KHQA Awards Week: JIREHL BROCK, 2017 Illinois Offensive MVP
2017 KHQA ILLINOIS OFFENSIVE MVP
JIREHL BROCK, Quincy High
RATIONALE: It was certainly one E-ticket ride of a Junior Season.
It spurred National Adulation….both in recruiting circles as well as the viral video that that sent a nation scrambling to ESPN and the Web to see “the hit” against Rock Island over and over again.
And local consternation as well; stemming his mind boggling omission from the 6A All-State squad. So much so that some in the Quincy High athletic community coined a new verb to describe the act of being passed over for a deserved reward: “Jirehl-ed”
Welcome to the crazy new reality that is Jirehl Brock’s high school football career; where the only bit of grounded normalcy, it seems, comes from the dude at its epicenter. The one carrying the football and doing exactly what it is he is asked to do.
You could spend two hours here talking about Jirehl Brock’s enviable athletic skills. And if you want that, there are a half dozen recruiting services who can explain far better than I the four star rating he’s acquired. To me, the greater victory here is that Jirehl Brock has retained five star humility even as everything else has taken a turn for the bizarre. Autographs and selfies and little kids who pretended to be him running for touchdowns in their backyard? All taken in stride by the Blue Devil Tailback as he remains today as approachable a gregarious as he was before he ever took his first high school handoff.
There are more than a few successful adults in this world who could stand to borrow a page from this teenagers personal playbook.
Beyond that, the arguments for Jirehl’s football inclusion here would seem to be self-evident. Eye popping run after eye popping run resulted in nearly 1600 yards of rushing and 22 total touchdowns. All of it created on just 210 total carries, given that an injury robbed him of almost seven full quarters of further productivity. The single best season in program history, by the numbers. And a career that screams Hall of Fame before he has even buckled a chinstrap as a Senior. He’s already the Blue Devil career leader with 52 rushing touchdowns. And he’s maybe four good games from surpassing Malique Robbins for the lifetime yardage total as well.
Less quantifiably but no less importantly, Jirehl’s very presence has represented an opportunity for his program to win games every time he steps on the field. We take that for granted now in the Rick Little era, but this kind of expected success against the backdrop of Quincy High’s lesser football history represents a significant traction that is rare. See also the disappointment that stemmed this Fall when the Blue Devils didn’t repeat as Conference Champs. Jirehl’s very presence here has pushed the expectation threshold to places it has never been before. And it serves an unspoken incentive to push teammates to raise their level of commitment and performance to match his.
Again, this is just the middle chapter in an already captivating tale. Where the Jirehl Brock Football Story transcends next…remains to be seen. But if past is prologue, we can all be reasonably assured it will be a spectacle. And it will be historic.
Fan Vote: Jirehl Brock, Quincy High
Runner Up: Bryce Wilson, West Hancock
2016: Will Fox, West Hancock
2015: Brodie Dunker, Unity/Payson
2014: Alger Saldana, Central
2013: Malique Robbins, Quincy High
2012: Dalton Keene, Jacksonville
2012: Dalton Heubner, Central-Southeastern
2011: Garrett Kestner, Central-Southeastern
2010: Daniel Weiman, Quincy Notre Dame
2009: Daniel Weiman, Quincy Notre Dame
2008: David Arendt: Concord Triopia
2007: Taylor Joehl, Concord Triopia
2006: Myers Hendrickson, Macomb
2005: Dustin Jacoby, Concord Triopia
2004: David Watts, Carthage
2003: Ashton Gronewold, Carthage
2002: Ashton Gronewold, Carthage
2001: Jensen Jones, West Prairie/LaHarpe
2000: Wyatt Green, Carthage
1999: Wes Lundgren, West Prairie/LaHarpe
1998: Ryan Miller, Concord Triopia
1997: Dom Tamberelli, QND