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: Montell Cozart
THE BASICS: Anatomy of a POY
School: Bishop Miege (Shawnee Mission, Kan.)
Weight: 175 pounds
THE PILLARS: Gatorade criteria
Athletic achievement: Cozart passed for 2,448 yards and 31 touchdowns against just seven interceptions this past season, completing 161-of-255 passes and leading the Stags (9-2) to the Class 5A state quarterfinals. He also rushed for 534 yards and seven touchdowns on 116 carries. The 2011 East Kansas League Offensive Player of the Year, Cozart was responsible for at least two touchdowns via run or pass in each of Bishop Miege’s 11 games.
Academic excellence: Cozart has maintained a 3.55 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A member of Bishop Miege’s campus ministry program, Cozart has volunteered locally as a youth mentor and tutor and as part of multiple community service initiatives in association with his church.
THE PRAISE: Mike Zegunis, head coach of rival Blue Valley Northwest (Overland Park, Kan.)
“Montell Cozart had a special year this season. He was a dangerous player -- good at running and passing. He put up terrific numbers this season.”
THE FUTURE: Collegiate destination
Cozart will begin his senior year of high school next fall.