The 2012 football season was a whirlwind Center lineman Maliek Collins may have hoped for, but it was certainly one he never expected.
Playing for a Class 3 school, Collins felt his talents would be overshadowed during his senior season. That proved untrue, though, when he received a scholarship offer from Missouri before the year.
As the fall progressed, the offers came pouring in. Kansas, Nebraska, Tulsa and Iowa State, among others, threw their hats in the ring.
“It’s exciting,” Collins said of his options. “I haven’t made up my mind yet. I want to see what each one has to offer.”
In the meantime, Collins is still reeling in the awards. As part of the Simone Awards ceremony last week at Blue Springs High School, he was named the winner of the Bobby Bell Award for the best lineman or linebacker in Class 1-4 in the Kansas City metro area.
Collins had 115 tackles and 15 sacks for Center, which finished 10-3 and reached the Class 3 quarterfinals. He also had 86 pancakes while starting at offensive tackle.
“I didn’t know if I’d have a chance or not coming from a school like Center, but I felt like I worked hard for this award,” Collins said. “I felt like I deserved it on the inside, but I had to see what everybody else thought.”
Blue Springs tailback Dalvin Warmack took home the top honor of the Thomas A. Simone Award, given to the most outstanding player, and the Wildcats received a second winner when defensive end Elijah Lee won the Buck Buchanan Award for the top lineman or linebacker.
Lee had 15.5 sacks for the Wildcats after transferring from St. Joseph Central this offseason.
Warmack and Lee played two seasons of little league football together.
“Growing up with each other, we accomplished big things,” Lee said. “But we still have another year to do more.”
Perhaps most exciting for Blue Springs, winners of the Class 6 state championship this season, is that Warmack and Lee are both juniors.
Park Hill South senior Craig Scott was much less surprised to win the Otis Taylor Award. Scott said one of several preseason goals was to win the award honoring the top wideout in Kansas City.
“I planned out everything to win this year,” Scott said after the ceremony. “I worked hard for this, so yeah, I thought I was going to win.”
Scott received some groans — somewhat sarcastically — after winning the award. After all, he beat out Blue Springs wide receiver Darrius Shepherd, who was in front of his home crowd for the announcement.
Shepherd was deserving of his finalist nomination after he tallied 957 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns, in addition to four return scores on special teams. Plus, he totaled those numbers for a team that won the Class 6 state championship.
Holden running back Max Mickey took home the Frank Fontana Award for the most outstanding player in Class 1-4, besting two-time finalist Antwynn Beavers of Liberty North, a senior running back that rushed for 1,748 yards to close out his high school career. Mickey set a single-season state record with 3,233 yards to go along with 43 touchdowns.