West Rowan senior Dinkin Miller's favorite athlete is the Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson. This season, Miller had the kind of season Peterson would probably be proud of.
Miller, a 5-foot-9, 175-pound senior, led his team to a fourth straight appearance in the N.C. 3A championship game. Today, he's named the Charlotte Observer All-Region Offensive Player of the Year.
Miller rushed 361 times for 2,572 yards and 26 touchdowns. He was the North Piedmont 3A Conference Player of the Year.
Each year, the Observer names all-star teams for the 127 high schools in its coverage area in North and South Carolina. The All-Region team encompasses schools outside of Mecklenburg County within the newspaper's coverage zone; the All-Mecklenburg team, coming Saturday, is made up of the best players in the immediate Charlotte area; the All-Observer team, which will be released Sunday, is the best players from the entire area.
The teams are picked by the Observer's high school sports staff and players must be nominated from their schools to be considered.
The All-Region Defensive Player of the Year is Fred T. Foard's Tanner Fleming, who had a remarkable season. Fleming, a 6-2, 280-pounder, finished the year with 80 tackles, including 25 for loss. He also had 12 sacks, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Fleming blocked 12 kicks - five punts, six point-afters and a field goal. He returned two of the blocked punts for touchdowns. He's a two-time all-conference pick who has committed to Air Force.
The All-Region Coach of the Year is South Pointe rookie Strait Herron, who led his team to a 14-1 record and a 42-27 win against previously unbeaten Bluffton in the S.C. 3A championship game. It was the Stallions' second state title in three seasons.
Note: The All-Mecklenburg team will appear in Saturday's editions, followed by the All-Observer team Sunday with the final Sweet 16 football and the Carolinas Top 50 high school football recruits.
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
QB: B.J. Beecher, Concord, 6-7, 190, Jr: Completed 190-of-340 passes for 2,936 yards and 33 touchdowns.
WR: B.J. Boyd, Rock Hill Northwestern, 6-0, 170, Sr.: Picked for North-South all-star game and being heavily recruited by Georgia Southern, Boyd caught an area-best 97 passes for 1,295 yards and 14 touchdowns.
WR: Jordan Oakley, Porter Ridge, 5-11, 185, Sr.: Caught 52 passes for 756 yards and 12 touchdowns, helping his team to a 14-1 record and first N.C. 4A championship appearance. Had 72 tackles, 6 interceptions and 12 pass breakups on defense.
WR: Jarvis Morgan, West Rowan, 6-3, 180, Sr.: 48 catches for 1,015 yards and 13 scores for all-conference and all-county selection. West Rowan completed 84 passes all season en route to a fourth straight N.C. 3A finals appearance.
RB: Troy Leeper, South Point, 5-10, 188, Sr.: Ran for 2,105 yards and 36 touchdowns in 11 games. Gaston Gazette offensive player of the year. Also named Big South conference offensive player of the year.
RB: Dinkin Miller, West Rowan, 5-10, 180, Sr.: Ran 361 times for 2,572 yards and 26 touchdowns. North Piedmont conference offensive player of the year led his team to N.C. 3A championship game.
OL: Thomas LaBianca, Porter Ridge, 6-3, 282, Sr.: Had 42 pancake blocks this year helping his team reach the N.C. 4A championship. Coastal Carolina recruit and two-time all-conference pick didn't allow a sack in two years.
OL: Hunter Mashburn, West Rowan, 6-1, 230, Sr.: Two-year starter and Shrine Bowl pick anchored one of the area's top rushing attacks.
OL: Dylan Hopper, Crest, 6-3, 285, Sr.: Top offensive lineman for two-time N.C. 3AA finalist. Two-time all-conference pick led his team in pancake blocks. Committed to Gardner-Webb.
OL: Karson Sherrill, Lake Norman, 6-3, 300, Sr.: Overall blocking grade of 82 percent with 21 pancake blocks. Played last five games with broken hand; all-conference pick.
OL: Jamie Collmar, Forestview, 6-3, 285, Sr.: Graded 95 percent for a line that produced two 1,000-yard rushers. Florida International recruit.
ATH: Tay Hicklin, Rock Hill South Point, 6-1, 180, Sr.: Played WR, DB, PR and KR. Had 67 tackles with 1 interception and 11 pass breakups on defense; completed 4-of-6 passes for 192 yards, 3 TDs; returned 6 kicks for 146 yards, TD; S.C. Shrine Bowl pick.
KR/PR: Jody Fuller, Sun Valley, 6-1, 205, Sr.: Dangerous return man also caught 65 passes for 800 yards and 16 TDs, rushed for 350 yards and 5 TDs. Committed to South Carolina.
K: Tyler Cochran, Marvin Ridge, 5-9, 160, So., K: Made 7-of-8 field goals with a long of 43; also was 47-for-47 on PATs. All Southern Carolina pick.
