The Joe Thomas Award is given annually to the state's top senior offensive lineman as part of the WSN Senior Football Awards. The award is named after former Brookfield Central and University of Wisconsin athlete Joe Thomas, who has gone on to great success in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns. After an All-American career at UW, Thomas has been selected to the NFL Pro Bowl each of his nine years in the league.
The pre-season watch list was trimmed down to 15 semi-finalists, and eight finalists for the award have now been selected. Winners are announced the week of the state finals.
Joe Thomas Award Finalists:
Brandon Haag, Appleton North - Haag was a repeat selection on the VFA-North First Team All-Conference list, adding Offensive Lineman of the Year honors in the conference as well. "He has not given up a sack and we run to his side the majority of the time," said head coach Rob Salm. "He is without a doubt the best offensive lineman to ever play at our school, and we have had some good ones."
Cody Ince, Unity - A dominating two-way lineman, Ince received considerable recruiting interest in the off-season before committing to Iowa. A two-way starter all four years at Unity, he got high praise from head coach Corey Nelson, who said, "Cody works very hard in school, in practice, during games, and in the weight room to improve himself and his teammates."
Andrew Lyons, Kenosha Bradford - Lyons was one of the most impressive linemen in a loaded Southeast Conference this season, helping the Red Devils put up big numbers on the ground and through the air. Holding a scholarship offer from Western Illinois, he has chosen to accept a preferred walk-on invite from Wisconsin.
Zach Mueller, D.C. Everest - Mueller is a two-time First Team All-Conference selection for the Evergreens, receiving VFA-West Offensive Lineman of the Year recognition this season. He gave a verbal commitment to Illinois State in the off-season.
Ryan Possley, Green Bay Preble - Possley was recently named the co-Offensive Lineman of the Year in the FRCC, which has produced some outstanding big men up front over the years. "He is a great technician," said head coach Tim Larsen. "Ryan has always worked extremely hard in practice and played both sides of the football in games regularly."
Owen Rozumalski, Oak Creek - A returning Honorable Mention All-State pick by the WFCA, Rozumalski will pick up plenty of hardware in 2017 as well. "Owen played both sides of the ball all season, which is tough in our league," said head coach Mike Bartholomew. "He is the best total lineman I have coached at the high school level."
Trevor Shohoney, Franklin - A Second Team All-Conference pick in the Southeast last year, Shohoney will move up considerably in 2017 for the highly-ranked Sabers. "Trevor is the next great offensive lineman we have produced, and I would put him up there against any of the as far as talent," said head coach Louis Brown. "He stays on blocks better than anyone I can remember. He has tremendous balance and strength for his size." He has committed to South Dakota.
Bryce Texeira, Waukesha West - West has put up some big offensive numbers en route to an unbeaten record through Level 1 of the playoffs, with Texeira leading the way up front once again. A three-year starter, he has also played significantly on the defensive line this season. Committed to Navy and sporting a 4.1 GPA, he was a First Team All-Conference selection last year and bound to receive even more postseason honors in 2017.
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