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POY Potential: Top 5 Md. football recruits

10/13/2011

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 …

1. Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, MD) Wide Receiver Stefon Diggs

  • ESPNU 150 rank: 9

  • Height: 6-foot

  • Weight: 185 pounds

  • College: Undecided

  • Testing results: 4.45 40-yard dash; 31.5 vertical jump

  • Traits: Speed, versatility, playmaker

  • ESPNU scouting report: "Diggs is a very impressive, yet raw athlete that doubles as a wide receiver and running back. He possesses very good size, a thick build and some natural strength. He is a glider with quick feet and a physical nature. Will make some spectacular plays in the passing game and on the ground."

2. Gilman School (Baltimore, MD) Running Back Cyrus Jones

  • ESPNU 150 rank: 34

  • Height: 5-foot-10

  • Weight: 180 pounds

  • College: Undecided

  • Testing results: 4.59 40-yard dash; 32.0 vertical jump

  • Traits: Speed, versatility, playmaker, ball skills

  • ESPNU scouting report: "Jones may be one of the most gifted two-way players this class has to offer with a terrific blend of instincts, feet, speed and quickness. As explosive of a player he is on offense and as many plays as he makes as a wide receiver and running back, his upside on defense as a cornerback is where we envision him landing. He is tall and wiry, very good size for a corner."

3. Potomac High (Oxon Hill, MD) Running back Ronald Darby

  • ESPNU 150 rank: 69

  • Height: 5-foot-11

  • Weight: 176 pounds

  • College: Notre Dame (verbal)

  • Testing results: 4.31 40-yard dash; 31.0 vertical jump

  • Traits: Speed, versatility, playmaker

  • ESPNU scouting report: "Darby is one of the faster athletes in the country and a very productive overall football player. Not a lot of wow factor to his game, aside from outstanding speed, but he is productive. Excels in all three phases of the game; could get recruited at corner, running back and be a threat in the return game."

4. Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, MD) Tackle Mike Madaras

  • ESPNU rank: No. 25 T

  • Height: 6-foot-5

  • Weight: 286 pounds

  • College: Maryland (verbal)

  • Testing results: 5.26 40-yard dash; 24.5 vertical jump

  • Traits: Physicality, strength, blocking

  • ESPNU scouting report: "Madaras is a tough run blocker who possesses the playing strength and mobility to dominate opponents. Has the size and athleticism for the offensive tackle position at the major level of competition; it appears his frame is capable of handling additional body mass. Displays good flexibility, balance and agility playing out of a three point stance."

5. Gilman School (Baltimore, MD) Guard Brian Gaia

  • ESPNU rank: No. 9 G

  • Height: 6-foot-3

  • Weight: 287 pounds

  • College: Penn State (verbal)

  • Testing results: 5.43 40-yard dash; 21.5 vertical jump

  • Traits: Physicality, strength, blocking

  • ESPNU scouting report: "Gaia is very productive on both sides of the ball. Plays both offensive and defensive tackle however we feel his size and athleticism are better suited for the offensive guard position at the major level of competition; his frame appears capable of handling additional body mass over time. As a defensive lineman we see good initial quickness and up-field surge."

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.