Eye on POY: Alabama 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.

Jameis Winston

Senior quarterback/punter, Hueytown (Ala.)

2011 Team record: 11-0 (Class 5A)

2011 Team standing: Class 5A second round vs. Eufaula on Friday

2011 COMP-ATT (%)-YDs: 133-190 (70.0)-1,971

2011 TDs-INTs: 23-2

2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 93-818 (8.8)-12

2011 Punts-AVG.: 15-37.7

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: Florida State University (verbal)

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2011 ESPNHS Elite 11 co-MVP. 2011 Under Armour All-American Game selection. 2011 Rawlings All-American Game selection. Career total of 8,980 yards of offense and 94 touchdowns.

T.J. Yeldon

Senior running back, Daphne (Ala.)

2011 Team record: 11-0 (Class 6A)

2011 Team standing: Class 6A second round vs. Prattville on Friday

2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 211-2,098 (9.9)-28

2011 Catches-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 14-184 (13.1)-1

Academics: B average

Collegiate destination: Auburn University (verbal)

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Has rushed for at least two touchdowns in 10 of 11 games this season. Season-high 375 yards and four TDs in 45-24 win over Fairhope. Career totals of 4,332 yards and 60 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.

Tyler Hayes: Thomasville (Ala.) senior linebacker/running back

Javierre Mitchell: Leeds (Ala.) senior linebacker/defensive end

ArDarius Stewart: Fultondale (Birmingham, Ala.) junior quarterback

Brian Barnett: Wenonah (Birmingham, Ala.) senior linebackers

Caleb Gulledge: Prattville (Ala.) senior defensive end

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.