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: Josh Morris
THE BASICS: Anatomy of a POY
School: La Salle Academy (Providence, R.I.)
Position: Running back/cornerback
Weight: 170 pounds
THE PILLARS: Gatorade criteria
Athletic achievement: Morris led the Rams to a 10-1 record and a berth in the Division I state championship against Bishop Hendricken (Warwick, R.I.), scheduled for Dec. 3. He rushed for 1,278 yards and 16 touchdowns on 134 carries through 11 games and caught nine passes for 175 yards and a score. A 2010 First Team All-Division I selection, Morris is averaging 39.8 yards per kickoff return, with one touchdown, and has recorded two interceptions on defense.
Academic excellence: Morris has maintained a B average in the classroom.
Exemplary character: Morris has volunteered locally as a youth mentor and football coach and as part of multiple community service initiatives in association with his church community.
THE PRAISE: Geoff Marcone, head coach of La Salle Academy
“Every game, he’s getting better. The kid wants to be great in everything that he does. A lot of high school kids say they want to be the best, but very few work to be the best. He’s doing everything he can to make himself better.”
THE FUTURE: Collegiate destination
Morris will begin his senior year of high school next fall.