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Eye on POY: Iowa football

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.

Barkley Hill

Senior running back, Cedar Falls (Iowa)

2011 Team record: 11-2

2011 Team standing: lost Class 4A state semifinal to Bettendorf, 35-7

2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 297-2,425 (8.2)-40 [through 11 games]

2011 Catches-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 6-23 (3.8)-0 [through 11 games]

Academics: A-minus average

Collegiate destination: Iowa State University (verbal)

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: No. 125 ranked RB in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU. Averaged 8.1 yards per touch. Led an offense that scored 36.4 points per game. Booted 30 punts for an average of 39.6 yards. 2010 Elite All-State Team selection as named by the Des Moines Register.

Kyle Starcevich

Junior quarterback, Southeast Polk (Pleasant Hill)

2011 COMP-ATT (%)-YDs: 128-182 (70.3)-2,102 [through 11 games]

2011 TDs-INTs: 28-5 [through 11 games]

2011 Team record: 10-2

2011 Team standing: lost Class 4A state quarterfinal to Ankeny, 27-17

Academics: A-minus average

Collegiate destination: HS Junior

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Led an offense that scored 39.2 points per game. Averaged 11.6 yards per touch. 2010 John Shuman National Underclassman Combine Most Valuable Quarterback and leadership award recipient. 2010 Second Team All-Conference selection.

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.

Dalton Ferch: West Marshall (State Center, Iowa) senior running back/defensive back

Mark Atwater: Linn-Mar (Marion, Iowa) senior quarterback/linebacker

Amara Darboh: Dowling Catholic (West Des Moines, Iowa) senior wide receiver

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.