High-SchoolPlayer-of-the-Year: Steven Lakalaka

Hawaii Football POY: Steven Lakalaka

December, 1, 2011
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.

THE WINNER: Steven Lakalaka

THE BASICS: Anatomy of a POY

School: Punahou School (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Grade: Senior
Position: Running back
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 205 pounds

THE PILLARS: Gatorade criteria

Athletic achievement: Lakalaka rushed for 1,154 yards and 12 touchdowns on 218 carries this past season, leading the Buff n’ Blue (11-3) to the Division I state final. A two-time First Team All-State selection, he collected more than 100 rushing yards in a game four times in 2011, including a season-high 162 in a win over Iolani School (Honolulu, Hawaii) on Sept. 9.

Academic excellence: Lakalaka has maintained a 3.01 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: A devoted member of his church community, Lakalaka has volunteered locally as a youth football and basketball coach.

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Eye on POY: Hawaii football

November, 25, 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.

Steven Lakalaka
Senior running back, Punahou (Honolulu, HI)

2011 Team record: 11-2
2011 Team standing: Will play in Division I state final vs. Kahuku tonight

2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs:
205-1,090 (5.3)- 12
2011 Catches-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 34-268 (7.9)- 1

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

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2010 and 2011 First Team All-League; 2010 Third Team All-State; 2009 Second Team All-League

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POY Potential: Top Hawaii football recruits

September, 30, 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 …

Luke Kaumatule
file photo/ESPNHSLuke Kaumatule is Hawaii's No. 1 senior recruit
1. Punahou School (Honolulu, HI) defensive end Luke Kaumatule

  • ESPNU 150 rank: No. 39 DE
  • Height: 6-foot-7
  • Weight: 242 pounds
  • College: Stanford (verbal)
  • Testing results: 4.99 40-yard dash; 29.3 vertical jump
  • Traits: Run defense, pass rushing, strength
  • ESPNU scouting report: "A defensive end was the top player from Hawaii in 2011 and it would not be shocking if a D-end leads the way again this year with Kaumatule coming from the Islands. This prospect is a towering kid who displays good physical upside. He is a tall kid and while he has solid listed bulk he does still seem a little lean and will need to add more good bulk to his frame. With time in a college weight program though, he should be able to develop his frame further."

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