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Eye on POY: Virginia football

11/22/2011

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.

Alex Carter

Senior Defensive back/wide receiver, Briar Woods High (Ashburn, VA)

2011 Team record: 11-1

2011 Team standing: Plays Powhatan in Group AA Div. 4 quarterfinals, Nov. 25

2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 36-373 (10.4)-4

2011 Catches-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 28-368 (13.1)-2

2011 Tackles: 32

2011 Interceptions: 4 (1 TD)

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: Stanford (verbal)

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: U.S. Army All-American; Ranked No. 113 senior by ESPNU; Dulles District Defensive Player of the Year; Three kickoff returns for touchdowns.

J.C. Coleman

Senior Running Back, Oscar Smith High (Chesapeake, VA)

2011 Team record: 11-1

2011 Team standing: Plays Salem in Group AAA Div. 6 quarterfinals, Nov. 25

2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 141-1,365 (9.7)-17

2011 Catches-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 23-400 (17.4)-4

Academics: A-minus average

Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: First Team All-Region in 2009, 2010; Averages 10.8 yards per touch. Graduating in December.

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.

Jonathan Allen: Stone Bridge High (Ashburn, VA) JR DE

Ken Ekanem: Centreville High (Clifton, VA) SR LB

Joel Caleb: Clover Hill High (Midlothian, VA) SR QB

Eli Harold: Ocean Lakes High (Virginia Beach, VA) SR WR/DE

Kwontie Moore: Norfolk Christian (Norfolk, VA) SR LB

Korren Kirven: Brookville High (Lynchburg, VA) SR DL

Yahkee Johnson: L.C. Bird High (Chesterfield, VA) SR RB

Bucky Hodges: Salem High (Virginia Beach, VA) JR QB

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.