A dedicated ESPNHS POY team managed the Gatorade State Football Player of the Year selection process, resulting in this winner based on the awards program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character. For his 50 fellow Gatorade State Football Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Jameis Winston
THE BASICS: Anatomy of a POY
School: Hueytown (Ala.)
Weight: 205 pounds
THE PILLARS: Gatorade criteria
Athletic achievement: Winston passed for 2,424 yards and 28 touchdowns, completing 163-of-234 attempts while throwing two interceptions this past season, leading the Golden Gophers (13-1) to the Class 5A state semifinals. Winston also rushed for 1,063 yards and 15 touchdowns on 144 carries. The co-MVP of the Elite 11 quarterback camp, he is a 2012 Under Armour All-American Game selection and the No. 11 rated recruit in the Class of 2012 by ESPNU.
Academic excellence: Winston has maintained an A average in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A math tutor at Hueytown, Winston has volunteered locally as a motivational speaker, a youth baseball coach and as part of multiple community service initiatives in association with his church youth group.
THE PRAISE: David Powell, head coach of rival McAdory (McCalla, Ala.)
"Jameis Winston ran with an attitude. He was tough to tackle. He’s a playmaker, bottom line. He can turn something bad into something good. In crunch time, when the game was on the line, the ball was going to be in his hands."
THE FUTURE: Collegiate destination
Winston has verbally committed to play football and baseball on an athletic scholarship at Florida State University beginning in the fall of 2012.
THE FEATURE: ESPNHS Magazine
"Jameis Winston asks Barkley, Jefferson, Thomas how they prepare for the NFL"