Gunner Kiel came into the season as the favorite to win the Gatorade State Player of the Year award, and the Columbus East quarterback fulfilled those predictions and then some. The Gatorade panel announced the winners today, and Kiel was named the 2011 winner for Indiana.
Kiel, the No. 20 player in the ESPNU 150, passed for 2,517 yards and 28 touchdowns this season while throwing just four interceptions. Kiel was working with a mostly new receiving corps, but his game preparation and his cerebral approach allowed him to bring the group together very quickly. Columbus East went 12-2 on the season and reached the Class 4A semifinals.
There were other contenders for the award, including SB Washington senior receiver Gehrig Dieter (2,171 yards, 25 touchdowns) and Warren Central senior defensive tackle Sheldon Day (36 tackles, nine sacks), but none were as valuable to their team as Kiel. If I had a vote for the Gatorade award, I would have gone with Kiel as well.
To read the complete rundown of Kiel's credentials, click here.
To see all the Gatorade POY winners for every state, click here.