The Gatorade Player of the Year Program honors athletes who meet comprehensive and exacting criteria in high school sports. Candidates are judged on athletic production and impact in the current season. Contenders also must demonstrate high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership. Senior status has no bearing on a candidate’s merit and selections are made independent of ESPNU's recruit rankings.
That being said, the state’s top five football recruits as ranked by ESPNU are sure to enter the 2011-12 Gatorade Football Player of the Year conversation at some point. Here they are …
1. Catholic Memorial High (West Roxbury, Mass.) linebacker Camren Williams
Weight: 210 pounds
College: Penn State (verbal)
Traits: Diagnosing skills, outside run support, tackling, coverage skills
ESPNU scouting report: "Williams is very productive on both sides of the ball both as a receiver and linebacker. However we feel his size and athleticism are better suited for the inside linebacker position at the major level of competition; demonstrates very good open field tackling skills which should be beneficial as a special team's coverage player."
2. Buckingham, Browne & Nichols School (Cambridge, Mass.) offensive tackle Eric Olson
Weight: 270 pounds
College: Northwestern (verbal)
Traits: Run blocking, physicality
ESPNU scouting report: "Olson displays the explosion and playing strength necessary to dominate as a run blocker against his present level of opposition. Has the size and athleticism for the offensive tackle position at the major level of competition."
3. Catholic Memorial High (West Roxbury, Mass.) cornerback Armani Reeves
Weight: 185 pounds
College: Penn State (verbal)
Traits: Man-to-man coverage, zone coverage
ESPNU scouting report: "Reeves is one of the better skill prospects in Massachusetts for 2012 and a productive player in all three phases of the game. He lacks great height and coveted length at the position but is well-built for his size and scrappy."
4. Dexter School (Newton, Mass.) linebacker Abner Logan, Jr.
Weight: 225 pounds
Testing results: 4.81 40-yard dash; 37.5 vertical jump
ESPNU scouting report: "Logan is productive on both sides of the ball against his present level of competition. On offense he lines up as a tailback, quarterback in the wildcat set and wide receiver however we feel his size, athleticism and playing speed are better suited for the inside linebacker position at the major level of competition."
5. Catholic Memorial High (West Roxbury, Mass.) quarterback A.J. Doyle
Weight: 226 pounds
College: N.C. State (verbal)
Testing results: 4.90 40-yard dash; 24.5 vertical jump
Traits: coverage, skills, etc.
ESPNU scouting report: "Doyle really starts to grow on you the more you watch him. He has some quirks to iron out, but he possesses terrific measurables, quality arm talent and he is a decent athlete. He is thickly built and looks good on the hoof."
A dedicated POY team at ESPNHS manages the Gatorade Player of the Year program selection process and oversees all research, reporting, comparative analysis and criteria-compliance on the award program’s behalf.