Neither starting quarterback earned the honor, but there are seven former Gatorade State Football Players of the Year on the rosters of the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. Not all of them will play in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday in Indianapolis, but two play vital roles in the Patriots’ passing offense.
The NFL's leading receiver this season, Wes Welker was the 1999-2000 Oklahoma winner playing for Heritage Hall (Oklahoma City, Okla.). Also lining up as an option for Tom Brady will be 2006-07 Connecticut winner Aaron Hernandez from Bristol Central (Bristol, Conn.), part of the Patriots’ one-two tight end combination.
If Brady wants to change things up, he could hand the ball to Danny Woodhead, the 2003-04 Nebraska winner from North Platte (Neb.), or 1994-95 Louisiana winner Kevin Faulk from Carencro (Lafayette, La.).
Ryan Mallett, the 2006-07 Texas winner from Texas High (Texarkana, Texas), will likely spend most of his Super Bowl Sunday holding a clipboard on the sidelines as the Patriots’ No. 3 quarterback. And Andre Carter, the 1996-97 California winner from Oak Grove (San Jose, Calif.), can only watch his teammates as the defensive end was placed on the injured reserve list after hurting his leg against the Denver Broncos on Dec. 18.
The lone Giant to win Gatorade POY honors is punt returner/special teamer Will Blackmon, the 2001-02 Rhode Island winner from Bishop Hendricken (Warwick, R.I.).