Contenders for this year's Gatorade North Dakota Football Player of the Year Award come in all shapes and sizes. Running backs, quarterbacks, receivers and linemen are among the leading candidates.
The state's most highly recruited prospect is 6-foot-5, 295-pound tackle/defensive tackle Dustin Adams of Minot High (Minot, ND). Adams, who was the first 2012 commit for the University of Hawaii, has been a stalwart on both sides of the ball for 4-2 Minot, despite dealing with the loss of his family's home to flooding.
Adams isn't the only big man on the watch list, however. Bismarck Century High (Bismarck, ND) senior Conrad Schwarzkopf has been a monster on both sides of the ball and was the only junior lineman to earn a spot on the Class AAA All-State First Team a year ago.
Dynamic senior quarterback Devin Coyle, who tossed 18 TD passes a year ago, has guided Mandan High (Mandan, ND) to a 6-0 start, but he's had plenty of help from senior running back/linebacker Seth Westby and big-play wide receiver Aaron Janz.
Bismarck High (Bismarck, ND) is likewise off to a 6-0 start, in large part due to the efforts of junior Layne Johs, one of the state's leading rushers and also a superb defensive player.
Though his team is off to a sluggish (3-3) start, Fargo North High (Fargo, ND) junior running back Peter Saintal is topping the Class AAA rushing charts. Saintal averaged over 150 yards per game as a sophomore.
In Class AA, Second Team All-State quarterback Jake Hanson has picked up where he left off as a junior, directing top-ranked Grafton High (Grafton, ND) to a 5-0 start.