Hopkinsville's Reece Jesse is the type of person that lets his play do the talking.

After 67 catches, 1,184 yards and 15 touchdowns, it turns out Jesse said plenty on the field this season for the Tigers.

But, Jesse wasn't sure this year was going to be his breakout season.

"I knew I was going to have a good year," he said. "But, I didn't think it was going to be how it was … I thought it was going to be next year probably."

It's Jesse's big-play potential and his ability to catch the football that makes him this year's Toyota of Hopkinsville Southern Pennyrile Football Athlete of the Year.

During the Tigers' final regular-season against Paducah Tilghman, two Blue Tornado defenders were on Jesse late in the game. On one play, one of them batted the ball down and they immediately starting knocking Jesse's ability to play Division I football.

A few plays later, Jesse had a pivotal catch on fourth down to put the Tigers in a position to win the game.

But that wasn't the first time an opposing player questioned his talents.

"Every single game," he said. "Every one."

Jesse has learned to tune them out and make them pay on the next play.

"It's just annoying," he said. "Early on in the game, I don't mind as much. They just keep saying it and saying it and it gets on my nerves. That's when it turns me up and I start killing them."

Jesse said he knew the Tigers' offense would be dynamic last season and that they'd be able to put points on the board.

For him, it was also a big step that propelled him to another level.

Jesse said it's been a great feeling hearing from the coaches that want them on their team after he wraps up his career at HHS.

"Just blessed," he said. "Can't really say too much. Just blessed and humbled that they're taking a look."

Purdue was the first team to reach out to Jesse, which was special because when he was in middle school he looked up to former Christian County star Cory Trice.

"I wanted to be just like him," he said.

And when the Boilermakers made their official offer, it was an exciting moment for Jesse and his family.

"It was really just a surprise, I wasn't really expecting it," he said. "I went to their camp and I thought I didn't have as good of a day as I wanted. Then two days later they called and said they were going to offer me. I was happy, excited, mom screaming around the house. It was a good feeling."

Whether it be Jesse's mom, dad, siblings or another relative, it's been a group effort supporting the Tiger receiver.

"They've been very important," he said of his parents and family. "I feel like they push me to keep getting better and better and never settle because settling doesn't get you where you want to be so you've got to keep working harder to get more opportunities."

With his senior year ahead of him and the Tigers, Jesse has big aspirations for next season.

"My big goal is to win a state championship," he said. "I don't want to just isolate myself and worry about my stats, I want my team to win games."

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