Dutch Fork running back Matt Colburn said he was "at a loss for words" after being named the 2014 South Carolina Mr. Football award winner on Saturday.
"It’s crazy. I can’t even believe it," he said. "It means a great deal to me. It makes all that hard work, blood, sweat and tears all the more memorable."Colburn is the 20th winner of the award that is recognized as the state’s top individual honor in high school football. The winner was announce during halftime of the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Bowl.
He joins a list of past winners that includes South Carolina stars Jadeveon Clowney, Marcus Lattimore and Stephon Gilmore.
Colburn will play college football at the University of Louisville in 2015. He made his college commitment last June, three months before his senior season began at Dutch Fork.
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Though injured for a portion of his final high school season, Colburn managed to rush for 1,264 yards and 24 touchdowns. He finished his three-year career with 4,997 rushing yards and 84 touchdowns.
In 2013, the Colburn led the Silver Foxes to the 4-A state championship, rushing for 2,289 yards and 36 touchdowns. Dutch Fork lost in the state title games in 2012 and 2014.
"This year has kind of been, I wouldn’t say a down year, but last year in terms of stats and in terms of the way me and my team finished, it was more favorable than this year," Colburn said. "It’s just a great way to top off a career which included a lot of grinding early in the morning, a lot of sacrifices, a lot of injuries"Colburn won the award over four other prep standouts: Dorman wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Northwestern quarterback Dupree Hart, Wren quarterback Kelly Bryant and Summerville offensive lineman Zack Bailey.
"It's just an honor even to be considered," Colburn said. "If you would have told me a few years ago that I would be a finalist for Mr. Football, I would have looked at you like you were crazy."
Arcega-Whiteside, a Stanford commitment, was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year last week. He said being a finalist for the state’s top honor is a great feeling.“It’s definitely a big honor,” he said. “I never really thought a couple of years ago that I’d be up for this prestigious honor. I’m just happy I got nominated. I’d like to congratulate Matt Colburn. He deserves it.”
The South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association established the South Carolina Mr. Football award as part of the annual North vs. South All-Star Game in 1995. The association selects the finalists and recipient.