MEDINA, Ohio – The only thing Medina senior quarterback Drew Allar distributes better than the football is credit.
Named the winner of the 35th annual Ohio Mr. Football award by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association on Thursday, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Penn State commit was quick to praise others for helping him accomplish the feat.
“I’m super grateful for the honor and super excited about it, but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and coaches,” Allar said. “It wasn’t just me. We had a great team and a great coaching staff. That’s why we were so successful.
“I don’t think my teammates got enough credit for what they did. It always got circled back to me, and I don’t think that was fair to them. Without them, I couldn’t have done anything that I did this year.”
What Allar did in 2021 was complete 305-of-509 passes (.599) for 4,444 yards, 48 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He added 128 carries for 382 yards and nine TDs as Medina finished 13-1 while advancing to the Division I, Region 1 final, where it lost to eventual state champion St. Edward. The Bees broke the 1922 and 1923 program record for victories in a season (10) and won the Greater Cleveland Conference for their first league title since 1973.
Springfield quarterback Te’Sean Smoot was runner-up to Allar in Mr. Football voting, while Upper Arlington running back Carson Gresock came in third. Other finalists were Marysville linebacker Gabe Powers, St. Clairsville offensive lineman Avery Henry, West Lafayette Ridgewood quarterback Gabe Tingle, Archbold quarterback D.J. Newman, Mount Orab Western Brown quarterback Drew Novack and LaGrange Keystone running back/linebacker Gideon Lampron.
Originated in 1987, previous Mr. Football winners have included Euclid’s Robert Smith (1988, ‘89), St. Henry’s Bobby Hoying (‘90), Fremont Ross’ Charles Woodson (‘94), Westerville South’s Andy Katzenmoyer (‘95), Warren Harding’s Maurice Clarett (2001), Copley’s Delone Carter (‘05), Mentor’s Mitch Trubisky (‘12) and The Plains Athens’ Joe Burrow (‘14).
Allar, who will finish classes at Medina later this month and begin attending Penn State in January so he can take part in spring football practices, now joins that illustrious group.
“You could see the skill level as he came up through the ranks, but through hard work and dedication, he’s made himself into the player he’s become,” Medina coach Larry Laird said. “I’m not talking about just on the field or in the weight room. He studied film all the time.
“He has the strongest arm of any quarterback I’ve ever coached. It’s at the highest level and, barring injuries, I think we’ll see that in the future. He has the talent to go beyond even the college level.”
A five-star recruit ranked as the No. 1 quarterback in the country and No. 3 player overall by 247Sports.com, Allar didn’t start for Medina until the eighth game of his sophomore year.
Directing an offense that used five wide receivers, he finished his career 630-for-1,149 passing (.548) for 9,103 yards, 97 TDs and 20 interceptions while adding 284 rushes for 826 yards and 14 TDs. The Bees also reached the D-I, Region 1 final in 2020, when they lost to Mentor.
“We were always throwing the ball and moving at a high pace,” Allar said. “It was a really fun system to be a part of.
“We were a super tight group. We all played together growing up. For the senior class, we realized how good we could be. We just needed to put in a lot of hard work, and it really paid off for us these last two years.”
Next up for Allar, who carries a 3.5 grade-point average and is undecided on a college major, is Penn State, where current three-year starting quarterback Sean Clifford has the option of returning for a sixth year in 2022.
“Penn State really fits me,” said Allar, who chose the Nittany Lions over Notre Dame and Iowa State. “I’m really excited about it because of the family atmosphere they have there. That’s a credit to the coaching staff and athletic department. They really set you up for success. You just have to take advantage of your opportunities.
“I still need to improve on a lot of things. The biggest thing for me at the next level is going to be the pace of the game. It’s going to be a lot faster, but the competition we played at Medina will help me with that.”
Rick Noland is a sports writer for the Medina County Gazette and provided this story on behalf of the OPSWA.