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Vote: Who was the top athlete in 2023 Texas high school football season?

From all-South Texas MVP Gilbert Trillo to Wink's Ethan Cahill, make your pick for top multi-position talent in Lone Star State

The 2023 Texas high school football season is in the rear view, and we're taking a look at the most impactful players across the Lone Star State last fall.

After unveiling our All-East Texas, All-West Texas, All-South Texas, All-North Texas, All-Southeast Texas and All-Central Texas teams and awards, we released our All-Texas high school football team, honoring the best of the best.

Now, we're taking a look at who rose above the rest at each position. After examining some of the best individual seasons at the quarterback, running back, wide receivers, defensive backs, linebacker and defensive line and offensive line position groups, we're moving to the the multi-purpose stars.

Who was the athlete — meaning a standout in multiple facets of the game (i.e. passing and running, or receiving and in the secondary) — in Texas in 2023?

We narrowed down 12 athletes in our postseason awards. 

Now, we want to hear from you.

Scroll down and reach up on 12 names to consider and cast your vote in the reader poll below. Voting ends on Monday, Feb. 5 at 11:59 p.m. central time


Aledo do-it-all QB Hauss Hejny charges through contact into the open field in the Class 5A Division I state championship in December at AT&T Stadium.

Aledo do-it-all QB Hauss Hejny charges through contact into the open field in the Class 5A Division I state championship in December at AT&T Stadium.

Names are in alphabetical order.

Ethan Cahill, Wink, jr.

Cahill amassed 683 total return yards with 14 kickoff returns for 355 yards and 14 punt returns for 283 yards. He also found the end zone twice for the 10-2 Wildcats. Wink notched a playoff victory over Cross Plains.

Quanell Farrakhan Jr., The Woodlands, jr.

He was a jack-of-all-trades for the Highlanders. He had 52 catches for 820 yards and 12 touchdowns — all team-highs. Added 5 touchdowns on 12 carries, while adding a touchdown on a punt return and another on a kickoff return.

Jadyn Forbes, Sweetwater, sr.

Forbes was a serious threat every time he touched the ball for the Mustangs. He tallied 834 total return yards, including 655 yards on 20 kickoff returns and 179 yards on four punt returns for 7-5 Sweetwater. He also led the team in receiving. He is the District 3-4A Division II Special Teams Player of the Year. He is uncommitted.

Hauss Hejny, Aledo, sr.

He was one of the state's best quarterbacks and showed as much getting snaps at the All-American Bowl. For Aledo, he made the offense go. He was the second-leading rusher for the Bearcats, tallying 1,041 yards and 13 touchdowns — rushing for more than 100 yards in five games. Passing the ball, the TCU signee threw for 2,773 yards and 27 touchdowns but usually played only one half in most games.

Corey Holmes, Corpus Christi Miller, jr.

Corey Holmes lined up wherever the Buccaneers needed him to this season. At times, the junior athlete would line up in the backfield as a running back. Other times he’d play out wide as a receiver. Regardless of where he lined up, however, defenses made sure to know where he was at. Rightfully so, with Holmes finishing with 1,739 all-purpose yards (684 rushing, 925 receiving, 130 return) and 29 total touchdowns in 14 games played. 

Timothy Johnson, Center, jr.

The speedy Johnson made some big plays for the Roughriders, including 23 kickoff returns for 594 yards and eight punt returns for 97 yards. In addition to scoring two touchdowns on special teams, he caught 13 passes for 202 yards.

Gabriel Juarez, Gregory-Portland, sr.

It’s not often to see an athlete lead his team in an offensive and defensive category. Gregory-Portland senior Gabriel Juarez isn’t just any athlete. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound two-way player finished the year as the team’s leading rusher and tackler. Juarez carried the ball 139 times for 1,120 yards and 15 touchdowns to earn a District 15-5A DII first-team selection. He also stuffed the stat sheet on defense, racking up 114 total tackles, 25 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 4 fumble recoveries, 2 interceptions and 3 blocked kicks en route to District 15-5A DII Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Zahir Livingston, San Antonio Davenport, sr.

Livingston was a star on both sides of the ball this year. Defensively, he racked up 151 tackles averaging 12 per game, six sacks, and 13 QB hurries.

Mitchell Nuziard, Mount Vernon, sr.

The speedy senior gave his team good field position on a regular basis with 20 kickoff returns for 546 yards and two touchdowns and five punt returns for 88 yards. He also led Mount Vernon in receiving with 49 catches for 712 yards and four scores. Nuziard has an offer from Division III Hardin-Simmons.

Hawk Patrick-Daniels, Aledo, sr.

He filled in at running back late in the season and after playing slot receiver most of the season. He ran for 186 yards and 3 scores in the finals, finishing with more than 1,000 yards rushing and 393 yards receiving. The one-time Incarnate Word pledge is headed to Tyler Junior College next year.

Michael Terry, Alamo Heights, soph.

The do-it-all four-star athlete for the Mules never leaves the field and stars as quarterback, running back, receiver, returner, and as a defensive back. Offensively, he tallied 1,531 all-purpose yards and 31 total touchdowns, while defensively he had 15 tackles with one pick-six.

Gilbert Trillo, Brownsville Veterans, sr.

Brownsville Veterans put together a historic run this year, becoming the first Rio Grande Valley football team to reach the state semifinals since 2003. A key part to the Chargers run was do-it-all athlete Gilbert Trillo. The Swiss Army Knife played in all three phases for the Chargers, lining up at running back, safety and returner. He finished the year with 1,401 all-purpose yards and 26 total touchdowns, adding 82 tackles and six interceptions in 15 games played. He delivered a signature MVP performance during the Region IV-5A semifinals, scoring four touchdowns (2 rushing, 2 receiving) and snagging an interception to help his team upset the state-ranked PSJA North Raiders.

Jonah Williams, Galveston Ball, jr.

On defense, he had 58 tackles, 4 interceptions, 8 pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumbles. The four-star recruit with 26 offers had eight touchdown catches and ran for two more.

-- SBLive Texas staff.

Lead photo by Tommy Hays, SBLive Sports