Evan Prater, UC commit and Wyoming QB, becomes Cincinnati's 1st Mr. Football since 1992

Scott Springer
Cincinnati Enquirer

WYOMING - For the first time in 27 years, Ohio's Mr. Football resides in Cincinnati.

Wyoming High School senior quarterback Evan Prater, who is the Ohio Division IV Offensive Player of the Year and an All-American, brings the title back to Greater Cincinnati for the first time since Norwood's Marc Edwards won in 1992.

Since then, Cincinnati has had considerable representation in state championships, but no Mr. Football winners until Wednesday's announcement.

More:Cincinnati high school football: Complete list of 2019 All-Ohio teams, Divisions I-VII

"I'm excited; it's a really a blessing," Prater said. "To bring it back to Cincinnati is huge."

Prater's high school football career ended last weekend with a Division IV semifinal lost to Clyde. That left his high school record as a starting quarterback at Wyoming at 40-2. Both losses came deep in the playoffs to end undefeated seasons in 2017 and this year. Last season, he led the Cowboys to the Division IV state title at 15-0 with a dominant performance in Canton.

More:Wyoming's Aaron Hancock makes Mr. Football case for Evan Prater: 'What more could you ask for?'

More:Cincinnati high school football: Wyoming's Evan Prater receives All-American jersey

Wyoming Qb Evan Prater scores one of his 5 touchdowns during the Cowboys playoff win over Valley View, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019.

The 6-5, 190-pound dual-threat ran for 242 yards and three touchdowns and was 6-for-11 passing for 149 yards and two more scores. It was Wyoming's first state title in 41 years.

"A second state title would have been great, but winning this award was a huge personal goal for me," Prater said. "Bringing it back to Cincinnati is huge, not just for me, but my family and the community. Coach (Aaron) Hancock did a great job just supporting me and pushing me to be my best."

Hancock lobbied hard for his quarterback, reaching out to state-wide media as well as addressing the topic in many post-game interviews. Hancock actually was a freshman at Norwood when Cincinnati's last Mr. Football, Marc Edwards was steamrolling him in practice. Norwood's coach was Jim Barre, who has Wyoming ties. Barre tutored Hancock on how to reach media in all counties of Ohio with votes for Mr. Football.

Hancock and Prater were also able to speak with Edwards.

Evan Prater, quarterback and senior at Wyoming High School, poses for a portrait in The Enquirer's studio in downtown Cincinnati Thursday, August 15, 2019. Prater committed to playing at the University of Cincinnati.

"The one thing I would say about Marc Edwards and Evan Prater is they embrace every role they have with full enthusiasm," Hancock said. "Every day he'd come out in practice and have that same enthusiasm (as Edwards). I'm so happy for him. He deserves it!"

In the offseason, Prater made more local headlines when he committed to the University of Cincinnati in May. Joining him there is older brother Garyn Prater, who transferred from Ohio State. Garyn has been injured this season, but the two have the chance to play together again as they did when Evan was a freshman. Both Praters starred in football and basketball at Wyoming.

More:UC football transfer Garyn Prater: 'I don't regret anything about Ohio State' experience

Evan Prater, who was also offered in basketball by Wright State, finished his career throwing for 5,699 yards and 72 touchdowns and ran for 4,124 yards and 73 scores. Most of that came in three seasons as he served as back-up to current Northwestern quarterback Andrew Marty his freshman year.

In addition to Marc Edwards, who went on to star at Notre Dame and played in the NFL with the Browns and Patriots, the Mr. Football trophy has been given to many accomplished players.

Robert Smith was a two-time winner who went on to Ohio State and the NFL after winning in the late 1980s. Charles Woodson won in 1994, then went to Michigan and became a rare defensive Heisman Trophy winner.

Evan Prater, quarterback and senior at Wyoming High School, poses for a portrait in The Enquirer's studio in downtown Cincinnati Thursday, August 15, 2019. Prater committed to playing at the University of Cincinnati.

Others from Ohio State include 1995's Andy Katzenmoyer and Maurice Clarett in 2001. Current Heisman favorite Joe Burrow of Athens won in 2014 before going to OSU, then LSU.

Prater makes it four with a UC connection. Ben Mauk of Kenton won in 2002 then went to Wake Forest and transferred to Brian Kelly's Bearcats for the 2007 season. Akise Teague won in 2010 out of Youngstown Ursuline and was briefly a Bearcat and current running back Michael Warren II won in 2016 out of Toledo Central Catholic.

"I was looking at the list on Wikipedia the other night," Prater said. "Charles Woodson, Joe Burrow, Mike Warren, Marc Edwards, just some phenomenal football players that won the award. It's just an honor to know that my name is going to be on those pages."

Evan Prater is expected to sign with coach Luke Fickell's Bearcats Dec. 18.