Back in 1985, Gatorade established an award honoring the nation's top high school student-athletes. Since then, the Gatorade Player of the Year award has recognized more than 12,500 state and national winners in 12 sports.
Gatorade Player of the Year alumni include household names like Kevin Love, Dwight Howard, Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter, Candace Parker, Kerri Walsh and Abby Wambach -- a distinguished group, indeed.
This week, we're catching up with Mike Glennon.
It’s hard to picture 6-foot-7 Mike Glennon catching fleet-of-foot Buffalo Bills first-rounder E.J. Manuel from behind, but that’s what Glennon did in high school and hopes to do again in the NFL.
In the fall of 2007, Manuel -- the top-rated QB in the nation and the No. 11 recruit overall according to ESPN -- was the preseason favorite to earn Virginia’s Gatorade Football Player of the Year award.
Glennon, however, surpassed Manuel on the field. Ranked as the No. 5 QB, No. 58 overall, he completed 171-of-265 attempts (64.5%) for 2,557 yards and 32 touchdowns, leading Westfield (Chantilly, Va.) to a perfect 15-0 season and the Division 6 state title (though his Gatorade honor was announced while the Bulldogs were still just 12-0).
As a senior for Bayside (Virginia Beach, Va.), Manuel completed 60.3 percent of his passes (129-of-214) for 2,085 yards and 19 scores, but the Marlins finished 7-4 and were knocked out in the first round.
The two Virginia prep stars went to ACC schools and started for two seasons -- Glennon following Russell Wilson at N.C. State, and Manuel at Florida State. Manuel’s Seminoles crushed the Wolfpack in their first meeting, 34-0, but Glennon sparked N.C. State to a shocking 17-16 win over then-No. 3 FSU in 2012, throwing two fourth-quarter TDs, including the game-winner on fourth down with 16 seconds left.
Glennon, a 3.61 GPA student in high school, also showcased his off-the-field Gatorade qualities in college, completing both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree while serving as vice president of the local chapter of Uplifting Athletes, raising money to support leukemia victims.
Manuel got a jump on Glennon once more in the NFL Draft, becoming the only quarterback selected in the first round, 16th overall by the Bills. He broke camp as Buffalo’s starting quarterback and has led the team to a 2-2 start.
Glennon was the third QB taken in the draft, 73rd overall by the Buccaneers, and it took until Week 4 before he was elevated to the starting lineup, in place of the benched Josh Freeman.
Glennon’s first start was a mixed bag. He tossed a touchdown pass to Mike Williams and had the winless Buccaneers up 10-0 through three quarters on Sunday, but also threw a pair of fourth-quarter picks in a 13-10 loss to Arizona. He completed 24-of-43 passes for 193 yards.
The presumed Bucs starter for the rest of the season, Glennon will have plenty of opportunity to catch and surpass his former Virginia schoolboy rival one more time. He’ll even get a chance to do it head-to-head, when Manuel brings his Bills to Tampa on Dec. 8.