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Honaker alums Stout, Miller voted top kicker, DB in SW Virginia

Kevin Mays • May 10, 2020 at 5:00 PM

The top vote-getters from our latest informal social media poll on the best football players out of far Southwest Virginia — this week, kickers and linebackers/defensive backs — have a common bond.

They both went to Honaker.

Penn State’s Jordan Stout, a 2017 Honaker grad, was voted as Southwest Virginia’s best kicker. Honaker legend Heath Miller, who also had stellar college and NFL careers on offense, was voted the top defensive back.

The polls are conducted via various social media platforms and results are based solely on the votes received.

KICKING DEEP

Stout, a redshirt junior at Penn State, has already kicked himself into the Nittany Lions’ record book.

Last season he hit a school-record 57-yard field goal in the second quarter of a game against Pittsburgh. The field goal was the 12th longest in Big Ten history.

Stout played his first college season at Virginia Tech, where he handled kickoffs as a redshirt freshman. He booted 60 of his 71 kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks while in Blacksburg.

Prior to his sophomore season, Stout transferred to Penn State. Once he got on the field, he wasted little time in making a strong impression, connecting on a 53-yarder against Idaho in the Nittany Lions’ season opener.

While primarily handling kickoffs, Stout recorded 66 touchbacks in 83 attempts.

The three-time all-state player at Honaker also handled punting duties during his high school days. He went 9-for-9 on field-goal attempts his senior season when he also averaged 47 yards per punt.

“It’s an honor considering how many kickers there have been from this area,” Stout said of being voted Southwest Virginia’s best. “Hopefully, I can continue to improve. This is just the start for me and other athletes getting recruited out of the far Southwest Virginia area.”

GETTING DEFENSIVE

Miller, who retired from the NFL in 2016, put up Pro Football Hall of Fame numbers as a tight end with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

He ranks 11th in NFL history in receiving yards as a tight end with 6,569 and was part of three Super Bowl teams with Pittsburgh, winning rings in 2005 and 2008.

A member of the University of Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, Miller was an All-America pick in 2004. He broke Atlantic Coast Conference career records for most receptions (144), yards (1,703) and touchdowns (20) by a tight end.

In high school, however, the 2001 Honaker graduate played quarterback and safety. One voter said Miller was the second-best free safety he’s ever seen play in high school, and many thought he was the best defensive back they’ve seen.

OTHER TOP KICKERS

Here’s a look at the other top vote-getters for kicker:

• Joel Davis, Powell Valley — Davis played at Powell Valley and punted for East Tennessee State.

• Allen Owens, Haysi — Owens made 174 PATs while at Haysi, a VHSL record for Group A schools when he graduated in 2009. Owens later kicked for Virginia-Wise.

• Robbie Colley, Tazewell — A 2014 inductee into the Tazewell Hall of Fame, Colley was an all-state punter as a freshman on the 1986 VHSL Group AA championship team. Colley punted at Virginia Tech and had stints in the NFL with San Francisco and Tampa Bay.

• Matt Bays, Twin Springs — An all-around sports star at Twin Springs, Bays played collegiately at Concord as a punter and later at quarterback.

Other kickers/punters receiving substantial votes were:

Abingdon’s Mitchell Ludwig; Appalachia’s Elmo Early; Garden’s Joey Worley; Grundy’s Wayne Mutter and Dillon Reece; Powell Valley’s Travis Grubb; Richlands’ Levi Forrest; Rich Valley’s Mike Keith; and Virginia High’s Alex Walls and Ian Frye.

OTHER TOP LBs/DBs

Here’s a look at the other top vote- getters for linebacker/defensive back:

• Jake Houseright, Gate City — Houseright is one in a long line of family members to play football at Gate City and Virginia Tech. A 1998 Gate City graduate, he played linebacker and safety as well as in the offensive backfield and at tight end for the Blue Devils. He also won the VHSL Group AA discus title. At Tech, Houseright played middle linebacker, starting his junior and senior seasons.

• Julius Jones, Powell Valley — Jones is another Southwest Virginia football great who made a name for himself as a running back in high school, college and the NFL. But he also was an outstanding high school safety, according to Phil Robbins, his coach. Jones was the state’s offensive player of the year after leading Powell Valley to VHSL championships in 1997 and ’98. He played at Notre Dame and in the NFL for Dallas, Seattle and New Orleans.

• Mikey Culbertson, J.I. Burton — Culbertson capped his senior season in 2019 as a first-team all-state pick at linebacker. He also was the first-team linebacker on the Times News All-Southwest Virginia team.

• Eupton Jackson, Powell Valley — Jackson, a key player on the Vikings’ 1985 state championship team, went on to star at James Madison. He started four years at safety for the Dukes and recorded 362 career tackles, the seventh most overall and No. 1 among defensive backs in JMU history. Jackson was inducted to the JMU Hall of Fame in 2007.

• Keith Davis, Powell Valley — Davis helped Powell Valley to back-to-back state championships in 1997 and 98 as an all-star linebacker. Davis continued his football career at East Tennessee State.

• Ahmad Bradshaw, Graham — Bradshaw was an offensive star in high school, college and the NFL, but like many others in Southwest Virginia, he also starred on the other side of the ball, as a defensive back. In 2003, Bradshaw ranked as Virginia’s seventh-best prospect and 28th-best cornerback, according to Rivals.com. He signed as a running back with Virginia but landed at Marshall instead, where he earned All-Conference USA honors. He played nine years in the NFL, six with the New York Giants — winning two Super Bowl championships — and three with Indianapolis.

Other linebackers/defensive backs receiving substantial votes were:

J.I. Burton’s Jaycob Coleman, Will Godsey and Malik Miles; Clintwood’s Austin Turner; Eastside’s Evan Bellamy; Gate City’s Seth Clark, Jonas Houseright and Rusty Pendleton; J.J. Kelly’s Jimmy Ray Carter; Marion’s Martin Lee; Lee High’s Mikey Hughes; Powell Valley’s Forty Jackson, Ricky Webb, Jason McCoy, Don Dorton, Joe Mullins, Matt Stidham, Wayne Trent, Mike Elkins, Bucky Buckles, Patrick McKinney, Luke Spurlock, Kevin Reed, Matt McCoy and Thomas Jones; Richlands’ Devon Johnson, Michael Mabe, Shane Wicks and Austin Fuller; and Union’s James Mitchell, Mason Polier, Tanner Kennedy and Zack Qualls.

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