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: Keith Marshall
THE BASICS: Anatomy of a POY
School: Millbrook (Raleigh, N.C.)
Position: Running back
Weight: 190 pounds
THE PILLARS: Gatorade criteria
Athletic achievement: Marshall rushed for 1,891 yards and 25 touchdowns on 258 carries this season, leading the Wildcats (6-6) to a berth in the Class 4A postseason. The Preseason Player of the Year as named by NCPreps.com, he ran for 1,550 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior in 2010. A 2012 Under Armour All-America Game selection, Marshall recorded 1,166 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground as a sophomore.
Academic excellence: Also a track standout, Marshall has maintained a 4.29 weighted GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating his time as a youth football instructor, Marshall has volunteered at a local homeless shelter and on behalf of Habitat for Humanity.
THE PRAISE: Tony Lewis, head coach of rival Sanderson (Raleigh, N.C.)
“Keith Marshall has tremendous speed. Once he is to the second level, he will outrun most tackling angles. I think he has good vision and finds the crease very well. He has the ability to make a play happen on his own due to raw speed. He is talented and I have always felt like he handled himself on the football field in a very positive way.”
THE FUTURE: Collegiate destination
Marshall remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.
THE FEATURE: ESPNHS Magazine
"Millbrook's Keith Marshall blazes to the head of the class"