Austin Ledbetter Wins the 2020 Landers Award

January 15th, 2021 by

Austin Ledbetter, the senior quarterback for the three-time 7A state champion Bryant High School Hornets, won the 2020 Landers Award on Jan. 14, 2021. KATV Channel 7 and the Landers Auto Group announced Ledbetter as the 21st recipient of the award during a special 30-minute live television broadcast in Little Rock. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Ledbetter and his coach and family joined the broadcast remotely from Benton. Past Landers Award winner Tyler Wilson, who won in 2007 before playing for the Arkansas Razorbacks and three NFL teams, joined KATV sports anchors Steve Sullivan and Kyle Deckelbaum in KATV’s studio for the broadcast.

Ledbetter, who will graduate from Bryant High School in May, received the Landers Award trophy and a signature ring from Jostens. Bryant High School will receive a $5,000 scholarship in his honor. Other nominees this year included:

Corey Platt of Little Rock Christian Academy
Daniel Perry of Searcy High School
Frederick O’Donald of North Little Rock High School
Buddy Gaston of Joe T. Robinson High School, Little Rock
Joe Himon of Pulaski Academy
Kam Robinson of White Hall High School
Bryce Bohanon of Conway High School
Kareame Cotton of North Little Rock High School
Kam Turner of Rivercrest High School, Wilson

Click here to view Ledbetter’s nomination package.

In addition to the Landers Award, KATV and Landers present two other awards:

  • The Paul Eels Award honors a player who “exhibits perseverance, determination, courage and resolve in the face of adversity,” and is named in honor of the legendary Channel 7 sportscaster. This year’s winner was Bladen Fike of Fayetteville High School.
  • The first-ever Scott Landers Award was presented in honor of Scott Landers, a high school football stand-out during his time at Pulaski Academy and the managing partner of Landers Auto Group until his death in 2020. The inaugural winner was Futa Shinkawa of Pulaski Academy.

Commonly called the “Heisman of Arkansas high school football,” the Landers Award has been recognizing the top high school football athlete in the state since 2000. Each week during football season, KATV’s sports staff chooses a Landers Player of the Week. Arkansas broadcasters and reporters then vote on the overall Landers Award winner.

Previous winners include several eventual NFL players:

2000: De’Arrius Howard of West Memphis
2001: Reid McKinney of Warren
2002: Landon Leach of Russellville
2003: Peyton Hillis of Conway
2004: Darren McFadden of Oak Grove, North Little Rock
2005: Damian Williams of Springdale
2006: A.J. Whitmore of Nashville
2007: Tyler Wilson of Greenwood
2008: Spencer Keith of Pulaski Academy, Little Rock
2009: Michael Dyer of Little Rock Christian Academy
2010: Brandon Allen of Fayetteville
2011: Fredi Knighten of Pulaski Academy, Little Rock
2012: Drew Morgan of Greenwood
2013: Zach Launius of Cabot
2014: Ty Storey of Charleston
2015: LaDarius Skelton of Pine Bluff
2016: Taylor Powell of Fayetteville
2017: Connor Noland of Greenwood
2018: Justice Hill of Little Rock Christian Academy
2019: Jacolby Criswell of Morrilton

Click here to view the KATV broadcast.