A second Wake Forest High School player has won tThe Associated Press defensive player of the year for North Carolina in as many seasons as the award has been around.
Linebacker Darius Hodge, a senior N.C. State recruit, received 19 votes from 23 media members to win the award one year after former teammate and current Clemson star defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence won the award.
Wake Forest coach Reggie Lucas, who led the team to the 4AA title, was announced as coach of the year on Friday.
Lincolnton wide receiver Sage Surratt was named the offensive player of the year.
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Hodge received 21 votes on the AP all-state team, which was announced Thursday. He was the MVP of the championship game after posting 17 tackles and two blocked punts in a 29-0 shutout of Greensboro’s Page High.
Wake Forest was the first Wake County team to win a N.C. High School Athletic Association football championship since 1987.
“Darius is what I call a coach’s linebacker,” Lucas told the AP. “When you talk about how you’re going to define a linebacker, you want your linebacker to be really aggressive. Darius is one of the most aggressive linebackers that I’ve coached. ... He played with a lot of intensity.”
Surratt earned the award one year after his older brother Chazz – now a quarterback at North Carolina – did at East Lincoln.
He received nine votes. Quarterbacks Holton Ahlers of D.H. Conley and Hendon Hooker of Greensboro’s Dudley High had three and six votes each, respectively. The two tied for the AP all-state quarterback spot. Shelby wide receiver Jayden Borders also had three votes.
Sage Surratt transferred to Lincolnton in the offseason and set state records for catches (129) and receiving yards (2,104) for 28 touchdowns. He is a two-time AP all-state football selection and an AP all-state basketball player.
Surratt is only the second receiver since 1983 to win AP individual honors, joining Maurice Mebane, who tied for the honor in 1992, from Burlington’s Cummings High. He was once committed to playing next year at Harvard but is now considering Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest.
“It wasn’t about the records, it was about trying to help my team win,” Surratt told the AP. “I couldn’t have done it without my coaches and the other players who were there with me. They do the same thing throughout the week I do. ... I tried to do what was best for my team.”