MR. FOOTBALL: Niceville's Wainwright joins lauded fraternity as Florida's top player
NICEVILLE — Moments after being named Mr. Football, joining a fraternity that includes Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook and Tim Tebow, Trey Wainwright posed an interesting question:
Why stop there?
"I was just joking with coach Thompson that I can win Mr. Baseball too," laughed the senior Niceville quarterback.
This is not cockiness. Just a nod to the notion that, yes, Mr. Football could possibly be a better baseball player.
How could that be, you ask? How could a guy who threw for a school-record 2,749 passing yards, 34 touchdowns and a 72% completion rate — fifth, fourth and first in the state, respectively — be better on the baseball diamond?
"If you would've asked me last year, I definitely would've said baseball was my better sport," said Wainwright, who earned the Daily News' Large Schools Offensive Player of the Year on Christmas Day. "But after the year I had, It's 50/50."
Dual talents included, the rights to Wainwright's story should really be purchased by Hollywood.
He was a water boy as a sophomore. A backup as a junior. Now the 6-foot, 185-pound playmaker is the only player in the history of the Daily News' coverage area to win Mr. Football, an honor that's been around for 29 years and has evaded standouts like NFL prospects Michael Carter and Eli Stove.
"It's an honor to represent the team and the town," Wainwright said. "Being the backup definitely humbled me and helped me in learning the offense. Once the season started, I was ready to take over the offense."
In helping lead the 11-1 Eagles to their first Final Four since 2014, Wainwright posted 1,065 passing yards and 14 touchdowns compared to just two interceptions in the postseason.
"Trey's name will always be etched with some of the greatest players ever out of the state of Florida," said Niceville co-offensive coordinator Adron Robinson, the 1989 Niceville grad who had 89 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the 48-14 state title win in 1988 over Bradenton Southeast. "He is a great representative of the town and our high school. I could not be more proud of him."
As his aforementioned nod to Mr. Baseball, he's not done yet as he looks to build on his swan song.
After batting .417 as a junior and leading the team in doubles and home runs during a pandemic-shortened 11-0 season, Wainwright is dreaming big.
"The goal is to hit .450 and lead the team in homers, which is a big goal considering we have a lot of guys gunning for that title," he said. "I feel really good and I'm feeling a lot stronger, so hopefully I can keep that average and just bring more power.
"I just want to do my best for the team. We have a lot of leaders on this team and I truly believe we can win a state championship."
Don't put it past Wainwright. But for now he can simply revel in the latest honor ... and enjoy a baked oyster or 12.
"To celebrate, I'm gonna go down to the Harbor with my family and maybe go to Boshamps," he said. "I'm super stoked. This feels incredible."