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: Alex Carter
THE BASICS: Anatomy of a POY
School: Briar Woods (Ashburn, Va.)
Position: Defensive back/wide receiver
Weight: 195 pounds
THE PILLARS: Gatorade criteria
Athletic achievement: Carter has led the Falcons to a 12-1 record and a berth in the Group AA Div. 4 semifinals against Grafton (Yorktown, Va.), scheduled for Dec. 2. He has recorded 35 tackles with four interceptions and 10 pass breakups on defense through 13 games. Carter has also rushed for 443 yards and five touchdowns on 37 carries, caught 30 passes for 388 yards and two touchdowns, and returned three kickoffs for scores. The Dulles District Defensive Player of the Year, he has been selected to play in the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Academic excellence: Carter has maintained a 4.09 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A devoted member of his church community, Carter has served as a peer tutor and has volunteered locally on behalf of youth sports teams and a literacy-outreach program for elementary school students.
THE PRAISE: Tom Luginbill, ESPN National Recruiting Director
“Alex Carter is a big, physical guy who could play on either side of the ball, as a wide receiver or as a safety. We like him on defense due to his range, ball skills and physical make-up, but he could easily be a nice fit on offense, especially given Stanford’s need for playmakers.”
THE FUTURE: Collegiate destination
Carter has verbally committed to play football on an athletic scholarship at Stanford University beginning in the fall of 2012.