High-SchoolPlayer-of-the-Year: Petal

Mississippi Baseball POY: Anthony Alford

May, 30, 2012
5/30/12
5:23
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in this winner based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011-12 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For his 47 fellow Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Anthony Alford

THE BASICS

School: Petal (Miss.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Outfielder
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 215 pounds

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Alford batted .483 with four home runs, 31 RBI and 39 runs scored this past season, leading the Panthers (23-7) to the Class 6A state quarterfinals. The 2010-11 and 2011-12 Gatorade Mississippi Football Player of the Year, he is the No. 48 ranked baseball prospect in the Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS. Alford posted an .805 slugging percentage and 14 stolen bases in 2012.

Academic excellence: Alford has maintained a B average in the classroom.

Exemplary character: A devoted member of his church community, he has volunteered locally on behalf of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and as a youth baseball and football coach.

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Mississippi Football POY: Anthony Alford

December, 1, 2011
12/01/11
5:26
AM ET
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.

Anthony Alford
file photo/ESPNHSAnthony Alford is the returning Gatorade Mississippi Football Player of the Year.
THE WINNER: Anthony Alford

THE BASICS: Anatomy of a POY

School: Petal (Miss.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Quarterback
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 210 pounds

THE PILLARS: Gatorade criteria

Athletic achievement: The state’s returning Gatorade Football Player of the Year, Alford has led the Panthers to a 10-4 record and a berth in the Class 6A state final against Olive Branch (Miss.), scheduled for Dec. 2. He passed for 1,892 yards and 17 touchdowns through 14 games, completing 98-of-200 attempts while throwing nine interceptions. A standout outfielder for the Petal baseball team and a member of the 2010 USA Junior Olympic National Team, Alford has also rushed for 1,524 yards and 21 touchdowns on 256 carries in 2011. A U.S. Army All-American Game selection, he is the No. 98 rated recruit in the Class of 2012 by ESPNU.

Academic excellence: Alford has maintained a B-plus average in the classroom.

Exemplary character: A member of his local Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, Alford has volunteered locally as a Big Brother/Big Sister mentor and as a youth baseball coach.

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Eye on POY: Mississippi Football

November, 14, 2011
11/14/11
4:50
PM ET
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.

Anthony Alford
ESPNHSAnthony Alford is the returning Gatorade Mississippi Football Player of the Year.
Anthony Alford
Senior quarterback, Petal (Miss.)

2011 Team record: 8-4
2011 Team standing: Class 5A second round vs. Biloxi on Friday

2011 COMP-ATT (%)-YDs: 85-171 (49.7)-1,550
2011 TDs-INTs: 15-7
2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 207-1,324 (6.4)-17

Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2010-11 Gatorade Mississippi Football Player of the Year. Has accounted for more than 70 percent of Petal's total yards and offensive touchdowns this season. Surpassed 200 yards rushing and passing in 54-37 win over Oak Grove on Sept. 30.

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POY Potential: Top 5 Miss. football recruits

October, 7, 2011
10/07/11
8:15
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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 …

Quay Evans
ESPNHSQuay Evans is Mississippi's No. 1 senior recruit.
1. Morton High (Miss.) defensive tackle Quay Evans

  • ESPNU 150 rank: 33
  • Height: 6-foot-2
  • Weight: 312 pounds
  • College: Undecided
  • Traits: Run defense, pass rushing, disruptiveness, strength
  • ESPNU scouting report: "Evans is a big dude who can move and cause problems. He has very good size and looks to carry the weight he has well though he may need to watch how he adds additional size. He can be an explosive kid who flashes the ability to fire out of his stance low, get under blockers pads, and generate good power from his lower body."

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Return of the POY: Miss.'s Anthony Alford

September, 30, 2011
9/30/11
12:21
PM ET
The 2011-12 Gatorade State Football Players of the Year selection process is underway, and what better way to kick off coverage than with profiles of returning underclassmen winners? Repeating is no guarantee, but here's a snapshot of what this year’s challengers can shoot for …

Anthony Alford
file photo/ESPNHSAnthony Alford is the returning Gatorade Mississippi Football Player of the Year.
Name: Anthony Alford

Position: Quarterback

Grade: Senior

School: Petal High (Miss.)

College: Undecided

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 210 pounds

Notes: 2010-11 Gatorade Mississippi Baseball Player of the Year ... No. 98 national recruit in Class of 2012 as ranked by ESPNU ... led Panthers (9-3) to the Class 6A state tournament ... 2010 First Team All-State selection as named by the Clarion-Ledger ... 2010 Class 6A First Team All-State selection as named by the Mississippi Association of Coaches ... 2010 USA Junior Olympic Baseball National Team member

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