A dedicated ESPNHS POY team managed the Gatorade State Football Player of the Year selection process, resulting in this winner based on the awards program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character. For his 50 fellow Gatorade State Football Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Akeel Lynch
THE BASICS: Anatomy of a POY
School: St. Francis (Athol Springs, N.Y.)
Position: Running back/defensive back
Weight: 195 pounds
THE PILLARS: Gatorade criteria
Athletic achievement: Lynch led the Red Raiders to an 8-3 record and the Monsignor Martin Association championship this past season. He rushed for 2,131 yards and 25 touchdowns on 213 carries. A First Team All-Conference selection, Lynch was MVP of the 2011 Kickoff Classic and a Second Team All-Western New York pick in 2010.
Academic excellence: Lynch has maintained an A-minus average in the classroom.
Exemplary character: Lynch has volunteered on behalf of senior citizens and underprivileged residents at a low-income housing development.
THE PRAISE: Charlie Comerford, head coach of rival Bishop Timon-St. Jude (Buffalo, N.Y.)
“Lynch is one of the smoothest high school athletes I have ever seen. He makes unbelievable plays almost effortlessly. He hits holes quicker than any back I have seen, and once he gets daylight, he is gone.”
THE FUTURE: Collegiate destination
Lynch has verbally committed to play football on an athletic scholarship at Boston College beginning in the fall of 2012.