From many, there will be one. And while there’s still no guarantee contending athletes will win their own state at this point in the season, a number of elite performers are making a case for Gatorade National Football Player of the Year consideration. Here’s the scoop on the latest top candidate.
Jabrill Peppers | Senior RB/DB, Paramus (N.J.) Catholic
Greatness Present: The Paladins (4-0) avoided a major scare over the weekend, when their 6-foot-1, 210-pound five-star recruit dove for a loose ball, landed on cement just past the end line and left the game against St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio) with a hip injury.
But, in true Peppers form, he returned in the third quarter to contribute in all facets of the game, rushing for 17 yards, passing for four and hauling in a 25-yard touchdown catch on his first series back to spark a 44-10 win, according to Cleveland.com.
The nation’s No. 2 senior recruit, who unleashed the touchdown run of the season in a scrimmage against Red Bank (N.J.) Catholic this past August, also anchors a defense that is allowing just 12.3 points per game.
Greatness Past: Also a state champion sprinter, Peppers finished among the leading contenders for both New Jersey’s football and track Gatorade awards as a junior last season.
Last fall, he rushed for 1,552 yards and 18 touchdowns on 172 carries while amassing 70 tackles and three interceptions on defense, leading the Paladins to their first Non-Public, Group IV state championship.
Peppers also swept the 100- and 200-meter dashes with times of 10.80 and 21.13 seconds at the Meet of Champions this past spring.
Greatness Future: Peppers has verbally committed to Michigan.
Make no mistake: The Gatorade State Football Player of the Year races aren’t over, and the National POY race is now heating up. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list.Check back for daily updates on the top contenders making their case.