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Eye on POY: Oklahoma 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.

Barry Sanders Jr.

Senior running back/cornerback, Heritage Hall (Oklahoma City, Okla.)

2011 Team record: 9-0 (Class 3A)

2011 Team standing: Class 3A first round vs. Chandler on Friday

2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 91-823 (9.0)-14

2011 Catches-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 13-260 (20.0)-3

2011 Tackles: 16

2011 Interceptions: 3 (2 TD)

Academics: B-plus average

Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Son of Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders. Averages 10.7 yards per touch for an offense that scores 51.0 points per game. Anchors defense that allows 8.7 points per game. No. 78 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU. 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection. 2009 First Team All-State selection as named by the Tulsa World.

Andrew Hearon

Senior quarterback, Metro Christian Academy (Tulsa, Okla.)

2011 Team record: 10-0

2011 Team standing: Class 3A first round vs. Dewey on Friday

2011 COMP-ATT (%)-YDs: 172-255 (67.5)-2,831

2011 TDs-INTs: 35-4

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Owns state record for touchdown passes in a single season (49). Leads an offense that scores 42.2 points per game. 202.86 NCAA Pass Efficiency Rating. 2010 First Team All-Metro and Second Team All-State selection as named by the Tulsa World. As a junior, led the state in passing yards (3,900) and touchdown passes (49).

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.

James Flanders: Midwest City (Okla.) senior running back

Kevin Peterson: Wagoner (Okla.) senior running back/cornerback

Sterling Shepard: Heritage Hall (Oklahoma City, Okla.) senior athlete

D.J. Ward: Lawton (Okla.) junior defensive end

Sheldon Wilson: Anadarko (Okla.) senior running back

Alex Ross: Jenks (Okla.) senior running back

Keon Hatcher: Owasso (Okla.) senior wide receiver

Casey Curtis: Putnam City (Oklahoma City, Okla.) senior running back

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.