The Jim Leonhard Award is given annually to the top senior defensive back as part of the WSN Senior Football Awards presented by Taco Bell. The award is named after former Flambeau High School and University of Wisconsin athlete Jim Leonhard, who has gone on to great success in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets.
The pre-season watch list was trimmed down to 25 semi-finalists, and five finalists for the award have now been selected. Winners are announced the week of the state finals.
Jim Leonhard Award Finalists:
Brady Goska, Wisconsin Rapids -- A Second Team All-Conference defensive back last year, Goska was also the team's quarterback. This season he focused full-time on the defensive side of the ball and it paid off. He was a unanimous First Team All-Conference pick in the new VFA-South and part of a Rapids defense that has allowed just 13 points per game in a tough league. "Brady is just realizing his potential on the defensive side and has been a part of most batted balls and interceptions we have had this season," head coach Tony Biolo said. "He is a very good athlete that has allowed our front seven to play reckless football, knowing that there will not be big plays over the top."
Jake Heuer, Beaver Dam -- Heuer not only is the Golden Beavers starting quarterback, he is their leader on defense as well. A two-time First Team All-Conference choice at defensive back, Heuer finished his senior season with 26 solo tackles, 38 assists, 8 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions, and 13 pass breakups. "Jake has been the anchor for our defense for the last three years," head coach Tim White said.
Ben Holcomb, Germantown -- Holcomb is an outstanding two-way player who earned First Team All-Conference honors at defensive back for the second straight year and led the team in receiving yards and touchdowns as well. "On defense he is a big, physical kid who can cover a lot of ground with his speed," Germantown head coach Jake Davis said. In addition to his coverage skills, Holcomb is comfortable coming up in run support. "He is a big hitter and great at filling and stopping the run," Davis added. Holcomb recorded 34 solo tackles, 29 assists, 2 interceptions, and 5 tackles for loss this season.
Jerry Nash, Kenosha Bradford -- Nash was a First Team All-Conference choice as a junior and will be in line for more honors when this year's Southeast Conference awards are released in the coming weeks. Bradford sports a perfect 10-0 record heading into this weekend's showdown with Muskego, and has allowed just 13 points per game in the high-powered SEC this year, with Nash one of the leaders on defense. He is an outstanding athlete, posting a 4.55 40-yard dash, 4.1 second shuttle, 10'1" broad jump, and 35" vertical jump. He also has good size at 6-0, 190 pounds and is a willing tackler in run support.
Kyle Schueller, Edgar -- It's hard to find a more complete football player than Schueller, who makes an impact in every area of the game for the Wildcats. From his defensive back spot he totaled 33 tackles during the regular season with 4 interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns. Speaking of touchdowns, he added 3 more on punt returns, 3 on kickoff returns, 29 on rushing scores, and 5 on receptions (that's 43 total touchdowns through 10 games). Despite limited touches, he rushed for 1129 yards and averaged 12.7 yards per carry while also leading the team in receiving.