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: Barkley Hill
THE BASICS: Anatomy of a POY
School: Cedar Falls (Iowa)
Position: Running back
Weight: 190 pounds
THE PILLARS: Gatorade criteria
Athletic achievement: Hill rushed for 2,491 yards and 40 touchdowns on 316 carries this season, leading the Tigers (11-2) to the Class 4A state semifinals. A returning Elite All-State Team selection as named by the Des Moines Register, he rushed for 229 yards and five touchdowns in the state quarterfinals. Hill also averaged 39.6 yards on 30 punt attempts. He concluded his career with 6,163 yards on 754 carries and a Class 4A record 89 touchdowns.
Academic excellence: Hill has maintained a 3.53 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: In addition to volunteering on behalf of his school’s Tiger Booster Club, Hill has donated his time on behalf of the Cedar Falls High School Harmony Group, celebrating diversity in his community.
THE PRAISE: Mark Ehlers, head coach of rival Hempstead (Dubuque, Iowa)
“Barkley Hill is an outstanding running back. He has a rare combination of speed and strength that is hard to find. He also has great vision as he hits the hole and seems to always make the right cut. He also handles himself well after the game. He’s one of the best running backs to come out of Iowa in a long time.”
THE FUTURE: Collegiate destination
Hill has verbally committed to play football on an athletic scholarship at Iowa State University beginning in the fall of 2012.