POY Potential: Top 5 Ky. football recruits

The Gatorade Player of the Year Program honors athletes who meet comprehensive and exacting criteria in high school sports. Candidates are judged on athletic production and impact in the current season. Contenders also must demonstrate high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership. Senior status has no bearing on a candidate’s merit and selections are made independent of ESPNU's recruit rankings.

That being said, the state’s top five football recruits as ranked by ESPNU are sure to enter the 2011-12 Gatorade Football Player of the Year conversation at some point. Here they are …

1. Highlands High (Fort Thomas, KY) Quarterback Patrick Towles

  • ESPNU rank: No. 40 ATH

  • Height: 6-foot-4

  • Weight: 230 pounds

  • College: Kentucky (verbal)

  • Traits: Playmaker, speed

  • ESPNU scouting report: "Towles is definitely flying under the radar both as an athlete and passer. He possesses a supreme blend of size, arm strength and dual-threat ability. He is a gifted athlete with great feet that is dangerous when outside the pocket or called upon in the run game."

2. Dixie Heights High (Fort Mitchell, KY) Quarterback Zeke Pike

  • ESPNU rank: No. 24 QB

  • Height: 6-foot-4

  • Weight: 233 pounds

  • College: Auburn (verbal)

  • Traits: Arm strength, athleticism

  • ESPNU scouting report: "Pike is a very intriguing athlete and QB prospect. He is a massive prospect for this stage in terms of height and bulk and he is a deceptively good athlete as evidenced by him playing on defense as a DE/OLB and also in the kicking game. As a QB he is a guy that is a passer first, runner second and can get very hot when he gets into a rhythm."

3. Seneca High (Louisville, KY) Defensive tackle Tyrone Pearson

  • ESPNU rank: No. 37 DT

  • Height: 6-foot-2

  • Weight: 275 pounds

  • College: Kentucky (verbal)

  • Traits: Disruptiveness

  • ESPNU scouting report: "Pearson flashes the ability to be a disruptive presence in the trenches. He will line up and play some defensive end, but at the college level he will play inside at defensive tackle and could fit well as a three-technique. He has adequate height and good bulk."

4. DuPont Manual High (Louisville, KY) Defensive tackle Thomas Chapman

  • ESPNU rank: No. 56 DT

  • Height: 6-foot-3

  • Weight: 290 pounds

  • College: Kentucky (verbal)

  • Traits: Run defense

  • ESPNU scouting report: "Chapman is a good sized defensive tackle who displays that he can be tough inside. He will move around the defensive line in high school, but at the college level he is an interior player. He has good height and carries his bulk well and looks to have room to add still more good size and should with some time in a college weight program be able to comfortable play over 300 pounds."

5. Mason County High (Maysville, KY) Outside linebacker Josh Harris

  • ESPNU rank: No. 82 OLB

  • Height: 6-foot-2

  • Weight: 195 pounds

  • College: Kentucky (verbal)

  • Traits: Tackling, outside run support

  • ESPNU scouting report: "Harris is a playmaker both on offense and defense. We feel his height, athleticism and playing speed are better suited for the outside linebacker position at the major level of competition; over time he will need to add bulk to his frame."

A dedicated POY team at ESPNHS manages the Gatorade Player of the Year program selection process and oversees all research, reporting, comparative analysis and criteria-compliance on the award program’s behalf.