Eye on POY: California football

November, 21, 2011
11/21/11
5:20
PM ET
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.

Zach Kline
Tom Hauck/ESPNHSZach Kline is a top candidate for Gatorade California Football Player of the Year
Zach Kline
Senior quarterback, San Ramon Valley (Danville, CA)

2011 Team record: 8-3
2011 Team standing: Will play in second round of CIF North Coast Section Division I playoffs on Friday

2011 COMP-ATT (%)-YDs: 177-259 (68.3)- 2,841
2011 TDs-INTs: 31-6

Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: California (verbally committed)

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Ranked No. 58 in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU. 2011 Nike Elite 11 quarterback. No. 11 ranked quarterback in the nation by Scout.com. Ranked No. 59 in the nation by Rivals.com.

Arik Armstead
Senior offensive tackle, Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove, CA)

2011 Team yards per carry: 301.7
2011 Team yards per pass attempt: 137.5
2011 Team points per game: 54.5

2011 Team record: 11-1
2011 Team standing: Will play in CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinals on Friday

Academics: B-minus average
Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2012 U.S. Army All-American. Ranked No. 4 in the nation by Scout.com. Ranked No. 15 in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU. Ranked No. 26 in the nation by Rivals.com.

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.

Shaq Thompson: Grant (Sacramento, CA) senior athlete
Logan Smith: Vista del Lago (Folsom, CA) senior wide receiver
Kyle Murphy: San Clemente (CA) senio offensive lineman
Butch Pauu: Servite (Anaheim, CA) senior linebacker
Max Tuerk: Santa Margarita (CA) senior offensive lineman

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.

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