Wharton High cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III woke up Thursday morning and had only a vague idea of what was in store for him.
"My mom told me I was going downtown for something but she wouldn't say what it was," Hargreaves said. "I figured it had to be something with the football team."
But as Hargreaves was getting ready, his mom let it slip: "You're getting the Guy Toph Award."
A couple of hours later, Hargreaves, ranked by many scouting services as one of the top five high school football players in the country, had a huge grin on his face, holding the Guy Toph trophy, given every year to Hillsborough County's top football player since 1939.
"I'm so honored because I know this award is so special," said Hargreaves, who a few weeks ago was named the Under Armour All-American All-Star game most valuable player. "Now I'm going to take this and run with it into the future."
In the near future (Feb. 6), that means signing a national letter of intent to the University of Florida, the school to which he verbally committed last July.
"It was a relief to get that commitment out of the way and everything has been great ever since," said Hargreaves, who is ranked as ESPN's top cornerback and No. 3 overall prospect in the country.
Other Hillsborough County individual athletic award winners on Thursday included:
* Outstanding football lineman: Robinson senior Bruce Hector, who played both ways and helped the Knights reach the Class 5A state semifinals before losing 24-20 to Tallahassee Godby, the eventual state champions.
* Volleyball: Wharton senior Caci Andreychuck, who led the Wildcats with 396 kills and to a 25-3 record.
* Girls swimming: Newsome sophomore Maddie Hess, who won Class 3A individual state titles in the 100 backstroke and the 100 free and helped the Wolves to a second-place team finish at state.
* Boys swimming: King senior Eric Chao, who besides qualifying for the state meet, holds a 8.0081 GPA and has Harvard, Yale and the University of Chicago seeking his attendance.
* Girls cross country: Plant senior Julia Rodriguez, who helped the Panthers to a state runner-up finish by placing in the top 10 as an individual. Rodriguez also owns a 5.76 GPA.
* Boys cross country: Sickles senior Zainelabdin Fator, who won the county individual title, placed second at regionals and maintained a 4.07 GPA.
* Girls golf: Wharton senior Shannon Clark, the Wildcats' No. 1 golfer who also plays basketball and serves in the ROTC.
* Boys golf: Gaither senior Jimmy Stanger, who was the district and regional individual champion and placed third at the state tournament.