The Al Toon Award is given annually to the state's top senior wide receiver or tight end as part of the WSN Senior Football Awards. The award is named after former University of Wisconsin athlete Al Toon, who went on to play in the NFL for several very successful seasons before multiple concussions ended his career early. Toon is an active member of the community in the Madison area both in the business world and in various charitable endeavors.
The pre-season watch list was trimmed down to 15 semi-finalists, and five finalists for the award have now been selected. Winners are announced the week of the state finals.
Al Toon Award Finalists:
Mitchell Gerend, Southern Door – Gerend was a First Team All-Conference and WFCA Honorable Mention All-State choice last year, and has already added First Team all-league honors for the third time this season. In 12 games for the Packerland champion Eagles, he had 67 catches for 1,020 yards and 7 touchdowns. “The presence of Mitchell on the field often occupied multiple defenders from our opponents, creating opportunities for his teammates,” head coach Pat McCarthy said. “He is a physical blocker on the perimeter when he is not the player with the ball in his hands.”
Jordan Janssen, Kimberly – Janssen was a rotational player last year, accounting for just 9 catches and 113 yards. He has blown up as a senior however, leading the state in receiving yards much of the season. Through 13 games, he has 60 catches for 1,388 yards (23 ypc) with 15 touchdowns. A First Team All-Conference selection, Janssen is also an outstanding blocker for the Papermakers run game. “Jordan has tremendous size for a receiver, he has an unbelievable ability to attack the ball in the air, and he has the breakaway speed to turn a short catch into a long touchdown,” said head coach Steve Jones.
Marquis Reuter, Sun Prairie – Reuter earned First Team All-Conference recognition as a senior, helping the Cardinals qualify for the WIAA postseason once again. After a solid junior year, he led the team in receiving as a senior with 52 catches for 776 yards and 11 touchdowns in 11 games. “He constantly draws a double team and has excelled in every phase,” said head coach Brian Kaminski. “He understands what it takes to get open and was our one truly explosive player all season.”
Michael Richter, Ozaukee – Richter was a First Team All-Conference choice last season and is likely to garner similar or better postseason honors in 2015. The 6-5 senior hauled in 39 catches for 843 yards (21.6 ypc) with 12 touchdowns in 10 games this year. “Mitchell has broke all school records for receiving with 91 career catches, 1995 yards, and 26 touchdowns,” said head coach Jim Lippe.
Dale Tygum, Madison East – Tygum was very good last season for the Purgolders and has been a huge part of the program's turnaround that includes the first playoff appearance since 2004. In 10 games, he caught 74 passes for 972 yards and 14 touchdowns, showing the ability to work the underneath routes or use his size and speed to win balls down the field. “He came through for us in the clutch and would always demand the ball no matter the coverage,” said head coach Steve Erato. “He was our go-to receiver all year long and defenses knew that. Many teams began to double-team him or scheme to stop him.”