KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Lenoir City running back Trey Wilhite has been named the Greater Knoxville Honda Dealers Player of the Year.
Fourteen players from around East Tennessee were on the Friday Frenzy Player of the Year ballot earning tens of thousands of votes online. Wilhite received more than 45,000 votes to take home the award.
“It says a lot, they’re (Lenoir City fans) always riding with us no matter what win or loss,” said Wilhite. “I feel like with coach Dugger here it’s changed a lot and the community has come back out to watch us.”
After starting the season 1-5, Wilhite led the Panthers to wins in three of their final four games. This after Lenoir City head coach Gary Dugger moved Wilhite from wingback to the essentially the quarterback position.
“Halfway through the season we had our bye week, we were 1-4 and we just felt between Trey and Chris McCord they were our main ball carriers,” said Dugger. “I should have made the move sooner.”
“Whenever I got back there I felt like I was in control of the offense and things went a whole lot smoother,” said Wilhite.
Wilhite finished the season with 1,052 yards and 14 touchdowns in 9 games, but as the son of the Panthers’ defensive coordinator Richie Wilhite, Trey says he like to dish out hits rather than take them.
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“The defensive coordinator, he’s my dad, so I’ve always had that defensive mindset,” said Wilhite. “Whenever I go out there I’m calm but it’s like taking anger out on the field.”
You can tell he’s a coaches kid because he just understands things inside of the game which some high school kids don’t pick up on right away,” said Dugger. “He’s just very award and as a defensive back he’ll come down and hit you too.”
Wilhite feels like winning the Friday Frenzy Player of the Year award has a lot to do with his mom and dad and the way they raised him.
“Since I was a kid my dad has always been coaching me, I feel like he’s always led me in the right direction to become the football player I am, said Wilhite. “My mom does a lot of the outside work, she’s always there to support me no matter what and she’s always going to be my biggest fan.”