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. Corona del Sol High (Tempe, Ariz.) offensive tackle Andrus Peat
ESPNU 150 rank: 16
Weight: 280 pounds
Traits: Run blocking, pass blocking, space blocking, physicality
ESPNU scouting report: "Peat is a very good athlete, demonstrating good explosion and playing strength at this stage of his development. Has the size for the offensive tackle position at the major level of competition and it appears his frame is very capable of adding the necessary bulk for the position over time."
2. Chaparral High (Scottsdale, Ariz.) wide receiver/defensive back and returning Gatorade Arizona Football Player of the Year Davonte Neal
ESPNU 150 rank: 28
Weight: 175 pounds
Testing results: 4.47 40-yard dash; 35.7 vertical jump
Traits: Versatility, playmaker, speed
ESPNU scouting report: "What Neal may lack in size, he makes up for in acceleration and speed. Neal is a gifted, smooth athlete with the ball in his hands and a dangerous space player. He lacks great height and bulk and we are not sure due to his size he will not end up being a cornerback at the next level."
3. Chaparral High (Scottsdale, Ariz.) quarterback Connor Brewer
ESPNU 150 rank: 35
Weight: 190 pounds
College: Texas (verbal)
Traits: Accuracy, arm strength, reads, athleticism
ESPNU scouting report: "Brewer is an accomplished, polished passer for the high school level. He has adequate-to-good height and the frame to really blossom and add bulk. He is a pocket passer that is a very good athlete capable of keeping a play alive when he has to."
4. Saguaro High (Scottsdale, Ariz.) athlete D.J. Foster
Weight: 185 pounds
Testing results: 4.91 40-yard dash; 29.0 vertical jump
Traits: Playmaker, speed, ball skills
ESPNU scouting report: "Foster may lack ideal overall size, but he doesn't lack ability, speed or quickness. He is a multi-faceted offensive weapon with field position changing ability as a return man. His size may land him on defense as a cover cornerback, but if in the spread he may be too versatile and gifted of an athlete to play anywhere but on offense."
5. Hamilton High (Chandler, Ariz.) safety Reggie Daniels
Weight: 177 pounds
Testing results: 4.63 40-yard dash; 30.1 vertical jump
Traits: Zone coverage, ball skills, run support, instincts
ESPNU scouting report: "Daniels is a scheme versatile, athletic safety prospect with well-rounded skill-set. This is a defender who can make plays in all three levels of the defense and is very active around the ball. Has good height and length but is lean and will need to add some size to continue his good production in the box at the next level."
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.