Large Schools Defensive Player of the Year: Keon Voisin, Crestview

CRESTVIEW — Keon Voisin is many things on the gridiron.

A go-to wideout for the area’s most prolific aerial attack.

A shutdown corner for the area’s best defense.

A big brother to 16-year-olds Devin and Jaden.

The 6-foot-1, 183-pound senior lined up next to his little bros at wideout, where the trio contributed nearly 2,000 yards, 100-plus catches and 19 touchdowns to the Crestview Bulldogs offense.

In the secondary, he and the twins continued their ball-hawking ways with nine turnovers.

If he was the peanut butter to Crestview, they were the jelly. He the mac, they the cheese.

Mention one. The others were bound to follow.

Yet, in this moment, in the aftermath of the program’s second straight district title, in the aftermath of the 10-0 start, in the aftermath of the trip to the Class 6A Elite Eight, this was Keon’s spotlight.

This was Keon’s Large Schools Defensive Player of the Year nod.

As with every sibling relationship, bragging rights are an important rite of passage.

Yet, told of the news, there was no gloating. No talk of being the greatest.

Why? Because Devin and Jaden made him better. And vice versa.

“When I look over at them, I see how good they are," Keon said. "When they look to me, they see the same thing.

“This isn’t just my award. This is their’s too. This is the whole team’s.”

Such a big brother thing to say. Always looking out for his siblings.

“I think this will push them to do what I did and then out-do that,” Keon said. “I see how good they can be. I just try to be an example for them.”

Blood or not, game recognizes game.

But Keon’s game is the focus. The focal point of the defense, argued Crestview head coach Tim Hatten.

“Keon was the guy. He made everything go for us defensively,” said the Large School COY.

It's hard to tell from his numbers, which don't necessarily jump off the page:

Three interceptions, 23 tackles, no pass deflections.

Yet the numbers, or lack thereof, speak of a cornerback no one wanted to test. That couldn’t be burned deep.

“No one did,” he said matter-of-factly. "That was one thing (defensive coordinator Tommy) Johnson told me, ‘Don’t ever get beat deep.’ I might as well of had that engraved on my helmet.”

Against Niceville, Keon had two picks to help the Bulldogs shore up a District 3-6A title and home-field advantage in the playoffs.

Keon’s strategy?

“You never want to go in underestimating anyone,” he said. “You want to play every receiver the same way."

Technically speaking, Keon said his approach was simple: Remain with the receiver and never let him get leverage.

“You want to keep your eye on the receiver and never look back until they look back,” Keon said. “The key is staying with them and putting yourself in position to make a play.”

Of course, cornerback wasn’t always Keon’s calling card. Last year he hauled in 53 catches for 791 yards and nine touchdowns at wideout with nary an interception at cornerback. By the start of his senior season he was a Dandy Dozen nod for his receiving skills, a candidate for offensive POY.

“Whenever I went to football camps it was as a receiver,” Keon said.

This year, though, he came back better conditioned. Ready to make a difference on both sides.

His offensive numbers tapered a bit as he hauled in 33 catches for 548 yards and five touchdowns. But the emergence of his brothers was the culprit.

All the while he quietly became Crestview’s shutdown corner.

“I wasn’t tired (playing both ways) this year,” he said. “It was just a lot of conditioning, a lot of running that got me ready.”

Got him ready to lead Crestview to the Elite Eight. Got him ready to sign as a cornerback with South Alabama, a Division I program that competes in the Sun Belt Conference.

In the meantime, basketball and the offseason training regimen will help him get “faster, stronger, mentally more prepared."

"I just gotta trust in myself, keep getting better and be ready for the opportunities to come," he said.

Spoken like a true big bro. Devin and Jaden, you listening?