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: Casey Cochran
THE BASICS: Anatomy of a POY
School: Masuk (Monroe, Conn.)
Weight: 205 pounds
THE PILLARS: Gatorade criteria
Athletic achievement: The state’s returning Gatorade Football Player of the Year, Cochran led the Panthers to an 11-0 record and a berth in the Class L state semifinals against Hand (Madison, Conn.), scheduled for Dec. 3. He passed for 2,801 yards and 36 touchdowns through 11 games, completing 119-of-167 attempts while throwing just four interceptions. Cochran also rushed for four touchdowns. He won a Class SS state title with New London (Conn.) as a freshman in 2008 and with Masuk in 2010. Cochran is the state’s career leader in two categories with 10,501 yards passing and 108 touchdowns.
Academic excellence: Cochran has maintained a 3.92 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: The winner of the Masuk High Book Award for Introduction to Engineering and Algebra I and Geometry, Cochran has volunteered locally at area food banks for the needy, as a youth football coach and as a peer tutor.
THE PRAISE: Joe Lato, head coach of rival Weston (Conn.)
“It’s scary how someone can be that accurate. It’s unbelievable what Casey Cochran can do. I haven’t seen a high school quarterback like him. He makes everybody look silly.”
THE FUTURE: Collegiate destination
Cochran has verbally committed to play football on an athletic scholarship at the University of Connecticut beginning in the fall of 2012.
THE FEATURE: ESPNHS Magazine
"Casey Cochran out to prove himself in 2011"
"Brock Huard schools Cochran in film study"