STRINGER: Dandy Dozen reactions never get old


Seth Stringer is the sports editor of the Daily News.

Published: Monday, August 18, 2014 at 12:20 AM.

This was the reaction I’d hoped for.

High-pitched screams of joy reverberated through the phone’s receiver. Breathing became hurried. The sound of tears being held back for the sake of conversation hung in the background. Unbridled excitement abounded.

Another reveal of the Dandy Dozen, the always-debated-yet-celebrated annual list championing the 12 best players in the Daily News’ coverage area, had not only landed, it was pulling on the heartstrings. No matter that it wasn’t face-to-face, the impact couldn’t be undersold.

But this wasn’t a player. This was just a proud mom — more specifically, Azende Rey’s mom.

Revealing a Dandy Dozen selection is priceless. The reactions run the gamut. For some, it’s a lifelong dream realized and the beginning of their journey to get their name on the national recruiting scale. For others, it’s an expected yet welcomed accolade that comes after a firestorm of offers from SEC and ACC schools.

But while disparate, both schools of thought share one common thread: This isn’t an accolade to be taken for granted. This is a résumé-booster right up there with a transcendent Hudl highlight or promising college visit. This is the product of thousands of hours of blood, sweat and tears spent in practice, in the weight room, in the film room and, most importantly, under those bright Friday night lights.

Fittingly, this year’s reactions matched and exceeded the hype.

For more than half of the 12 recipients, which which will be unveiled one by one from now until Aug. 29 starting with Azende Rey’s feature today, the ego boost was welcomed with some version of the following reaction: “I’ve dreamt about this ever since I can remember.”

A decision like this matters, and we toiled over this list with calculated care, using algorithms, formulas, interviews, hours of watching game highlights and practice time and the good ol’ eye test.

Azende Rey, an imposing junior running back from Walton built from the LeSean McCoy mold, made the cut.

And when Mrs. Rey found out, time stopped. Her year was made. The Dandy Dozen, however subjective in its makeup, showed once again that it mattered.

Past Ten Years of Dandy Dozen 



Glen Coffee, RB, Fort Walton Beach

Raphael Ousley, LB, Fort Walton Beach

Demetrious Warmble, WR, Choctaw

Jon Weber, OL, Choctaw

Brett Carr, FS, Niceville

Coy Williamson, LB, Niceville

Jordan Bell, RB/DE, South Walton

James Wilkerson, WR, Crestview

Chris Rushing, WR, Crestview

John Davis, OL/DL, Baker

J.D. Davis, RB/DE, Freeport

Steven Adams, OL/DL, Freeport



Mick Vorbeck, OL, South Walton

Josh Nettles, QB, Walton

Marquis Matthews, DE, Crestview

Chas Matthews, TE/LB, Fort Walton Beach

Thomas Bortner, OL, Crestview

Devon Freeman, RB, Niceville

Craig Marshall, LB/TE, Choctaw

John Whiddon, WR, Niceville

Chad Sales, OL, Niceville

Demetrius Warmble, S/WR, Choctaw

Cody Noblin, RB, Fort Walton Beach

Chris Sutter, RB/LB, Navarre



John Robinson, RB, Crestview

John Blatz, LB, Navarre

Chris Sales, OL, Niceville

Jake Goray, TE, Choctaw

Josh Cragin, SS, Choctaw

Stephon Thrash, RB, Crestview

Markee King, RB, Fort Walton Beach

Josh Thomas, RB/LB, Freeport

Alex Smith, WR, Walton

Alex Barnett, DB, Niceville

Joe Thigpen, QB, Crestview



Matt Coffee, RB/LB, Fort Walton Beach

Austin Grimm, QB, Navarre

Cori Barnett, LB, Niceville

Chris Martin, DL, Choctaw

Thomas Darden, WR, Choctaw

Josh McDorman, QB, Niceville

Matt Sanders, OL, Crestview

Juwayne Tanner, OL/DL, South Walton

Kenzie Clemmons, RB/LB, South Walton

Larel Jackson, WR, Walton

Logan Calidill, QB, Freeport

Jace Blanchard, QB, Choctaw



Matt Coffee, RB/LB, Fort Walton Beach

Issac Jackson, RB/LB, Walton

Luke Sager, DE, Niceville

Kody Williams, WR, Niceville

Cameron Domangue, QB, Baker

Jordan Davis, OL, Choctaw

Rashad Smith, LB, Fort Walton Beach

Akeem Spence, DL, Fort Walton Beach

Roy Finch, RB, Niceville

Tarrell Bramlett, QB, Walton

Jordan Glover, RB/DB, Crestview

Michael Pettus, RB, Navarre


Michael Pettus, RB, Navarre

Luke Barnes, QB, Fort Walton Beach

Alec Schubele, LB, Choctaw

Deon Lee, DL, Walton

Joe Lofton, DB, Fort Walton Beach

Roy Finch, RB, Niceville

Chris Pickett, RB, Crestview

Robert Willis, WR, Fort Walton Beach

Bryant Adams, WR, South Walton

Marrion Holmes, DL, Walton

Nathan Hendrickson, RB, Freeport

Kody Williams, WR, Niceville



Kyle McDorman, QB, Niceville

Dominique Smith, DB, Fort Walton Beach

Corliss Stone, WR, Walton

Allen Caldwell, TE, Crestview

Sterling Lovelady, OL, Navarre

Deiontrez Mount, DE, Fort Walton Beach

Deon Lee, DL, Walton

Nick Ellington, WR, Freeport

Jesse Adams, QB, Choctaw

Robert Willis, WR, Fort Walton Beach

Liam Miller, QB, Walton

Keith Stewart, LB, South Walton



Max Keefe, DB/WR, Choctaw

Yoshoub Timms, DL, Fort Walton Beach

Dwayne Carter, RB, Navarre

Kyle Van Atta, OL/DL, Fort Walton Beach

Virgilio Hunter, DL, Navarre

Vada Moore, QB, Baker

Tray Williams, RB, Walton

Chris Hall, DL, Walton

Earl Reed, OL, Crestview

Brad Leggett, WR, Navarre

Dalvon Stuckey, DL, Walton



Denzel Ware, DE, Crestview

Dillon Lawson, DE, Crestview

Tyre McCants, WR, Niceville

Gabe Moore, QB, Freeport

Carter Fletcher, OL, Niceville

Jordan Leggett, WR, Navarre

John Marvin, DB, Fort Walton Beach

Nick Benton, DB, Navarre

Zach Cresse, LB, Fort Walton Beach

Darryl Johnson, DB, Choctaw

Andrew Mitchell, K, Niceville

Micah Reed, RB, Crestview



Marquese Davenport, WR, Fort Walton Beach

Tyre McCants, WR, Niceville

Garrison Floyd, QB, Choctaw

Denzel Ware, DL, Crestview

D.J. Thomas, RB, Baker

Shi’Kim Coward, RB, Niceville

Amos Williams, QB, Walton

Christian Gill, DL, Navarre

Ellis Warren, LB, Fort Walton Beach

Chase Whitehead, DB, Choctaw

Gatlin Casey, WR, Navarre

Emmanuel Reed, RB, Crestview


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