Rodney Camp didn’t play on a championship football team this season, not does he have college football scholarships pouring in from around the country.
Neither of those mattered Wednesday afternoon when he was selected at the Back of the Year in Class 1A by members of the Alabama Sports Writers Association.
Camp was among 42 honorees at the ASWA’s annual Mr. Football banquet at the Alabama Activity Center in Montgomery.
Carver-Montgomery quarterback Jeremy Johnson earned the prestigious Mr. Football award, edging Fultondale’s ArDarius Stewart by two points in the closest voting in the award’s 31-year history.
Camp, a senior, was earlier named to the TimesDaily All-Area team and the ASWAA all-state team. He threw for 2,829 yards and 33 touchdowns while rushing for 1,191 yards and 14 touchdowns in leading the Bears to a playoff berth.
“I was surprised,” Camp said after receiving his award. “I couldn’t have done it without our players. We worked hard all year long, and they are the reason I got this award. It’s awesome being part of this.”
Camp needed impressive numbers for the Bears to remain competitive. Phillips finished 5-6, scoring 400 points while allowing 408.
Muscle Shoals running back Tyler Jackson was one of three finalists for the Class 5A Back of the Year after rushing for 1,380 yards and 18 touchdowns this season.
Carver’s Johnson had 170 points to Stewart’s 168. Madison Academy running back Kerryon Johnson was third with 112 points.
“My heart was beating fast, because I knew I wanted to win this award, to be the first in Carver history to ever win this award,” Johnson said. “Now, I’m in the history book at Carver and it’s a blessing.”
The 6-foot-6, 219-pound Johnson has verbally committed to Auburn and held firm after Gene Chizik’s firing and Gus Malzahn’s hiring. He said coaches want him to put on 15 pounds before the season, but he’s hoping to quickly contend for the starting spot in a position that nobody has nailed down the past two seasons since Cam Newton left for the NFL.
“I’ve got a mind-set of just playing,” Johnson said. “That’s what I love to do. I’m just going in to put on weight and try to win the starting position.”
Johnson passed for 3,193 yards and 31 touchdowns and also rushed for 705 yards.
Carver’s coach, Billy Gresham, praised his star quarterback on and off the field.
“He’s a phenomenal football player and just a great kid,” Gresham said. “He loves sports. He loves playing the game.”
Fultondale’s Stewart is an Alabama commitment who was named the Class 2A back of the year for the second straight season.
Two other Alabama commits — Autauga Academy tight end O.J. Howard (AISA lineman of the year) and Spanish Fort defensive back Johnny Cook (5A back) — won statewide awards for their classification.
Johnson was 6A back of the year while Auburn High School linebacker Rueben Foster won honors as the top lineman.
Auburn High’s Foster, whose 102 votes was fourth in the Mr. Football voting, is one of the state’s top recruits but hasn’t settled on a college destination yet. He said Alabama coach Nick Saban visited Wednesday morning and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn had an in-house visit on Monday.
He said he’s still considering both schools, but hasn’t narrowed his choice down to finalists. Foster said he plans to announce on signing day, Feb. 6, or possibly even later.
John Zenor of the Associated Press contributed to this story.