For a list of the other Gatorade State Football Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Derrick Henry
School: Yulee (Fla.)
Position: Running back
Weight: 241 pounds
Athletic achievement: He has led the Hornets to a 9-3 record entering the Class 4A state semifinals, scheduled for Nov. 30. The returning Class 4A Player of the Year as named by the Florida Dairy Farmers Association, Henry rushed for 3,944 yards and 51 touchdowns on 422 carries entering the postseason final four. His 11,801 career rushing yards broke Texas native Ken Hall’s 59-year-old national prep record. The No. 3 ranked running back in the Class of 2013 as rated by Rivals, Henry also rushed for a state-record 502 yards in a 45-28 win over Jackson High on Sept. 21.
Academic excellence: Henry has maintained a B average in the classroom.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating his time as a youth football instructor, he has volunteered on behalf of the Special Olympics and as the lead fundraiser for the Yulee High football program.
“If there is one player out there as good as Derrick Henry, I would love to see him,” said Mark Woolum, head coach of rival South Lake (Groveland, Fla.). ”He is the best high school football player I have ever seen play the game. Not only is he good, but he is durable. We really hit him in our game, and he kept breaking tackles. He never slowed down.”
THE FUTURE: Henry has verbally committed to play football on an athletic scholarship at the University of Alabama beginning in the fall of 2013.