Blount Press Row

The Case For Dylan

Hunt, Rebels sound off on Mr. Football finalist QB

Maryville senior and Mr. Football finalist Dylan Hopkins, right, shares a victory moment with Rebel center Tipton Wheeler. Photos by Wallace Bowden

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

Want to get to know a quarterback?

Talk to the guy who snaps him the ball.

It’s no secret Maryville center Tipton Wheeler is one of our favorite Rebels. The guy just balls.

Wheeler is admittedly biased when he says Maryville senior and Mr. Football finalist quarterback Dylan Hopkins is deserving of the state’s highest honor for gridiron success.

“I don’t think there’s a player in the state quite like him,” Wheeler said. “I don’t think you can see somebody that can throw it 70 yards on the money, and then turn around and make five guys miss and run up the sideline for a touchdown from 50.

“I think that makes him unique.”

As No. 2-ranked Maryville (12-1) readies for a Class 6A semifinal visit from No. 1 Oakland (13-0) on Friday, Hopkins has certainly amassed Mr. Football-worthy numbers.

The University of Alabama-Birmingham commitment has completed 130 of his 178 passes (73 percent) for 2,156 yards and 17 touchdowns against three interceptions.

Maryville’s third-leading rusher, the future Blazer has also run for 582 yards on 87 carries with 12 scores.

Hopkins calls for the snap in the Alcoa game.

The numbers are great, but what he’ll remember is the ability Hopkins has to keep things light, Wheeler said, even in the most stressful of big-game moments.

Wheeler tells it better in the accompanying video.

The Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Awards banquet will take place Monday in Nashville. Hopkins said he refuses to let his thoughts get that far ahead. Oakland is the only team to beat the Rebels this season, the Patriots winning, 17-14, in a Week 2 showdown in Murfreesboro.

Oakland enters with the state’s fourth-best defense — 9.1 points per game — encompassing all classifications.

“The biggest thing is being the best quarterback I can be,” Hopkins said. “As long as I can be the best I can be on the field, then that’s all I can ask for.”

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