UK commit and Highlands quarterback Patrick Towles has been named Kentucky's 2011 Mr. Football.
By Associated Press
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Dale Mueller knew he was safe when he called Patrick Towles the best player in Kentucky after Highlands' win Dec. 3 over Franklin-Simpson in the Class 4A championship.
Towles was selected as Kentucky's Mr. Football 2011 by The Associated Press after voting across the state by 15 media members.
"It's a true honor to be considered the best player in the state of Kentucky," said Towles, who collected nine votes ahead of Louisville Central's Anthony Wales (three votes), Louisville Trinity's James Quick (two votes) and Johnson Central's J.J. Jude (one vote) in the Player of the Year poll.
"The only thing that really matters to me is winning," Towles added. "I think the fact that I won three state championships - leading us to them - is why I got it."
A verbal commitment to the University of Kentucky, Towles threw for 3,820 yards and 42 touchdowns this season as Highlands notched its 21st state championship and fifth in a row. Mueller called Towles, who also rushed for 589 yards and 15 touchdowns, a "dynamic" player.
Towles also threw just one interception in the Bluebirds' 15 games.
"That's like a misprint," Mueller said. "There may never have been a stat like that. It's almost laughable. If high school coaches see that, they'd say, `No, that can't be correct."'
Towles joins Highlands receiver Austin Sheehan on the Kentucky All-State Football Team. Defensive lineman Devin Bruns and defensive back Drake Bruns represent the Bluebirds on the first-team defense.
Towles started his high school career as Highlands' backup freshman team quarterback, a far cry from the best player in the state.
"Now he's winning awards," Mueller said of Towles, also named the Paul Hornung Award winner and Gatorade Player of the Year in Kentucky. "He's just that same humble guy who tries hard every day."
Towles came to spring football before his sophomore year and beat out the quarterback ahead of him as a freshman. He progressed to second string at the junior varsity level as a sophomore and had his named called with the Bluebirds playing then-No. 2 in the country Cincinnati St. Xavier on national television.
"I came in the St. X game as a skinny sophomore who probably weighed 180 pounds, but I just had great players around me," Towles said.
Highlands beat St. Xavier, finished 15-0 in 2009, and Towles took the Bluebirds' starting quarterback job from that point forward. Throughout his high school career, Towles passed for 7,429 yards and 73 touchdowns, and he lost just once.
As important as winning to Mueller is Towles' personality - " a man in the truest sense of the world" - which the Highlands coach attributed that to the quarterback's upbringing.
On his mother's side of the family, Towles' grandfather is Jim Bunning, former Major League Baseball pitcher and Kentucky state senator. On his father's side are three generations of police officers.
"If you had to count on Pat for anything, you can just rely on him coming through for you - whatever it is," Mueller said. "He's like a 28-year-old man in so many ways, and he's also like a 7-year-old boy when it comes to sports. He's just so happy to be a part of it. Games are so fun to him."
Towles will continue his career at the Football Bowl Subdivision level. He reaffirmed his commitment to Kentucky after the state title game, saying, "If I could write my name in stone right now I would."
The 6-foot-5, 232-pound quarterback will visit Kentucky officially on Friday. He said he remains "150 percent" on board with becoming a Wildcat.