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. Bishop Gorman High (Las Vegas, Nev.) offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley
Weight: 285 pounds
Traits: Run blocking, strength, physicality
ESPNU scouting report: "Stanley uses his excellent size and upper body playing strength to dominate lesser opponents when run blocking. Has the big frame and athleticism for the offensive tackle position at the major level of competition. His frame appears capable of adding solid body mass over time."
2. Las Vegas High (Nev.) quarterback Hassan Henderson
Weight: 200 pounds
ESPNU scouting report: "Henderson is a very impressive athlete with excellent size and reminds us a bit of last year's Brett Hundley. He is big and imposing and is a very productive dual-threat QB with terrific movement skills and initial quickness as a runner."
3. Desert Pines High (Las Vegas, Nev.) offensive tackle Cedrick Poutasi
Weight: 320 pounds
ESPNU scouting report: "Poutasi uses his body mass and upper body playing strength to dominate opponents. Has the size and athleticism for the offensive tackle position at the major level of competition. Although we see some lower body stiffness this prospect has the balance and agility to play on his feet in space."
4. Bishop Gorman High (Las Vegas, Nev.) running back Shaquille Powell
Weight: 196 pounds
Testing results: 4.61 40-yard dash; 30.9 vertical jump
ESPNU scouting report: "Powell is not a real flashy back but is well-rounded and has the between the tackles toughness you like to see in a college running back prospect. Lacks ideal size but is well-built with some good thickness for a sub-200 pound back and runs much bigger."
5. Legacy High (Las Vegas, Nev.) running back Louis McMorris
Weight: 161 pounds
Testing results: 4.43 40-yard dash; 37.2 vertical jump
Traits: Speed, vision
ESPNU scouting report: "He may be small but McMorris can fly and could be falling under the radar with his speed alone. Slight in stature and will need to prove he can remain durable. When healthy, he has big play ability written all over him. Shows good vision and great quickness."
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.