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: Ryan Switzer
THE BASICS: Anatomy of a POY
School: George Washington (Charleston, W.V.)
Position: Running back/defensive back
Weight: 180 pounds
THE PILLARS: Gatorade criteria
Athletic achievement: Switzer has led the Patriots to a 13-0 record and a berth in the Class AAA state final vs. Martinsburg (W.V.), scheduled for Dec. 2. He rushed for 2,601 yards and 39 touchdowns on 270 carries through 13 games. The 2011 Don Nehlen Chapter of the National Football Foundation High School Player of the year, Switzer was named the ESPNHS East Region Player of the Week for Nov. 9 when he ran 20 times for 333 yards and six touchdowns and scored a seventh time on a 51-yard punt return in a 56-12 win over Parkersburg (W.V.).
Academic excellence: Switzer has maintained a 3.9 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: Switzer has volunteered locally on behalf of the Special Olympics and as a youth football camp counselor.
THE PRAISE: Corey Beck, head coach of rival Lincoln (Shinnston, W.V.)
“Ryan Switzer is without a doubt the best player in the state of West Virginia. He was the unanimous player of the year in our conference and we play in one of the toughest conferences in the state. He is the real deal.”
THE FUTURE: Collegiate destination
Switzer will begin his senior year of high school next fall.