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: Gunner Kiel
THE BASICS: Anatomy of a POY
School: Columbus East (Columbus, Ind.)
Weight: 215 pounds
THE PILLARS: Gatorade criteria
Athletic achievement: Kiel passed for 2,517 yards and 28 touchdowns this past season, completing 127-of-240 passes while throwing just four interceptions and leading the Olympians (12-2) to the Class 4A semifinals. A 2012 U.S. Army All-American and ranked No. 20 among recruits in the Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU, he completed 90 touchdown passes against 25 interceptions as a three-year varsity starter.
Academic excellence: Kiel has maintained a 3.53 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A devoted member of his church community, Kiel has assisted in relief efforts for Columbus area flood victims and volunteered locally as a youth football coach and an elementary school guest reader.
THE PRAISE: Steven Fish, head coach of rival Madison (Ind.)
“Gunner Kiel is an outstanding football player. What impresses me the most about him is his command of the offense. He literally looked like Peyton Manning, calling out plays, pointing to potential blitzing players and orchestrating his offense. He knows what he wants to do and is very efficient.”
THE FUTURE: Collegiate destination
Kiel remains undecided upon a college destination.
THE FEATURE: ESPNHS Magazine
"Gunner Kiel unplugged"