There are over 5,000 high school football players each year, but only one gets the nod as Deseret News Mr. Football, five as MVP and 116 as first-teamers.
It's not an exact science, but the Deseret News goes to great lengths each year to try and honor the most deserving kids across the state.
The Deseret News receives input from coaches regarding the five MVPs and Mr. Football, but ultimately determines these award recipients itself. First-team, second-team and honorable mention honors are based almost entirely on voting by the state's coaches.
For the second straight year, the Deseret News used its overhauled voting process to help with the selection of its 5A, 4A and 3A all-state teams.
In year's past, every head coach in the state was given a blank all-state ballot. They filled it out with who they believed were the best players in the state, and the votes were tallied.
The voting was often comical. Many coaches were reasonable with their selections, while others only voted for their own kids or kids from their regions.
That's why the Deseret News revamped the process a year ago to encourage coaches to vote for worthy kids outside their region boundaries.
Instead of sending coaches a blank ballot and asking them to rack their brain about the best kids at each position around the state, the coaches were asked to send the Deseret News a list of deserving all-state candidates from their team. Once all the players' names were gathered, we assembled a ballot and asked the coaches to vote for a set number of pre-determined kids at each position.
Each 5A, 4A and 3A ballot consisted of about 100 kids, and the top vote getters at each position were named first teamers, second teamers and honorable mention from their respective classification. All but one 5A coach voted, while every 4A and 3A coach voted.
Even the 2A all-state voting process was tweaked slightly. In the past, a formulaic approach was used by the coaches to ensure that every team in the state was guaranteed at least one first team all-stater. With an increased number of teams in 2A this year, the Deseret News tweaked that process knowing that not every team in the state had a first-team caliber player.
Teams were still guaranteed some first-team slots based on their finish at region and state, while several other 2A all-state slots were deemed at large slots with the coaches voting on those players.
The coaches in 1A used the same formulaic approach as in years past to determine the 1A all-state football teams.
Of all the things that complicate the all-state process, kids playing both ways is the biggest issue. Should a kid be rewarded for being really, really good both offensively and defensively, or for being really, really good on one side of the ball? There are no easy answers, and it's why selecting the all-state teams is a very difficult task every season even if it's based almost entirely on coaches votes.