Jersey Sports Zone is excited to formally announce the seven finalists for the 2021 Zoneman Trophy — JSZ’s high school football player of the year in New Jersey. The winner will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 16. Watch all seven features from our team of multimedia journalists to learn more about New Jersey’s top football honor!

The History of the Zoneman Trophy

By Rich Chrampanis, Jersey Sports Zone Chief Operating Officer

In the year 2000, I received the great honor of a Heisman Trophy ballot as I started my tenure on television at WPDE-TV in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I was so excited to get the chance to weigh in on such a significant award and it got me thinking of bringing the same kind of excitement to our high school football coverage. So we built a trophy and instead of the Heisman, the Zoneman was born. During my 15 years, we were fortunate to have some outstanding winners of our award starting with former Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins linebacker Lawrence Timmons, former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson and current Las Vegas Raiders wide receivers Hunter Renfrow, who caught the game-winning TD pass for Clemson in the 2016 National Championship game along with Bryan Edwards. 

The Zoneman tradition is still going strong in South Carolina, began its New Jersey chapter on the Jersey Shore and is now a statewide honor. We’re excited to continue this tradition in New Jersey high school football as we will present the most outstanding player in the state with our Fifth Annual Zoneman Trophy.

Previous Zoneman Trophy Winners:

2017: Ashante Worthy, Freehold Boro QB

2018: Jalahn Dabney, Somerville QB

2019: Fadil Diggs, Woodrow Wilson DL/WR | Texas A&M

2020: Audric Estime, St. Joe’s (Mont.) RB | Notre Dame

The Zoneman Trophy Balloting

The 2021 Zoneman Trophy will be voted on by coaches from each conference in the state (SFC, WJFL, NJIC, Big Central and Shore) as well as Jersey Sports Zone’s staff of multimedia journalists and other credentialed media around the state. Each ballot includes a first-place vote (three points), second place vote (two points) and a third place vote (one point).

We are honored to announce the 2021 Zoneman Trophy Finalists in alphabetical order!

Meet The 2021 Zoneman Trophy Finalists

LeQuint Allen, Millville RB

The face of Millville football boasted an incredible level of physicality and athleticism throughout the entire 2021 season. LeQuint Allen ran wild against defenses from the start of the year in Ocean City until the end at Rutgers University, where the Thunderbolts capped off a 12-1 season with a South Group 4 Regional Championship. He rushed for 1,901 yards on 229 carries and found the endzone 23 times. Allen is committed to Syracuse University.

JSZ’s Mike Frankel has the profile:

Tommy Amankwaa, Hillsborough ATH

Tommy Amankwaa was one of the most improved players in the entire state of New Jersey from his junior to senior seasons. Amankwaa was a true swiss army knife weapon for the Raiders. On offense, he tallied 99 total touches for 1,726 scrimmage yards and a combined 27 touchdowns as Hillsborough put together a perfect 13-0 season. His red-hot play this season earned him an offer from Rutgers – he verbally committed to the Scarlet Knights soon after.

JSZ’s Nery Rodriguez has the profile:

Steve Angeli, Bergen Catholic QB

Steve Angeli’s legacy at Bergen Catholic is undeniable after a historic season in Oradell. Angeli led the Crusaders to a perfect 12-0 season, a Non-Public A championship and a top-five national ranking in 2021. The Crusaders’ signal caller brought his game to a new level this season after throwing for 1,709 yards and 15 touchdowns in one of the toughest conferences in the entire country. Angeli, a natural leader and an Under Armour All-American, graduates high school in December and will be enrolled at Notre Dame after the New Year.

JSZ’s Jay Cook has the profile:

JoJo Bermudez, Cedar Creek WR

A true speedster and the definition of a deep threat, JoJo Bermudez was a game-breaking talent for Cedar Creek in 2021. Bermudez hauled in an unsightly 91 catches for 1,662 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Pirates. Bermudez dominated defensive backfields all season long and helped Cedar Creek to a perfect 13-0 season. His blazing start to the regular season caught the eyes of coaches from Cincinnati, as he is now verbally committed to the Bearcats.

JSZ’s Mike Frankel has the profile:

Alex Brown, Red Bank Catholic QB

Alex Brown’s story throughout the 2021 postseason is well documented and will be talked about for years to come on Broad Street. Following the death of his mother, Brown delivered 12 touchdowns and no turnovers in the Caseys’ three-game playoff run to win the Non-Public B championship. The Bucknell commit ultimately threw for 1,817 yards and 22 touchdown passes with 519 rushing yards and 10 touchdown runs in his lone season at Red Bank Catholic.

JSZ’s Rich Chrampanis has the profile:

Davison Igbinosun, Union ATH

There’s no arguments here: Davison Igbinosun is one of the most dynamic players in the entire state of New Jersey. Igbinosun was a hawking defensive back and a devastating weapon on offense for the Farmers in his final high school year. He was the top reciever and rusher for the Farmers’ offense and notched 74 tackles and three interceptions on defense. Union’s season had an unceremonious ending, but that doesn’t take away from the impact he had in a 9-2 season in Union County.

Q’yaier Price, DePaul Catholic DE

One of the state’s most unblockable defensive forces finished off a senior season with some eye-popping numbers. Price compiled 35.5 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks for the 9-3 Spartans in 2021. He led the way for a defense that didn’t allow a touchdown for a five-game stretch in the beginning of the season and who eventually made it to the Non-Public B title game. Price flipped commitments from Syracuse to Rutgers after emerging as one of New Jersey’s top edge defender talents during the 2021 season.

JSZ’s Jay Cook has the profile: