ESPN Boston Mr. Football Award Finalists

ESPNBoston.com and its high school sports staff today have named five finalists for the its fifth annual Mr. Football Award, given to the top overall player in Massachusetts. The winner will be announced on Monday, Dec. 8, following the weekend's MIAA Football State Championships.

Natick's Troy Flutie took home last year's award, joining St. John's Prep's Alex Moore and Everett's Jonathan DiBiaso and Matt Costello among past recipients for the prestigious honor.

The winner will be presented the award at Gillette Stadium prior to the New England Patriots' home contest with the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 14.


Lukas Denis

Senior Defensive Back

Everett High School

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Denis is the fifth Everett player in as many years to be named a finalist, more than any other school, joining the ranks of Jonathan DiBiaso, Matt Costello, Manny Asprilla and John Montelus. Denis has dominated all three phases of the game all season long for the Crimson Tide, who are making a record fifth appearance at Gillette Stadium for an MIAA Super Bowl championship on Dec. 6 when they face rival Xaverian for the Division 1 State Championship. At cornerback, Denis has recorded 45 tackles and two forced fumbles, to go along with a team-high seven interceptions -- two of which have been returned for scores. Offensively, he has totaled 14 touchdowns combined through the air and ground. Denis is currently committed to Boston College.


Brian Dunlap

Senior Wide Receiver

Natick High School

After a foot injury wiped out his entire junior season, the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder rebounded with a record-setting senior season, setting state all-time marks for receiving touchdowns and receiving yards. Headed into the Redhawks' Thanksgiving contest with Framingham, Dunlap has 53 catches for 1,170 yards and 20 touchdowns, his third campaign with at least 1,100 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. For his career, he has 55 receiving touchdowns and needs 88 yards on Turkey Day to surpass 4,000 receiving yards for his career. Dunlap is currently committed to Harvard University.


Joe Gaziano

Senior Defensive End

Xaverian Brothers High School

Gaziano earned ESPN Boston's Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2013 after racking up a dozen sacks to go with 53 tackles, three blocked punts and an interception. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound anchor faced double-teams nearly all season long for the Hawks, who have maintained the No. 1 spot in ESPN Boston's statewide Top 25 poll all season long and will face Everett for the Division 1 state championship on Dec. 6. Going into the Hawks' Thanskgiving contest with archrival St. John's Prep, Gaziano has recorded 42 tackles (19 for loss) and 12 sacks. Gaziano is currently committed to Northwestern University.


Chris Lindstrom

Senior Guard/Defensive End

Shepherd Hill Regional High School

The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder is the second offensive lineman ever to be named a finalist for the Mr. Football Award, joining current Notre Dame redshirt-freshman John Montelus, who was a finalist in 2012 at Everett High. Behind Lindstrom, the Rams were one of the state's most dominant rushing attacks this season, totaling over 3,500 yards and 46 touchdowns as a team through 11 games, averaging 325 yards per game and 7.2 yards per carry. On defense, Lindstrom was just as explosive at the end spot, recording 57 tackles (12 for loss) and a team-high seven sacks. Lindstrom is currently committed to Boston College.


Mike Maggipinto

Junior Running Back

East Longmeadow High School

Who says size matters? The 5-foot-5 waterbug has taken Western Mass. by storm this fall with wild numbers in the Spartans' unique rushing attack. Going into Thursday's matchup with Thanksgiving rival Longmeadow, Maggipinto needs just 11 yards to surpass the 2,000 mark for the second year, and just 33 to top last year's total (2,022). On the season, he has 222 carries for 1,989 yards -- including a season-high 346 yards in the Spartans' D2 West semifinal win over Springfield Central -- averaging 8.9 yards per carry to go along with 25 touchdowns. Earlier this season, Maggipinto eclipsed the 4,000-yard career mark; with another season like this, he could place himself among the rare handful of Massachusetts schoolboy greats to achieve 6,000 yards for their career.