High-SchoolPlayer-of-the-Year: Akeel Lynch

New York Football POY: Akeel Lynch

December, 1, 2011
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: Akeel Lynch

THE BASICS: Anatomy of a POY

School: St. Francis (Athol Springs, N.Y.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Running back/defensive back
Height: 6-foot
Weight: 195 pounds

THE PILLARS: Gatorade criteria

Athletic achievement: Lynch led the Red Raiders to an 8-3 record and the Monsignor Martin Association championship this past season. He rushed for 2,131 yards and 25 touchdowns on 213 carries. A First Team All-Conference selection, Lynch was MVP of the 2011 Kickoff Classic and a Second Team All-Western New York pick in 2010.

Academic excellence: Lynch has maintained an A-minus average in the classroom.

Exemplary character: Lynch has volunteered on behalf of senior citizens and underprivileged residents at a low-income housing development.

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Eye on POY: New York football

November, 21, 2011
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.

Stacey Bedell
Senior Running Back, William Floyd High (Mastic Beach, NY)

2011 Team record: 9-2
2011 Team standing: Plays East Meadow in Long Island championship game, 11/26

2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 192-2,120 (11.0)-32

Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: All-State and All-Long Island in 2010; 258 yards in Suffolk County title game.

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POY Potential: Top 5 N.Y. football recruits

September, 22, 2011
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 …

Chad Kelly
File photo/ESPNHSChad Kelly is ESPN's No. 1 senior recruit
1. St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute (Buffalo, NY) Quarterback Chad Kelly

  • ESPNU 150 rank: 80
  • Height: 6-foot-2
  • Weight: 205 pounds
  • College: Clemson (verbal)
  • Testing results: 5.05 40-yard dash; 28.1 vertical jump
  • Traits: Delivery, athleticism
  • ESPNU scouting report: "Kelly is a really intriguing overall prospect. It is easy to see he has an impressive skill set, but he is also very raw as a passer. He possesses ideal size and terrific overall athleticism, in fact he may be a better overall athlete with definitive traits than he is a quarterback prospect at this time. He has height, he has great feet and he can run."

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