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: Johnathan Gray
THE BASICS: Anatomy of a POY
School: Aledo (Texas)
Position: Running back
Weight: 202 pounds
THE PILLARS: Gatorade criteria
Athletic achievement: Gray has led the Bearcats to a 11-2 record and a berth in the Class 4A, Division II state quarterfinals against Stephenville (Texas), scheduled for Dec. 3. He rushed for 3,236 yards and 58 touchdowns on 277 carries entering the postseason round of eight. The state’s returning Gatorade Football Player of the Year, Gray also hauled in 22 receptions for 458 yards and five scores through 13 games. He set state records in career touchdowns, career points, career 100-yard games and single-season rushing touchdowns. Gray became the third prep athlete in state history to eclipse 10,000 career rushing yards.
Academic excellence: Serving on his school’s student council and as an Aledo High student representative on the Aledo Independent School District Health Committee, Gray has maintained a B average in the classroom.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating his time as a youth football instructor and a mentor to special education students, Gray has volunteered on behalf of his church’s youth group, an alcohol and drug awareness program and Baylor All Saints Hospital’s Helping Hands Foundation.
THE PRAISE: Kevin Golden, head coach of rival Timber Creek (Fort Worth, Texas)
“Gray is patient behind blockers and let’s them do their work. This is uncommon for high school running backs. When there is a crease in the line, he accelerates through so fast that the tackler can’t get a good shot on him. If they do, he has great strength and runs through the tackle. Once he gets in the open field, all is lost. You can’t catch him. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield as well as any receiver.”
THE FUTURE: Collegiate destination
Gray has verbally committed to play football on an athletic scholarship at the University of Texas beginning in the fall of 2012.
THE FEATURE: ESPNHS Magazine
"One-on-one: Mario Edwards Jr. and Johnathan Gray"