Ryan Peppins becomes first player from Thompson, Shelby County to win Mr. Football

Published 2:15 pm Thursday, January 13, 2022

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

MONTGOMERY – For the first time in the history of Shelby County, a local football player has been tabbed the state’s best player by the Alabama Sports Writers Association.

At a banquet inside the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel on Thursday, Jan. 13, the ASWA named Thompson senior wide receiver Ryan Peppins the winner of the annual Mr. Football award.

With the honor, Peppins became the first Thompson player and the first from the county to win the award, which dates back to 1982 and has had 40 winners. 

“It feels great,” Peppins said of the historic moment. “God is amazing. My coaches are amazing, my teammates are amazing, the city of Alabaster is amazing.”

He earned the honor after totaling 1,564 yards and 23 touchdowns on 80 receptions during a remarkable senior season.

Going into a semifinal rematch against Hoover this season, he had 1,239 receiving yards. But he had yet to show his best, coming out and taking over games at the position the next two weeks.

Against Hoover, he totaled 121 yards, and then, in the state championship game, he put together a 204-yard showing to earn the MVP award of Thompson’s third consecutive title win.

He finished his career with 2,755 yards and 41 touchdowns on 172 receptions, going for more than 1,000 yards each of the last two seasons.

A Utah signee, Peppins felt slighted by many because of his size, which is something he used to his advantage every time he stepped on the field.

“How do you stop 2? Size doesn’t determine a player, heart determines a player,” Peppins said after winning the award.

The star receiver also thanked the administrators at the high school for pushing him to focus on his schoolwork, while he thanked head coach Mark Freeman and the rest of the coaching staff for providing the players with the tools to be successful.

Lastly, he thanked his family, including his mom and dad, for pushing him every day.

“My mom and dad always pushed me to be the person I am today,” he said.

Peppins joins former winners such as Kool-Aid McKinstry, Bo Nix, T.J. Yeldon, Kerryon Johnson, Julio Jones, Carnell Williams and many more by winning the award.

In addition to earning the award for the best player in the state regardless of classification, Peppins’ day started by winning the Class 7A Back of the Year award, giving it to a Thompson player for the fifth year in a row.

In his time at Thompson, he was named to the All-County First Team as both a junior and senior, while he also earned a spot on the All-State First Team both seasons.

Peppins is now set to join The University of Utah where he will hope to make a quick impact for the Utes.