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Monday, November 7, 2011
Eye on POY: Utah football

By Ben Rohrbach

The window on the Gatorade State Football Player of the Year race is closing, and time is running out for student-athletes to state their POY case. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program's selection process.

Eye on POY: Chase Hansen
Lone Peak QB Chase Hansen is Utah's top-rated senior quarterback recruit.
Chase Hansen
Senior quarterback/safety, Lone Peak (Highland, Utah)

2011 Team record: 12-0
2011 Team standing: Class 5A state semifinal vs. Jordan on Friday

2011 COMP-ATT (%)-YDs: 151-250 (60.4)-2,359
2011 TDs-INTs: 25-5
2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 137-1,001 (7.3)-11

2011 Tackles: 14

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: University of Utah (verbal)

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Owns a 168.66 NCAA Pass Efficiency Rating. Averages 8.7 yards per touch and a touchdown every 10.8 touches. Totaled 435 yards and seven scores in first two rounds of 2011 Class 5A state tournament. No. 43 ranked QB in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU. 2010 Class 5A Second Team All-State selection as named by the Deseret News.

D.J. Nelson
Senior quarterback/safety, Logan (Utah)

2011 Team record: 12-0
2011 Team standing: Class 4A state semifinal vs. Bountiful on Thursday

2011 COMP-ATT (%)-YDs: 232-366 (63.4)-2,939
2011 TDs-INTs: 43-6
2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 219-1,383 (6.3)-22

2011 Tackles: 3

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Utah State University (verbal)

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Owns a 166.33 NCAA Pass Efficiency Rating. Averages 7.4 yards per touch and a touchdown every 9.0 touches. Totaled 868 yards and 12 scores in first two rounds of the 2011 Class 4A state tournament. Younger brother of BYU quarterback Riley Nelson. 2010 Class 4A Honorable Mention All-State selection as named by the Deseret News

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Football Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011 campaign.

Jared Afalava: Bingham (South Jordan, Utah) senior linebacker
Troy Hinds: Davis (Kaysville, Utah) senior defensive end
Austin Lee: Alta (Sandy, Utah) senior safety
Rhett Sandlin: Alta (Sandy, Utah) senior linebacker

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com or Twitter @ESPNHS_GPOY.