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Eye on POY: New Jersey football

11/8/2011

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.

Darius Hamilton

Senior defensive end, Don Bosco (Ramsey, N.J.)

2011 Team record: 9-0

2011 Team standing: Group IV, Non-Public state semifinal vs. Seton Hall Prep/Paramus Catholic on Nov. 18; No. 1 ranked team on ESPNHS FAB 50

2011 Tackles: 73.5

2011 Tackles for loss: 22

2011 Sacks: 9.5

Academics: B average

Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: No. 66 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU. Leader of nationally No. 1 ranked team as rated by ESPNHS. Anchors defense that allows just 9.2 points per game. 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection. 2011 First Team All-State preseason selection as named by ESPNHS. 2010 Second Team All-Non-Public selection.

Jamauri Bogan

Sophomore running back, Union (N.J.)

2011 Team record: 6-2

2011 Team standing: Group IV, North II state quarterfinal vs. Elizabeth on Friday

2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 197-1,894 (9.6)-20

Academics: B average

Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Named 2011 East Region Player of the Week by ESPNHS on Oct. 19 after rushing for 376 yards and six touchdowns on 50 carries in a 43-21 victory against Elizabeth. 2011 Honorable Mention All-State preseason selection as named by ESPNHS. 2010 First Team All-Union County selection.

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.

Kaiwan Lewis: St. Joseph (Hammonton, N.J.) senior linebacker

Quanzell Lambert: Timber Creek (Erial, N.J.) senior linebacker

Donta Pollock: Holy Spirit (Absecon, N.J.) senior running back

Manny Cortez: Pennsauken (N.J.) senior quarterback/defensive back

Ryan Hawthorne: Pennsville Memorial (Pennsville, N.J.) senior wide receiver/defensive back

Ryan Davies: Howell (Farmingdale, N.J.) senior quarterback

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.