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Eye on POY: Maryland football

11/26/2011

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.

Cyrus Jones

Senior Running Back/Defensive Back, Gilman School (Baltimore, MD)

2011 Team record: 9-1

2011 Team standing: Plays Calvert Hall in MIAA A Conference title game, Nov. 18; ESPNHS ranking: No. 26

2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 82-779 (9.5)-12

2011 Catches-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 36-607 (16.9)-6

2011 Tackles: 33

2011 Interceptions: 5

Academics: B average

Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Ranked No. 34 senior by ESPNU; Under Armour All-American in 2011; First Team All-State in 2010; First Team Baltimore Sun All-Metro in 2010; 97-yard game-winning punt return vs. Calvert Hall.

Kevin Jones

Senior Running Back, Bullis School (Potomac, MD)

2011 Team record: 9-1

2011 Team standing: Won IAC title

2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 235-2,089 (8.9)-30

2011 Catches-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 3-25 (8.3)-2

Academics: B average

Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Averaged 209 yards rushing per game; Two punt returns for TDs; Led team to first IAC title in history; Team averaged 39.7 points per game; .

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.

Mike Madaras: Good Counsel (Olney, MD) SR OL/DL

Rob Chesson: Old Mill High (Millersville, MD) SR RB

Ron Darby: Potomac High (Oxon Hills, MD) SR RB

Brendan Marshall: Good Counsel (Olney, MD) JR QB

Shawn Petty: Eleanor Roosevelt High (Greenbelt, MD) SR QB/LB

Deontay McManus: Dunbar High (Baltimore, MD) SR WR/DB

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.