High-SchoolPlayer-of-the-Year: Drew Ott

Nebraska Football POY: Drew Ott

December, 1, 2011
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 BASICS: Anatomy of a POY

School: Giltner (Neb.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Tight end/quarterback/fullback/linebacker/defensive end
Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 247 pounds

THE PILLARS: Gatorade criteria

Athletic achievement: Ott hauled in 52 receptions for 960 yards and 18 touchdowns this past season, leading the Hornets (10-1) to the Class D2 state quarterfinals. A two-time returning First Team All-State selection as named by the Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World-Herald, he also rushed for 62 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries in addition to completing 7-of-8 pass attempts for 99 yards and a score. Defensively, Ott amassed 122 tackles, four forced fumbles and four interceptions for a defense that allowed just 87 rushing yards and 78 passing yards per game.

Academic excellence: Also a basketball and track standout, Ott has maintained a 3.98 GPA in the classroom and ranks No. 2 in his graduating class.

Exemplary character: In addition to donating his time as a youth football and basketball instructor, Ott has volunteered locally on behalf of his church and the annual Giltner community homecoming event, Autumn Fest.

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Eye on POY: Nebraska football

November, 15, 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.

Eye on POY: Tavarius Bender
file photo/ESPNHSTavarius Bender is a finalist for Gatorade Nebraska Football Player of the Year.
Tavarius Bender
Senior quarterback, Lincoln Southwest (Lincoln, Neb.)

2011 Team record: 9-2
2011 Team standing: lost Class A state quarterfinal to Papillion-La Vista, 40-34

2011 COMP-ATT (%)-YDs: 41-79 (51.9)-906
2011 TDs-INTs: 8-5
2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 69-564 (8.2)-10

Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: Kansas State University (verbal)

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Led an offense that scored 36.1 points per game. Averaged 9.9 yards per touch. Booted 18 punts for an average of 41.4 yards. No. 55 ranked QB in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU. 2010 Class A Honorable Mention All-State selection as named by The Lincoln Journal-Star and Omaha World-Herald.

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POY Potential: Top 5 Neb. football recruits

October, 3, 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 …

Jake Schany
ESPNHSJake Schany is Nebraska's No. 1 senior recruit.
1. Blair High (Neb.) outside linebacker Jake Schany

  • ESPNU position rank: No. 75 OLB
  • Height: 6-foot-2
  • Weight: 215 pounds
  • College: Undecided
  • Testing results: 4.87 40-yard dash; 33.5 vertical jump
  • Traits: diagnosing skills, inside run support, outside run support, tackling
  • ESPNU scouting report: "Schany shows good toughness and production when playing against the run; flashes the playing speed to make plays from sideline to sideline. Possesses the size, athleticism and playing strength for the outside linebacker position at the major level of competition."

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