Titans Mr. Football finalists follows:
CLASS 1A — Hunter Frame, South Pittsburg; Kyler Parker, Moore Co.; Jared Stone, South Pittsburg
CLASS 2A — Khalik Ganaway, Peabody; Will Meadows, Meigs Co.; Luke Myers, South Greene
CLASS 3A — Anthony Brown, Milan; Grey Carroll, Alcoa; Martino Owens, Pearl-Cohn
CLASS 4A — Troy Parker Hughes, Elizabethton; Rivers Hunt, Hardin Co.; Bryson Rollins, Elizabethton
CLASS 5A — Kalib Fortner, Knoxville Central; Prince Kollie, David Crockett; Destin Wade, Summit
CLASS 6A — Jake Briningstool, Ravenwood; Jalen Hunt, McMinn Co.; C.J. Taylor, Warren Co.
DIVISION II-A — Jon Lewis, Donelson Chr.; Aaron Smith, Jackson Chr.; Griffin Swinea, Davidson Acad.
DIVISION II-AA — James Dunn, Christian Acad. of Knoxville; Langston Patterson, Christ Presbyterian Acad.; Dietrick Pennington, Evangelical Chr.
DIVISION II-AAA — B.J. Harris, McCallie; Dallan Hayden, Christian Brothers; D.C. Tabscott, Father Ryan
KICKER OF THE YEAR — Teagen Lenderink, Brentwood Acad.; Trey Turk, Oakland; Connor Wood, Lexington