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 three 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. New Hampton School (New Hampton, N.H.) quarterback/cornerback Jake Kiley
Weight: 175 pounds
College: Penn State (verbal)
Traits: Ball skills, instincts
ESPNU scouting report: "Kiley is a tall, leaner cornerback prospect with good instincts and athleticism. Could be falling under the radar as he's not playing in a football hotbed versus strong competition week in and week out. Instincts and awareness around the ball are good."
2. Nashua South High (Nashua, N.H.) running back Armond McRae
Weight: 191 pounds
Testing results: 4.79 40-yard dash; 31.8 vertical jump
ESPNU scouting report: "McRae operates out of a spread offense, lining up as a running back or slot receiver, productively moving the chains. Is a strong, well-built prospect with quick foot work. Has the frame to add size and bulk. Uses stiff arm effectively. Flashes good speed but does not appear to show top end, break long run ability."
3. Salem High (N.H.) running back Jerickson Fedrick
Weight: 205 pounds
Testing results: 4.75 40-yard dash; 41.0 vertical jump
Traits: Elusiveness, hands
ESPNU scouting report: "Fedrick is a complete back at the high school level falling under the radar coming out of the state of New Hampshire. Has posted great production. He can run inside, out, block and catch the football out of backfield. Has better burst and quickness than top-end speed but is a threat to take it the distance versus his current competition."
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 …
Kevin Davies SR FB/LB Pinkerton; Manny Latimore SO RB Pinkerton; Tyler Grant JR RB Exeter
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.