WHITEHOUSE — Before his junior season, Patrick Mahomes was undecided about playing football.
After two years of record-setting play, it appears Mahomes made a wise decision.
On Friday, Mahomes was named the Texas Associated Press Sports Editors football Player of the Year, becoming the second straight son of a former major league pitcher to win the award.
Mahomes, who led his East Texas team to the third round of the playoffs before a 65-60 loss to Mesquite Poteet, was eligible for the honor after being named the Offensive Player of the Year on the Class 4A all-state team.
The son of Pat Mahomes, who played for six baseball teams in an 11-year career, was chosen by a panel of journalists who cover high school football in Texas after throwing for 3,587 yards with 41 touchdowns and just four interceptions during the regular season.
Mahomes was presented his plaque by the Tyler Morning Telegraph and ETFinalScore.com during a special assembly in front of his teammates, coaches and family.
“I am very honored and humbled,” Mahomes said. “To be just considered for this honor is rewarding, but to join the others on this list is a blessing. I couldn’t have achieved any of this without my coaches, my teammates, my family and friends, and God. I am very thankful and blessed.”
Previous winners include:
2007: Jacquizz Rodgers, Lamar Consolidated High School, Oregon State University (now a running back for the Atlanta Falcons).
2008: Garrett Gilbert, Lake Travis High School, now a quarterback for Southern Methodist University.
2009: Scotty Young, Denton Ryan High School, now a quarterback for Louisiana Tech University.
2010: Johnny Manziel, Kerrville Tivy High School, now a quarterback for Texas A&M; University.
2011: Jonathan Gray, Aledo High School, now a running back for the University of Texas.
2012: Kenny Hill, Southlake Carroll High School, now a backup quarterback at Texas A&M University.
Mahomes, who was selected to the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl Sunday in Arlington but will not play because of a high ankle sprain, will have to decide between his passion and his future in a few months, just as his father, Pat Mahomes, did about 25 years ago.
For now the three-sport star at Whitehouse High School wants to enjoy his senior year and the latest honor coming from the game he has grown to love.
Last year, Hill, of Southlake Carroll, won the award. His father is Ken Hill, who, like Pat Mahomes, had a stint with the Texas Rangers.
Hill faced the same question this year that will confront Mahomes next summer: What happens to his college football plans if he gets taken in baseball’s first-year player draft?
It ended up not mattering for Hill, who was skipped in the draft in part because of his commitment to Texas A&M. Mahomes plans to sign a scholarship agreement with Texas Tech in February, but he’s hearing the same things that Hill was about possibly being a high-round draft pick.
Mahomes is a pitcher and shortstop on a Whitehouse team that reached the Class 4A state tournament in baseball last season. He also plays basketball.
“We’ve been talking about it here lately,” the younger Mahomes said of conversations with his dad, who was a sixth-round pick by Minnesota in the summer of 1988. “He’s just going to try to guide me through it.”
The elder Mahomes, who was a three-sport standout at Lindale High School, had the option of attending the University of Arkansas to play basketball when he decided to turn pro in baseball. His son wants to play for Kliff Kingsbury, who is going into his second year with the Red Raiders after a record-setting career as a quarterback at his alma mater.
A little more than a year ago, Mahomes figured baseball was his only option beyond high school. But a Texas Tech assistant happened to be there when Mahomes had an impressive game in a rainstorm and took over the Whitehouse starting job in the third game of his junior season, after playing safety his sophomore year.
“On that stage on Friday night, you could really tell, he was like, ‘I like this,’” Whitehouse coach Adam Cook said of Mahomes. “He and I had that conversation several times about how it’s a lot different from playing safety. And he was like, ‘Yeah, coach, I love this.’”
And now football is leading to decisions he didn’t expect to have to make.
“Even when I started playing my junior year, I didn’t expect to be a D-I quarterback,” Mahomes said. “I came out just to play with my friends and ended up getting better and better as the season went along and it came with experience.”
Schuyler Dixon of The Associated Press contributed to this story.