Muscle Shoals senior linebacker Jackson Bratton is one of 15 semifinalists nationally for the high school version of the Butkus Award, given by The Butkus Foundation to the best linebacker in the country.

It is named for Dick Butkus, a star linebacker for the Chicago Bears in the late 1960s and early 70s.

The high school honor has been awarded since 2008, when Manti Te’o, who eventually played for Notre Dame, won. IMG Academy’s Dylan Moses, now at Alabama, won in 2016.

Bratton was the TimesDaily's Class 4A-7A football player of the year last year and made the Class 6A all-state first team. He is committed to Alabama.

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Beckwith adds two-sport offer

Florence athlete Dee Beckwith announced Wednesday on Twitter he has received an offer to play both football and basketball at the University of Tennessee.

Beckwith previously announced a similar offer to play both sports from the University of Florida. He is being recruited by football programs at numerous other Power 5 schools as well.

Asked Wednesday about his recruitment, Beckwith said he was not ready yet to announce a decision.

Beckwith has played quarterback, running back and receiver at various times this year for the Falcons (6-4), who host Mountain Brook in a Class 7A playoff game tonight. He is a forward on the Florence basketball team.

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Locals picked for All-Star game

Florence defensive lineman Quintarious Abernathy, Muscle Shoals linebacker Jackson Bratton and Muscle Shoals quarterback Logan Smothers will represent Alabama at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game.

Abernathy has been a key player for a Florence defense that has held its last three opponents to 14 points or fewer. The Falcons have won four games in a row.

Bratton and Smothers, the latter a Nebraska commit, have led the Trojans to a 10-0 record and are big reasons why Muscle Shoals is seen as a Class 6A state championship contender.

Additionally, Mars Hill coach Darrell Higgins will be a wide receivers coach for the Alabama team. Mars Hill’s Hudson Higgins and Jesse Parker will serve as team managers.

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Lauren Allen signs with Faulkner

Mars Hill basketball player Lauren Allen signs recently to continue her education and basketball career at Faulkner University.

Allen is a 6-1 senior center. She helped Mars Hill win the Class 1A, Area 16 championship last year. The Panthers were knocked off by Belgreen in the sub-regional round.

Two years ago, as a sophomore, Allen was a key player for a Mars Hill team won the Class 2A, Area 16 championship and thrashed Winston County in a sub-regional game before falling to eventual state semifinalist Phil Campbell in the Northwest Regional semifinals.

Mars Hill opens its season Saturday, November 16 against Decatur.

Contact Craig at Craig.Thomas@TimesDaily.com. Follow him on Twitter: @TD_CraigThomas

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