D.J. Epley was formally presented with a huge award this year during Senior Night on Monday during the Madill/Lone Grove basketball games.


D.J. Epley was formally presented with a huge award this year during Senior Night on Monday during the Madill/Lone Grove basketball games.


Epley won the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award for Oklahoma male athletes. The award’s program was started in 1994.


“This is a huge honor for D.J. and our school,” athletic director Kenny Ridley said. “When you think of all the people who are nominated, and then to know that just one boy is selected, that’s just huge.”


Epley plays football, basketball and baseball for the Longhorns. He hopes to continue playing football and baseball at East Central next year.


“This is one of the biggest awards I could ever hope to win, and I’m very honored,” Epley said. “I owe a big thanks to coach Ridley and coach (Tim) Beard for encouraging me. My dad (Doug Epley) had a big influence on me throughout my life. And my mother (Melody Taylor) has always been there for me as well. I had some wonderful people who helped make this possible for me.”


According to Ridley, any high school in the country can send in nominations for its athletes. The selection process pares the contestants down to 10 boys and 10 girls from each state. From there one girl and one boy are selected for each state and the District of Columbia.


“They evaluate your grade point average, and they need to know about your athletic participation,” Epley said. “Volunteer efforts are noted, especially what you do at church, events like the Angel Tree Project and the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes). And you have to gather up all your statistics in the sports you play and get that turned in as well.”


Six boys and six girls will later be selected to travel to New York to be in attendance when next year’s college Heisman Trophy is presented at the Downtown Athletic Club, Ridley said. The announcements have yet to be made.