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How The Oklahoman selected the 2020 All-State Football Team

Choctaw's Jordan Mukes tries to intercept a pass intended for Putnam City North's Jeff Nwankwo during a high school football game on Nov. 20 in Choctaw. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]
Choctaw's Jordan Mukes tries to intercept a pass intended for Putnam City North's Jeff Nwankwo during a high school football game on Nov. 20 in Choctaw. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

The Oklahoman’s Cameron Jourdan discusses how the annual All-State football team is selected.

How were players nominated?

The Oklahoman sent nomination forms to every high school football coach in Oklahoma via email, asking head coaches to nominate candidates for the All-State team and enter their season statistics into The Oklahoman’s database. Coaches were alerted of the nomination forms going out and their due dates in print, online and social media posts. Once the due date for forms had passed, we began the selection process. Coaches didn’t have to nominate their players to be honored, but those nominations are pivotal in making selections. If a player was not nominated, or if he or his team’s stats were not submitted to The Oklahoman, he may not be recognized.

How was the team chosen?

Selections began after reviewing forms and consulting with other staff writers and correspondents, along with some coaches. Selections were based mainly off 2020 performances. Career achievements also were looked at. Players from all grades were eligible, so whether someone was a senior or freshman didn’t matter. I made the final decisions for the All-State honors.

How did you select the Players of the Year?

Picking the Players of the Year is always a difficult task, but there are usually two or three players who stand out above their peers on both sides of the ball. After reviewing stats and consulting with other writers and some coaches, there was no question Bixby junior Braylin Presley and Tulsa Holland Hall senior Owen Ostroski were the best players on their sides of the ball in the state.

How was Coach of the Year selected?

Every coach who won a state championship was considered, and even some who didn’t, including Edmond Santa Fe’s Kyle White and Choctaw’s Jake Corbin. Tulsa Metro Christian coach Jared McCoy had a strong case, winning consecutive championships in a year many thought the Patriots would be down. Yet Jenks’ Keith Riggs, who helped guide the Trojans to their first title since 2015, earned the honor. Jenks was arguably the state’s best team at season’s end, and it upset Owasso in the semifinals to advance to the championship for the third straight year.

Who is represented?

There are 21 teams with at least one player on the first team, with Choctaw, Jenks, Owasso, Stillwater and Wagoner all earning two selections. No sophomores were selected this season, though three earned second-team honors. Eight juniors were chosen along with 18 seniors. Seven players were from 6A-II, six players were in Class 6A-I, four from 2A, three from 5A and two each from 4A, 3A and A.

What were the hardest choices selecting the first team?

McGuinness’ Luke Tarman and Carl Albert’s Ben Harris each had a case to be the first-team quarterback. Harris had two head-to-head wins and a state title, but Tarman had more than 2,000 passing and 2,000 rushing yards. He was vital to McGuinness’ success and earned the spot. Harris was selected as a punter, as being successful at numerous positions is important in selections. Thomas’ Aden Kelley could have been on the defensive line, but with many deserving candidates there, he was put on offense. Running back was also deep, with three selections on the first and second team.

Reporter Cameron Jourdan covers high school sports across the Oklahoma City metro and state. Have a story idea for Cameron? He can be reached at or on Twitter at @Cam_Jourdan. Support Cameron’s work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at or by using the link at the top of this page.

Cameron Jourdan

Cameron Jourdan joined The Oklahoman in March 2019 to cover high school sports. He graduated from Oklahoma State University in May 2018. He had an internship with The Oklahoman and Stillwater News Press. During his time at OSU, Cameron served in a... Read more ›