The Lexington Herald-Leader is proud to present its 26th edition of the Class of the Commonwealth, an annual selection of the state’s top football-playing seniors.
All choices were made by Herald-Leader reporter Josh Moore using criteria which included: career stats and accomplishments, senior-season stats and accomplishments, recruiting rankings and advancement in the postseason. Each of the 12 state finalists were guaranteed at least one selection.
In addition to the 25 members selected for inclusion, five honorable mentions were named.
Tyrese Allen, Paintsville
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Credentials: Part of teams that played in the state semifinals (2016) and region finals (2017), going 24-3 in those two years. Considered a three-star defensive tackle by 247Sports. Led Paintsville in rushing (882 yards, 17 TDs) and had 42 tackles this season.
Jay Becherer, Elizabethtown
Credentials: Was named Class 3A Player of the Year by the Kentucky Football Coaches Association. Among the leading tacklers and had back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons as a junior and senior for the Panthers, who reached the state semifinals in all three of his years on the varsity roster. Ended his career with 2,401 rushing uards and 46 total TDs.
Nick Bohn, Trinity
Credentials: As a senior — his only year as a starter — he converted 290 of 364 passing attempts this season, a 79.7 percent completion rate. That’s a national record, topping the previous all-time mark of 75.1 percent set by Leslie County star Tim Couch in 1994. Was part of back-to-back undefeated Class 6A titlists in 2016 and 2017.
Kameron Butler, Covington Catholic
Credentials: Three-star defensive end who’s committed to Miami (Ohio) and who anchored a CovCath defense that allowed only 7.7 points per gane en route to the program’s first undefeated season in 2017. Finished his career with 234 tackles, seven interceptions, four fumble recoveries, three defensive TDs and five TD receptions.
Will Bramel, Boyle County
Credentials: Purdue commit was part of the first group of seniors who were freshmen when Chuck Smith rejoined the program in 2014. Three-star offensive tackle for a line that generated nearly 3,800 rushing yards for the Rebels’ championship team this season.
Saul Brady, Franklin-Simpson
Credentials: Closed his Wildcats career with his third straight 1,000-yard rushing season and the program’s first state title since 1980. Two-time state finalist over his career had 3,910 rushing yards and 44 TDs on offense and recorded 241 tackles and five interceptions on defense.
Jairus Brents, Waggener
Credentials: In the course of his career Brents, who’s being recruited as a cornerback and is considered the top prospect in the state’s class of 2018, did a little bit of everything for the Wildcats. He’s not yet chosen a school from a list that includes Duke, Michigan State, Pittsburgh and Wisconsin.
Brayden Burch, Beechwood
Credentials: Played for three teams that made the state finals, winning in 2016 and 2017. Threw for 4,376 yards and 49 TDs in two years as the program’s starting quarterback. He’s started at catcher for the school’s baseball team since he was a sophomore.
Jake Chisholm, Ryle
Credentials: Became the Raiders’ all-time leading rusher after a monster season — 2,315 yards and 33 TDs — and will be among this season’s Mr. Football contenders. Rushed for 4,709 yards and 64 TDs and had 1,104 receiving yards and nine TDs over his career. Was named KFCA Class 6A Player of the Year and has received offers from Butler, Dayton and Morehead State.
Brice Fryman, Scott County
Credentials: Had back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons for the Cardinals, ending his career with 2,711 yards and 31 TDs. He also recorded eight TDs on 17 career catches. Also a standout in the outfield for the baseball team, which has appeared in back-to-back state tournaments.
Blake Gamble, Johnson Central
Credentials: Rushed for career-highs of 1,883 yards, 24 TDs and 10 two-point conversions after being thrust into lead-back duties when the Golden Eagles’ returning starter, Joe Jackson, was injured in their season-opener. Finished his career with 138 tackles, nine interceptions, seven TD receptions and three fumble recoveries.
Kyle Hurt, Mayfield
Credentials: Fullback who tied for the team lead with 11 TD runs and led the Cardinals in tackles as a senior. Was part of teams that played for three state championships, winning in 2014 and 2015. Described as the “heart and soul of the team” by Mayfield Messenger reporter Eric Walker.
Luke Lemaster, Raceland
Credentials: Kicked the winning field goal in the state semifinals as time expired to send the Rams to their first state finals appearance in program history. Kicked 102 extra points and 13 field goals in his career.
