KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (WATE) — Austin-East running back Markeyis Billingsley is the Friday Frenzy Player of the Week.

Junior running back Markeyis Billingsley gives his all every time he steps on the football field. “He’s a workhorse. He’s one of our leaders, he’s one of our captains,” said Austin-East football head coach Antonio Mays. “They rally behind Tank. It’s easy to block for a guy that’s running as hard as he’s running.”

He may go by Markeyis in the classroom but on the gridiron, his teammates and coaches call him, Tank. A nickname given to him by Coach Mays, that stuck since his Freshman year.

“He reminded me of a guy one of my frat brothers at Iowa State, he was a safety. Short, stocky guy, it reminded me so much of him so we started calling him, Tank,” said Mays. “Then when we saw him running the ball, it just stuck.”

A force in the backfield, Billinsgley duals as a running back and as a safety. Through six games the junior has accounted for 31 tackles, 15 solos, 9 tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble. On offense, Billingsley has 99 carries for 582 yards and 5 touchdowns. He also plays on special teams as a kick returner, recording 180 yards.

“He’s a football player, that’s probably the biggest compliment I can give him,” said Coach Mays with a smile.

In Week 7 of the high school football season, Billingsley carried the ball 18 times for 205 yards and a touchdown, while tallying 7 tackles on defense. The Roadrunners earned its second win of the season over Union County, helping the program to its first two wins since the 2019 season.

“He practices that way. He’s played every game that way. We had an opportunity, the offensive line blocked well for him,” said Coach Mays. “His preparation met up with his opportunity and he got this award.”

Billingsley said the award gives him confidence and reassurance in his game that he can produce as he did against Union County every single week.

“I know tank outside of football. I know what he deals with on a daily basis. And I’m so happy that he won it moments like this are good for some people, for some people they’re great. I think Tank is going to remember this for the rest of his life,” said Mays.