Football: DI State Championship

Pride head coach Norris Vaughan hugs Timmy Hernandez (21) after winning the Division I Football Championships between Mountain Pointe Pride and Hamilton Huskies at University of Phoenix Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 30 2013.

David Jolkovski/AFN

I first noticed Timmy Hernandez in the spring when he was doing one-on-one drills with Mountain Pointe’s big-time recruit Jalen Brown.

Brown, playing wide receiver, was winning the battles but not easily like I had seen the Oregon recruit do to so many defensive backs over the last four years. Hernandez actually held his own and wasn’t overmatched like the others.

I chalked it up to Brown’s then injured ankle and spring ball.

A lot of players and coaches pointed to Hernandez as to having a great spring, but I still figured the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Emmanuel Butler was going to be the second option in the passing game.

Wrong again.

Then he was named a starter in the defensive backfield with Brown and two highly-touted move-ins – Dominique Fenstermacher and Markell Simmons – and again I underestimated his impact.

I started to get an idea in the first game when he made some special, big-time plays against Bishop Gorman in the season opener.

It ended up being a foreshadowing of what was to come as Hernandez turned out to be one of the most dependable and biggest player makers for the Pride in their championship season.

He was named the Division I, Section IV Defensive Player of the Year by opposing coaches after showing he was just as much of a shutdown corner as Fenstermacher, who had a great season himself to earn a scholarship from UNLV.

College coaches were just as blind as me when it came to Hernandez’s talent and influence on both sides of the ball.

That changed as of Wednesday when Hernandez, whose GPA (4.6) is nearly the same as his 40 time (4.7), received an offer from the Air Force Academy to play either side of the ball.

Hopefully, it is a sign, much like myself, recruiters have learned to stop doubting Hernandez.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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