Lorenzo Linsey, Wayne County
Credentials: Finished his career with 6,132 passing yards, which ranks among the top 100 career totals in state history. Threw 68 TDs for the Cardinals, who reached the state semifinals in all three seasons that Linsey was their starting quarterback. Named Class 4A Player of the Year by the KFCA.
J.R. Lucas, Collins
Credentials: Set the school record with 100 career TD passes, good for 13th in state history. Threw for 7,706 yards, which is good for 36th in state history, and rushed for 2,315 yards and 24 TDs in the course of four years.
A.J. Mayer, Covington Catholic
Credentials: Threw for 7,602 career yards (40th in state history) and 77 TDs in three years as CovCath’s starting quarterback. Also rushed for 1,595 yards and 33 TDs in his career. Led an offense that averaged 45 points per game and put a running clock into effect against every Kentucky opponent in 2017.
Omari Milligan, DeSales
Credentials: Led the Colts in tackles in 2017 (62) and 2016 (75). Was an All-District player and played in the East-West All-Star Game in Louisville this season. Coach Harold Davis said Milligan was a leader who always did what was asked of him.
Rondale Moore, Trinity
Credentials: Saw limited action as a junior due to eligibility issues, but had 327 yards and eight TDs on only 15 catches in three postseason games that year. Followed that up with a highlight senior season, going for 1,461 yards (25th in single-season KHSAA history) and 16 TDs on 104 catches (tied for fourth most in a single season). Moore, part of two undefeated state championship teams, also rushed for 505 yards and five TDs. Was presented the 2017 Paul Hornung Award by the Louisville Quarterback Club.
Nick Olsofka, Christian Academy of Louisville
Credentials: Yale commit was part of CAL’s first state championship team in 2016 and was the leading tackler (88) for its 2017 team that reached the state semifinals. Offensive and defensive All-District selection by the Greater Louisville Football Coaches Association.
Cameron Sizemore, Corbin
Credentials: His career total of 6,760 passing yards will place him among the top 100 quarterbacks in state history while his 85 career TD passes are good for 23rd all-time. Threw for 2,500-plus yards and 30-plus touchdowns in his final two seasons with the Redhounds, leading them to the state finals in 2017. Also finished with career rushing totals of 1,501 yards and 27 TDs.
Carter Smith, Madison Southern
Credentials: Finished with 3,027 career rushing yards and 41 TDs. Had 449 receiving yards and five TDs in his time with the Eagles, which ended in the school’s first appearance in a state championship game. Recorded 596 career tackles, five fumble recoveries (one returned for a TD) and three interceptions (one returned for a TD).
Wyatt Smock, St. Xavier
Credentials: Vanderbilt commit was rated as a three-star offensive guard and the nation’s 40th best player at that position by 247Sports. Was part of a Tigers squad that this season ended a state finals drought of seven years.
D’Mauriae VanCleave, Danville
Credentials: Do-it-all speedster ended his career with 3,012 receiving yards (18th all-time), 1,317 rushing yards, 73 TDs, 112 tackles and 16 interceptions. His 220 career receptions will be the seventh-most in the KHSAA record books. One of only 20 players in state history to have recorded four or more interceptions in a single game (four versus Boyle County in 2016). Led Danville to a state championship as a senior.
Derek Wellman, Belfry
Credentials: Won three state championships with the Pirates and rushed for 2,818 yards and 42 TDs in his career. Also ranked among the team leaders in tackles in his final three seasons, finishing his career with 351.
Dillon Wheatley, Lexington Christian
Credentials: His 107 total TDs — 101 rushing — rank sixth all-time in KHSAA history. The Eagles’ bell cow for the last three seasons finished with 6,204 career rushing yards and had 161 career tackles on defense. Was part of the first team in school history that went undefeated in the regular season (2016) and was part of three straight region finalists. Named 2017 Lexington Player of the Year by the Herald-Leader.
Charles Allen, Doss (OL): Purdue commit part of Dragons’ strong turnaround and district titlist in 2017.
Justin Blackburn, Ludlow (QB): Finished fifth in rushing and scored more TDs (35) than any other player in 2017.
Justice Dingle, Bowling Green (LB): Georgia Tech commit was part of the Purples’ 2016 state championship team and led the team with 109 tackles as a senior.
Heath Simmons, Ohio County (QB): Threw for 2,442 yards and 32 TDs to lead Eagles to their first winning season since 2011.
Dalton Williams, Bourbon County (LB): Set a school record with 532 career tackles after a recording single-season record of 211 as a senior.