High-SchoolPlayer-of-the-Year: Shaq Thompson

Eye on POY: California football

November, 21, 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.

Zach Kline
Tom Hauck/ESPNHSZach Kline is a top candidate for Gatorade California Football Player of the Year
Zach Kline
Senior quarterback, San Ramon Valley (Danville, CA)

2011 Team record: 8-3
2011 Team standing: Will play in second round of CIF North Coast Section Division I playoffs on Friday

2011 COMP-ATT (%)-YDs: 177-259 (68.3)- 2,841
2011 TDs-INTs: 31-6

Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: California (verbally committed)

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Ranked No. 58 in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU. 2011 Nike Elite 11 quarterback. No. 11 ranked quarterback in the nation by Scout.com. Ranked No. 59 in the nation by Rivals.com.

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POY Potential: Top 5 Calif. football recruits

September, 21, 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 …

Arik Armstead
ESPNHSArik Armstead is California's No. 1 senior recruit
1. Pleasant Grove High (Elk Grove, Calif.) offensive tackle Arik Armstead
  • ESPNU 150 rank: 14
  • Height: 6-foot-7
  • Weight: 280 pounds
  • College: Southern California (verbal)
  • Traits: Run blocking, space blocking, strength, toughness
  • ESPNU scouting report: "Armstead is a dominant player both as an offensive and defensive lineman. Has great size and athleticism for the offensive tackle position at the major level of competition; it is quite possible with added bulk and improved technical skills this athlete could be an immediate impact player."

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