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Friday, November 25, 2011
Eye on POY: West Virginia football

By Joel Beck

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.

Ryan Switzer
Junior running back, George Washington (Charleston, WV)

2011 Team record: 12-0
2011 Team standing: Will play in Class AAA semifinals vs. Bridgeport tonight

2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 244-2,362 (9.7)- 36
2011 Catches-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 4-130 (32.5)- 2

2011 Tackles: 25
2011 Interceptions: 4

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: HS Junior

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2011 Don Nehlen Chapter of the National Football Foundation High School Player of the Year; ESPNHS East Region Player of the Week for Nov. 9; 2010 First Team All-State; 2010 First Team All-Conference;                                                                 

Brandon Ashenfelter
Senior quarterback, Martinsburg (W.V.)

2011 COMP-ATT (%)-YDs: 106-165 (64.2)- 1,558
2011 TDs-INTs: 17-7

2011 Team record: 12-0
2011 Team standing: Will play in Class AAA semifinals vs. Morgantown tonight

Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2010 First Team All-State; 2010 First Team All-Conference

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.

Alex Ash: Parkersburg (W.V.) senior quarterback
Cedric Brown: Martinsburg (W.V.) senior running back
Brett Hathaway: Bridgeport (W.V.) senior running back


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.