Eye on POY: Kentucky football

The window on the Gatorade State Football Player of the Year race is closing, and time is running out for student-athletes to state their POY case. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program's selection process.

James Quick

Junior wide receiver, Trinity (Louisville, Ky.)

2011 Team record: 11-0

2011 Team standing: Class 6A quarterfinals vs. St. Xavier on Nov. 18; No. 5 ranked team on ESPNHS FAB 50

2011 Catches-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 65-1,179 (18.1)-16

Academics: B average

Collegiate destination: HS Junior

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Ranked No. 7 in state history in career receptions. Team has outscored opponents 544-83. ESPNU Top 150 Class of 2013 recruit. 2010 state championship game Most Valuable Player. 2010 First Team All-State selection as a sophomore.

Patrick Towles

Senior quarterback, Highland (Fort Thomas, Ky.)

2011 Team record: 12-0

2011 Team standing: Class 4A quarterfinals vs. Covington Catholic on Nov. 18

2011 COMP-ATT (%)-YDs: 151-227 (66.5)-3,287

2011 TDs-INTs: 39-1

Academics: B-plus average

Collegiate destination: Kentucky (verbal)

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Competed in ESPNHS Elite 11 Quarterback Camp. Led team to back-to-back state titles. Kentucky's No. 1 ranked recruit in Class 2012 as rated by ESPNU. Nine rushing touchdowns.

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Football Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011 campaign.

Anthony Wales: Central (Louisville, Ky.) senior running back

J.J. Jude: Johnson Central (Paintsville, Ky.) senior running back

Kyle Bolin: Lexington Catholic (Lexington, Ky.) junior quarterback

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com or Twitter @ESPNHS_GPOY.