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. Friendship Collegiate Academy (Washington, D.C.) Defensive Tackle Eddie Goldman
ESPNU 150 rank: 2
Weight: 310 pounds
Traits: Strength, run defense, disruptiveness, pass rushing
ESPNU scouting report: "This is an interior defensive lineman with good size. He looks to carry his weight well and should be able to comfortably play over 300 pounds at the college level. He is a big dude who will present a stout presence, but he can be disruptive as he has good quickness off the ball."
2. Friendship Collegiate Academy (Washington, D.C.) Running back Albert Reid
ESPNU rank: No. 35 ATH
Weight: 195 pounds
College: West Virginia (verbal)
Traits: Speed, versatility, playmaker
ESPNU scouting report: "Reid is a running back/safety candidate for the next level and we are evaluating him as a running back which is where he has the most experience and he is very productive in this role. He grows on you the more you watch him. He is on the taller side with a sleak build almost wide receiver like in his overall movement skills."
3. H.D. Woodson High (Washington, D.C.) Cornerback Kenny Crawley
ESPNU rank: No. 17 CB
Weight: 170 pounds
College: Tennessee (verbal)
Traits: Instincts, zone coverage, ball skills
ESPNU scouting report: "Crawley has the size, ball skills and athleticism college coaches covet out on the perimeter. While he is slight in stature and needs to add bulk, he possesses good height and length and the ranginess to make a lot of plays in coverage. Speed is good but he tends to build it and lacks great initial explosiveness."
4. Archbishop Carroll (Washington, D.C.) Tackle Derrick Nelson
ESPNU rank: No. 90 T
Weight: 280 pounds
College: Rutgers (verbal)
Traits: Strength, run blocking
ESPNU scouting report: "Nelson is a big strong raw-boned prospect who flashes the playing strength necessary to dominate as a run blocker. Has the size and athleticism for the offensive tackle position at the major level of competition."
5. H.D. Woodson High (Washington, D.C.) Defensive End De'Jon Wilson
ESPNU 150 rank: No. 154 DE
Weight: 235 pounds
College: Kansas (verbal)
ESPNU scouting report: "Wilson is a defensive end prospect with good overall size. You wish he had a little better height, but possesses good bulk and looks to have a frame that can carry more good mass and size is not a concern."
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.