National Volleyball POY: Jordan Burgess

Capping a remarkable prep career that culminated on the court with a third consecutive state volleyball title, Berkeley Prep (Tampa, Fla.) senior Jordan Burgess was named the 2011-12 Gatorade National Player of the Year Tuesday morning.

The 6-foot-1 outside hitter was surprised with the news during class by USA Volleyball's 2011 Beach Female Athlete of the Year, April Ross, who earned Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year honors in 1999-2000.

"People still come up to me and say, 'Remember the day you won Gatorade?'" said Ross. "Jordan is the perfect player and person to pass the torch to."

Burgess amassed 553 kills, 366 digs, 48 service aces, 38 assists and 32 blocks while recording a .457 hitting percentage this past season. Also the returning ESPNHS National Junior of the Year, Burgess collected 29 service receptions, 15 kills, 13 digs and four blocks in the 3-1 Class 4A state title win over Bishop Moore.

A 2011 USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships All-Tournament selection and two-time Amateur Athletic Union Junior National Girls' Volleyball Championships All-American, she is a member of the U.S. Girls' Youth National Team.

"I've been dreaming about this," said Burgess, 17, a two-time Gatorade Florida Player of the Year, who led the Buccaneers to a 30-2 record and the Class 4A state championship this past season. “More than dreaming about this. Thank you so much. My gosh, I can't believe it."

The Stanford-bound senior has maintained a 4.00 GPA in the classroom. A founding director of the "Everyone Should Play" Foundation, a charitable initiative formed in 2009 to assist the area's disadvantaged youth offset sports registration fees and equipment costs, Burgess has also volunteered locally as a youth volleyball coach. Team manager of the Berkeley Prep boys volleyball squad since 2009 and a participant in a community literacy-outreach program, she served as a team leader at a two-week youth business leadership summer camp in 2007 and 2008. Burgess has also donated her time fundraising on behalf of Heifer International.

Burgess becomes the 18th Florida native -- third behind California's 57 and Texas with 25 -- to claim Gatorade national honors in any of the awards program's 12 sports. She is only the sixth Florida native in the program's 27-year history to win in a girls sport, joining female winners in softball (2), cross country, soccer and track.