The Folsom QB turned in arguably the greatest season by any QB in state history, which frankly made it quite difficult to even consider anyone else. He joins the all-time state list that goes back for more than 100 years.
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For a list of our all-time players of the year for juniors, sophomores, medium schools and small schools back to the 1920s, CLICK HERE.
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After the final game, a 68-7 conquest of Oceanside in the CIF Division I state bowl championship, it was fairly certain that Folsom senior quarterback Jake Browning was going to be the Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Football State Player of the Year.
We always like to talk to each year’s winner if we can but we knew that Browning was going to be long gone from Folsom in early January as a new student at the University of Washington. This required asking him for a cell phone number after the Oceanside game, which he supplied and we also basically told him why we were going to call.
Today is the day it becomes official, another crowning moment after an unforgettable season, as Browning is indeed the Mr. Football honoree for the state for 2014.
Browning was contacted in Seattle on Friday evening and told Cal-Hi Sports he was honored, but couldn’t talk or be quoted due to an athletic department policy that prohibits speaking with the media.
In becoming Mr. Football for 2014, Browning had to win out over six other finalists. They were Ben Burr-Kirven (Atherton Sacred Heart Prep), Miles Harrison (Concord Clayton Valley), Trent Irwin (Newhall Hall), Malik Lovette (Redlands East Valley), Javon McKinley (Corona Centennial) and Josh Rosen (Bellflower St. John Bosco).
Although there are other quarterbacks from California’s Class of 2015 who are higher than Browning on recruiting lists, Browning is high on those same lists as well and just becomes an overwhelming choice for player of the year with the amazing totals he and his teammates accumulated.
In leading Folsom to a 16-0 record, the CIF Division I state title and to the No. 2 overall state ranking behind CIF Open Division champ De La Salle of Concord, Browning passed for 5,704 yards and 91 touchdowns. He didn’t break his own state record of 5,737 yards set during his junior season, but he crushed his own state mark for TDs and tied the national record of 91 set in 2008 by Corey Robinson from Lone Oak of Paducah, Ky.
It’s Browning’s career totals, however, that really set him apart. With 16,689 yards and 229 TDs over three seasons, Browning broke the previous state records of 11,022 yards and 145 touchdowns much similarly to the way in which De La Salle broke the previous national win streak record.
To see the updated state single-season passing records, you need to be a Gold Club member. For details, CLICK HERE.
Browning is not the first Folsom QB to be Mr. Football, either. In 2010, Dano Graves, who was more of a run-pass QB and did not throw it nearly as much as Browning, won the state’s top honor. To find another winner from the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section, however, you have to go back to 1981 for running back Kevin Willhite from Cordova of Rancho Cordova (same school district as Folsom). Before that, it’s Don Burnside of Sacramento Grant for 1943 although the SJS didn’t even exist then.
Both Browning and Graves were tutored in the Folsom system by co-head coach and offensive coordinator Troy Taylor, who along with co-head coach Kris Richardson has built the Folsom behemoth.
“This is fantastic,” Taylor told Cal-Hi Sports when reached on Friday night. “What an honor but there couldn’t have been a more deserving player. He’s a once in a lifetime guy, but all things have to come together to put up the totals he did. It’s a combination of going 44-2 and having that kind of ability.”
Graves led Folsom to the 2010 CIF Division II bowl game title.
“They were different in a lot of ways, but both were incredible competitors with knowledge of the game and very intelligent,” Taylor said.
Taylor, who began coaching Browning at age 10, saw some indications when he was a sophomore that he could see the field and feel plays develop almost as if it was slow motion.
“It’s all of those immeasurables and intangibles that make him very special,” Taylor said. “If Jamarcus Russell and Joe Montana both went to a quarterback camp, they’d rank Russell first because he’s so athletic but we know there’s a big difference.”
Here is the all-time list of Mr. Football State Players of the Year (all selected by Cal-Hi Sports but done retroactively based on research prior to 1975 by our late founder, the great Nelson Tennis):
2014 — Jake Browning (Folsom) QB
2013 — Adoree’ Jackson (Serra, Gardena) WR-DB
2012 — Michael Hutchings (De La Salle, Concord) LB
2011 — Deontay Greenberry (Washington Union, Easton) WR-DB
2010 — Dano Graves (Folsom) QB
2009 — Dillon Baxter (Mission Bay, San Diego) QB-RB
2008 — Tyler Gaffney (Cathedral Catholic, San Diego) RB
2007 — Milton Knox (Birmingham, Lake Balboa) RB
2006 — Aaron Corp (Lutheran, Orange) QB
2005 — Toby Gerhart (Norco) RB
2004 — Desean Jackson (Poly, Long Beach) WR-DB-KR
2003 — Sean Norton (Hart, Newhall) QB
2002 — Whitney Lewis (St. Bonaventure, Ventura) WR-RB
2001 — Derek Landri (De La Salle, Concord) OL-DL
2000 — Tyler Ebell (Ventura) RB
1999 — D.J. Williams (De La Salle, Concord) RB-LB
1998 — Kyle Boller (Hart, Newhall) QB
1997 — DeShaun Foster (Tustin) RB
1996 — Rod Perry (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) WR-DB
1995 — Chris Claiborne (J.W. North, Riverside) RB-LB
1994 — Daylon McCutcheon (Bishop Amat, La Puente) RB-DB
1993 — Keith Smith (Newbury Park) QB
1992 — Travis Kirschke (Esperanza, Anaheim) OL-DL
1991 — Amani Toomer (De La Salle, Concord) WR
1990 — Napoleon Kaufman (Lompoc) RB
1989 — Ryan Hancock (Monta Vista, Cupertino) QB
1988 — Tommie Smith (Antelope Valley, Lancaster) RB-DB
1987 — Bret Johnson (El Toro) QB
1986 — Russell White (Crespi, Encino) RB (Soph.)
