Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Two were linemen, two were running backs and another was a record-setting quarterback, but regardless of which side of the ball they contributed to, the 2011 Deseret News football MVPs did so in dominant fashion.
They were just as dynamic with their leadership qualities on and off the field, and for all but one the result was a championship season.
Fremont's Nick Vigil, Logan's D.J. Nelson, Hurricane's Brian Scott, Manti's Aaron Austad and Duchesne's Max Lewis led their teams to a combined 53-4 record this year and are deserving recipients of the Deseret News MVP awards.
Nick Vigil, Fremont
A question Fremont coach Kory Bosgieter heard a lot over the past three years was, "Why is Nick Vigil so good?"
Bosgieter said it's pretty simple, "He's a fierce, fierce competitor."
That competitiveness is a big reason Fremont advanced to the 5A state championship game the past two years. It's a big reason why Vigil finished his Fremont career with 602 carries, 3,653 yards and 45 touchdowns. It's a big reason why he's verbally committed to Utah State, and it's a big reason he still wanted to play defense on a broken foot in the championship game last month.
Before injuring himself in the second half against Lone Peak, Vigil had rushed for 83 yards on 12 carries, including a zig-zagging 55-yard touchdown run.
Two weeks earlier in a 27-20 quarterfinal victory over Bingham, Vigil rushed for 256 yards and three touchdowns, including a game-winning 80-yard TD in the waning minutes.
Nobody was surprised.
"There's times in practice we just look at each other and scratch our heads. There's very few practices where there's not a highlight run in the practice," said Bosgieter.
Vigil was a very good north-south runner, but unlike most downhill runners he could also make defenders miss up close.
"He's got a good step out of the shuffle cut," said Bosgieter.
Vigil got off to a bit of a slow start this year, but by Week 5 he started to hit his stride and finished his senior year with 1,309 yards and 19 touchdowns.
"He's just a good all-around person. What you see on the football field is just a continuation of how he conducts his life. He's a top-notch kid in everything he does," said Bosgieter.
D.J. Nelson, Logan
Six years ago Logan quarterback Riley Nelson put together arguably the greatest offensive season in the history of high school football.
This year, his little brother nearly one-upped him.
Senior D.J. Nelson enjoyed a record-breaking season like his brother in leading Logan to a 14-0 record and a 4A state championship.
"D.J. was most importantly a fierce competitor that had a burning desire to win and would do anything it took to win, and that's what you're looking for in a quarterback," said Logan coach Mike Favero.
Nelson finished the year completing 63 percent of his passes for 3,489 yards and 49 touchdowns. He added 1,605 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns.
His 606 yards of total offense in a 59-30 semifinal victory over Bountiful is a new state record. His 5,096 yards of total offense is the second most in state history behind only his big brother. Nelson's 49 touchdown passes and 73 TDs responsible for (passing and rushing) are also second all-time.
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