Return of the POY: Texas' Johnathan Gray

The 2011-12 Gatorade State Football Players of the Year selection process is underway, and what better way to kick off coverage than with profiles of returning underclassmen winners? Repeating is no guarantee, but here's a snapshot of what this year’s challengers can shoot for …

Name: Johnathan Gray

Position: Running Back

Grade: Senior

School: Aledo (Texas)

College: University of Texas (verbal)

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 190 pounds

Notes: 2010-11 Gatorade Texas Football Player of the Year ... No. 8 national recruit in Class of 2012 as ranked by ESPNU ... 2010 ESPNHS Mr. Football USA National Player of the Year ... 2010 Class 4A Player of the Year as named by the Texas Sports Writers Association ... 2009 ESPNHS National Sophomore of the Year ... 2009 Class 4A Co-Offensive Player of the Year as named by the Texas Sports Writers Association ... 2009 and 2010 First Team All-State selection ... 2009 and 2010 Class 4A Division II championship game Most Valuable Player ... 2009 and 2010 Class 4A Division II state champion ... 0wns state records for touchdowns in a season (59) and career


Academics: B average

Extracurricular activities: church youth group mentor ... motivational speaker to at-risk kids ... member of District Health Committee to enable students to make informed choices about a healthy lifestyle ... "Helping Hands" volunteer at Baylor All Saints Hospital

Jim Skinner, head coach of rival Birdville High: "It’s extremely tough to stop him. He’s very talented. He's probably the most talented running back I've coached against in my entire career, and I've coached against some good ones. He's got tremendous balance and tremendous speed. He understands his blocking schemes. He's just an outstanding football player. Look at his stats. The kid's done some unbelievable things, and he's only playing half the game sometimes."

Each Gatorade State Player of the Year is challenged by thousands of fellow high school athletes. These are a few of the returning football underclassmen that also contended in 2010-11 …

Jeremiah Briscoe SR ATH Second Baptist; Troy Green SR RB/LB Brenham; Trent Jackson SR RB/DB Cuero; Dennis Smith SR RB/DB Wimberley; Timothy Wright SR RB La Marque; Jaden Obercrom SR K Martin; Trey Metoyer SR WR Whitehouse; Mario Edwards SR DE Billy Ryan; Malcolm Brown SR DT Brenham; Cayleb Jones SR WR S.F. Austin

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.Candidates are judged upon athletic production and impact in the current season. Contenders must also demonstrate high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership. Any class year is eligible, senior status has no bearing on a candidate’s merit and selections are made independent of ESPNU's recruit rankings.

To nominate a student-athlete for Player of the Year honors, contact the POY team at poy@risemag.com.