1985 — Terry Rodgers (Sweetwater, National City) RB-KR
1984 — Aaron Emanuel (Quartz Hill) RB
1983 — Ryan Knight (Rubidoux, Riverside) RB
1982 — John Paye (Menlo School, Atherton) QB
1981 — Kevin Willhite (Cordova, Rancho Cordova) RB
1980 — Michael Alo (Banning, Wilmington) FB
1979 — Kerwin Bell (Edison, Huntington Beach) RB
1978 — John Elway (Granada Hills) QB
1977 — Marcus Allen (Lincoln, San Diego) QB
1976 — Freeman McNeil (Banning, Wilmington) RB
1975 — Charles White (San Fernando) RB
1974 — Myron White (Santa Ana Valley) RB
1973 — Frank Manumaluena (Banning, Wilmington) LB
1972 — Wally Henry (Lincoln, San Diego) RB
1971 — John Sciarra (Bishop Amat, La Puente) QB
1970 — Pat Haden (Bishop Amat, La Puente) QB
1969 — James McAlister (Blair, Pasadena) RB
1968 — Jesse Freitas (Serra, San Mateo) QB
1967 — Calvin Jones (Balboa, San Francisco) RB (Jr.)
1966 — Mickey Cureton (Centennial, Compton) RB
1965 — Greg Jones (South San Francisco) RB
1964 — George Buehler (Whittier) LB-OL
1963 — Tim Rossovich (St. Francis, Mountain View) LB
1962 — Steve Grady (Loyola, Los Angeles) RB
1961 — Mike Garrett (Roosevelt, Los Angeles) RB
1960 — Kent Nance (Madera) RB
1959 — Willie Brown (Poly, Long Beach) RB
1958 — Daryle Lamonica (Clovis) QB
1957 — Jim Josephson (Bellarmine, San Jose) FB
1956 — Randy Meadows (Downey) RB
1955 — Mickey Flynn (Anaheim) RB (Jr.)
1954 — Dick Bass (Vallejo) RB
1953 — C.R. Roberts (Oceanside) RB
1952 — Ronnie Knox (Santa Monica) QB
1951 — Marty Keough (Pomona) RB
1950 — Charley Powell (San Diego) E
1949 — Paul Larson (Turlock) HB
1948 — Johnny Olszewski (Long Beach St. Anthony) FB
1947 — Hugh McElhenny (L.A. Washington) FB
1946 — Al Pollard (L.A. Loyola) HB
1945 — Paul Haynes (Pasadena) HB
1944 — Jackie Jensen (Oakland) HB
1943 — Don Burnside (North Sacramento Grant) QB
1942 — Glenn Davis (La Verne Bonita) QB
1941 — Billy Agnew (Piedmont) HB
1940 — Tommy Fears (L.A. Manual Arts) E
1939 — Johnny Petrovich (Alhambra) QB
1938 — Jim Jurkovich (Fresno) FB
1937 — Frankie Albert (Glendale) QB
1936 — Mike Klotovich (San Francisco Mission) HB
1935 — Kenny Washington (L.A. Lincoln) QB
1934 — Doyle Nave (L.A. Manual Arts) HB
1933 — Vic Bottari (Vallejo) QB
1932 — Nello “Flash” Falaschi (San Jose Bellarmine) HB
1931 — Larry Lutz (Santa Ana) T
1930 — Charles “Chili” Bertoli (Berkeley) HB
1929 — Ervin “Cotton” Warburton (San Diego) QB (Jr.)
1928 — Orv Mohler (Alhambra) QB
1927 — Gus Shaver (Covina) HB
1926 — Erny Pinckert (San Bernardino) FB
1925 — Francis Tappaan (Los Angeles) T
Note: List continues back to 1890 in the ESPN RISE Cal-Hi Sports Record Book & Almanac.