Offensive player of the year: Miller, West Rowan
Coach of the year: Strait Herron, Rock Hill South Pointe
Defensive player of the year: Tanner Fleming, Fred T. Foard
SECOND TEAM OFFENSE
QB: Brandon Littlejohn, Burns, 6-0, 175, Sr.
RB: Dee Littlejohn, Lincolnton, 6-1, 218, Sr.
RB: Darius Ramsey, Burns, 5-9, 180, Sr.
WR: Jaylen Barbour, Monroe, 5-8, 160, So.
WR: Kamron Summers, West Iredell, 5-11, 180, Sr.
TE: Jay Jay McCullough, Nation Ford, 6-5, 232, Sr.
OL: Quinton "Stumpy" Hubbard, Maiden, 5-9, 280, Sr.
OL: Zach Brown, Mooresville, 6-2, 260, Sr.
OL: Roger Prince, Albemarle, 6-6, 280, Jr.
OL: Jeffrey Lawing, South Point, 6-3, 228, Sr.
OL: Alex Nicholson, Fort Mill, 6-2, 285, Sr.
ATH: Cameron Mattox, South Iredell, 5-9, 185, Sr.
KR/PR: C.J. Gibbs, West Iredell, 5-6, 155, Sr.,
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
DL: Jonathan Bullard, Crest, 6-4, 260, Sr.: Big South co-defensive player of the year had 16 sacks and 82 tackles. U.S. Army All-American will attend Clemson, Florida or South Carolina.
DL: Carlos Watkins, Chase, 6-4, 290, Sr.: 7 tackles per game and had 15 sacks, plus an interception, 5 forced fumbles and 4 fumble recoveries. U.S. Army All-American.
DL: Tanner Fleming, Fred T. Foard, 6-2, 280, Sr.: 80 tackles, 25 for losses; also had 12 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 12 blocked kicks. Verbally committed to Air Force.
DL: Carlos Wray, Shelby, 6-2, 265, Sr.: Verbally committed to Duke, Wray had 91 tackles, 16 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks.
LB: Jordan Forney, South Point, 6-0, 210, Sr.: Co-Big South player of the year on defense, Forney had 136 tackles and 3 caused fumbles.
LB: Logan Stoodley, West Rowan, 6-0, 215, Jr.: 180 tackles, 3 interceptions and 2 caused fumbles for West defensive MVP of the 2011 3A championship game.
LB: David Crouch, South Caldwell, 6-2, 190, Sr.: Had 147 tackles, 6 sacks, 8 forced fumbles, 1 punt block and 2 PATs blocked. Two-time all-county pick.
DB: Corey Neely, Rock Hill South Pointe, 6-1, 170, Sr.: 72 tackles, 18 pass breakups, 7 interceptions, 6 defensive TDs. Also returned 11 kicks for 395 yards and 14 punts for 266 and 3 TDs.
DB: Rhaheim Ledbetter, Crest, 6-0, 200, Sr.: 45 tackles, 4 sacks for Florida commit and Shrine Bowl pick. On offense, ran for 1,059 yards and 20 scores.
DB: Marcus Kincaid, Freedom, 5-10, 185, Sr.: 130 tackles, 6 tackles for a loss, 3 interceptions and 25 pass breakups. On offense, caught 37 passes for 580 yards and 7 TDs. Shrine Bowl pick.
DB: Chris Duffy, Porter Ridge, 6-0, 185, Jr.: Had 55 tackles, 5 interceptions plus 1,500 total yards and 22 touchdowns on offense for N.C. 4A runner-up. Two-time all-conference and all-county pick.
P: Bradley Pinion, NW Cabarrus, 6-6, 220, Sr.: 52 punts for a 46 yard average; had 19 punts inside the opponents' 20. He had 52 touchbacks on 57 kickoffs. Clemson recruit and U.S. Army All-American is a three-time conference special teams player of the year.
SECOND TEAM DEFENSE
DL: Scoop Coleman, Mooresville, 5-9, 220, Jr.
DL: Greg Dixon, West Rowan, 6-1, 275, Sr.
DL: Charles Wilkes, Mooresville, 6-3, 250, Sr.
DL: Mason Sledge, Monroe, 6-3, 245, Sr.
LB: Easton Sprabary, First Assembly, 5-11, 215, Sr.
LB: Deon Pillsbury, Mount Pleasant, 6-1, 180, Sr.
LB: Martavion Moore, Mooresville, 5-11, 205, Sr.
DB: Scott Miller, South Iredell, 5-10, 185, Jr.
DB: Dominique Roseboro, Crest, 5-11, 175, Fr.
DB: Montay Crockett, Rock Hill South Pointe, 6-2, 180, Sr.
DB: Nortavious Otis, Ashbrook, 6-1, 180, Sr.
P: Matt Wogan, Porter RIdge, 6-2, 195, Jr.