Archbishop Hoban’s Lamar Sperling, Cleveland Heights’ Darreon Fair named Ohio Mr. Football finalists

Strongsville vs. Cleveland Heights, September 23, 2022

Cleveland Heights quarterback Darreon Fair breaks open a long run for a touchdown against Strongsville.John Kuntz,


CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The OHSAA and Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association have announced the finalists for the 36th Ohio Mr. Football Award. Cleveland Heights’ Darreon Fair and Archbishop Hoban’s Lamar Sperling have been named finalists for the state’s most prestigious award. Medina’s Drew Allar, last season’s winner, was the first area winner since Wadsworth’s Joey Baughman in 2017.

The winner of the 2022 edition will be announced Dec. 1 in Canton prior to the start of the OHSAA football state championships. The OPSWA All-Ohio teams will begin being released on Monday, Dec. 5.

The OPSWA district chairpersons and officers have selected seven outstanding student-athletes as finalists for the 2022 Ohio Mr. Football Award. The voting process is nearly identical to that used to determine the Heisman Trophy winner in college football.

Voting is currently underway for the 218 registered OPSWA members and will end at noon on Monday, Nov. 28.

Ohio’s Mr. Football was selected by the Associated Press from 1987-2016. Since 2017 it has been presented by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association.

2022 Ohio Mr. Football Nominees

Darreon Fair, Cleveland Heights, 5-11, 175, sr., QB

The Northeast Lakes District Division I Offensive Player of the Year scored 40 total TDs and led the Tigers to a 9-1 record. He rushed for 1,318 yards and 29 TDs on 116 attempts and threw for 644 yards and 11 TDs on 41 of 75 passing.

CJ Hester, Wyoming, 5-11, 190, SR, RB/DB

The three-time Southwest District Division IV Offensive Player of the Year carried the ball 228 times for 2,081 yards (9.1 yards per carry) and 33 TDs in the regular season as the Cowboys finished undefeated and No. 2 in the final AP poll. He currently has 2,967 yards and 46 TDs on 331 carries for a top-seeded D-IV state semifinalist. Among the school records he set this year were most rushing yards in a game (351), most rushing TDs in a game (7) and most points scored in a game (42). The Western Michigan recruit has rushed for 6,951 yards in his career and has 110 total TDs.

Diore Hubbard, Gahanna Lincoln, 5-11, 185, jr., RB.

Through 14 games the Central District Division I Offensive Player of the Year has rushed for 2,306 yards on 309 carries (7.5 average), has 287 yards receiving on 22 receptions and has 29 total TDs for a top-seeded state semifinalist.

Jordan Marshall, Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller, 5-11 200, jr., RB

He carried the ball 161 times for 1,290 yards (7.9 average) and 20 TDs and caught 16 passes for 278 yards and four TDs in the regular season. Currently has 1,796 yards and 27 TDs on 217 carries for a top-seeded Division I state semifinalist. Named GCL South Player of the Year and Southwest District Division I Offensive Player of the Year.

Lamar Sperling, Archbishop Hoban, 5-10, 190, sr., RB

The Northeast Inland District Division II Offensive Player of the Year has logged 339 carries, 3,348 rushing yards and 51 rushing touchdowns in 14 games. The Buffalo recruit ran for 2,934 yards and 41 TDs in 16 games last year.

Connor Walendzak, Perrysburg, 5-11, 195, sr., RB

The Toledo recruit and Northwest District Division I Offensive Player of the Year ran 166 times for 1,320 yards and 18 touchdowns in the regular season. He also finished with 102 tackles (14.5 for loss), 3.5 sacks, one interception and three forced fumbles. He was named Northern Lakes League Player of the Year and first-team all-conference at running back and linebacker. He was also a first-team All-Ohio running back in 2020 and on the second team in 2021.

Mason Wolfe, Millersburg West Holmes, 6-3, 190, sr., QB

The East District Division IV Offensive Player of the Year completed 137 of 195 passes (70.3% completion) for 2,511 yards, 34 TDs and only two INTs. He added another three rushing TDs for the Knights, who finished the regular season 10-0 and ranked No. 3 in the Division IV state poll. He directed an offense that averaged 51 points per game.

Information about the OPSWA is available at:

Ohio Mr. Football Winners (including college choice):

1987: Buster Howe, RB-DB-K-P, Zanesville, Ohio State

1988: Robert Smith, RB, Euclid, Ohio State

1989: Robert Smith, RB, Euclid, Ohio State

1990: Bobby Hoying, QB, St. Henry, Ohio State

1991: Derek Kidwell, QB-DE, Fostoria, Bowling Green

1992: Marc Edwards, RB-LB, Norwood, Notre Dame

1993: Curtis Enis, RB-LB, Mississinawa Valley, Penn State

1994: Charles Woodson, DB-RB, Fremont Ross, Michigan

1995: Andy Katzenmoyer, LB, Westerville South, Ohio State

1996: Derek Combs, RB-DB-KR, Grove City, Ohio State

1997: Tony Fisher, RB, Euclid, Notre Dame

1998: Ryan Brewer, RB, Troy, South Carolina

1999: Bam Childress, DB-WR-KR, Bedford St. Peter Chanel, Ohio State

2000: Jeff Backes, RB-DB, Upper Arlington, Northwestern

2001: Maurice Clarett, RB, Warren G. Harding, Ohio State

2002: Ben Mauk, QB, Kenton, Wake Forest/Cincinnati

2003: Ray Williams, RB, Cleveland Benedictine, West Virginia

2004: Tyrell Sutton, RB, Archbishop Hoban, Northwestern

2005: Delone Carter, RB, Copley, Syracuse

2006: Brandon Saine, RB, Piqua, Ohio State

2007: Bart Tanski, QB, Mentor, Bowling Green

2008: Erick Howard, RB, North Canton Hoover, Akron

2009: Erick Howard, RB, North Canton Hoover, Akron

2010: Akise Teague, RB-DB-KR, Youngstown Ursuline, Cincinnati

2011: Maty Mauk, QB, Kenton, Missouri/Eastern Kentucky

2012: Mitch Trubisky, QB, Mentor, North Carolina

2013: Dante Booker Jr., LB, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, Ohio State

2014: Joe Burrow, QB, Athens, Ohio State, Louisiana State

2015: Keishaun Sims, RB-DB, Massillon Perry, Ashland University

2016: Michael Warren, RB, Toledo Central Catholic, University of Cincinnati

2017: Joey Baughman, QB, Wadsworth, Elon University

2018: Cade Stover, SS-RB, Lexington, Ohio State University2019: Evan Prater, QB, Cincinnati Wyoming, University of Cincinnati

2020: Corey Kiner, RB, Cincinnati Roger Bacon, Louisiana State

2021: Drew Allar, QB, Medina, Penn State

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