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 Miguel Maysonet.
Miguel Maysonet was raised in a tiny apartment above a garage in a rundown section of Riverhead, N.Y. Rooms were divided by bed sheets, not walls, and he showered with water from a bucket. His mom worked 18-hour days to support Maysonet and his two brothers.
By Saturday, Maysonet should be on his way to a completely different world: the National Football League.
The 2008-09 Gatorade New York Football Player of the Year, Maysonet is the 10th-ranked running back prospect in the upcoming draft, according to ESPN, and he could be both the first draft pick ever from Stony Brook University and the last ever from Hofstra.
As a high school senior, Maysonet rushed for 2,328 yards and 30 TD’s on 285 carries, leading Riverhead to its first Long Island championship.
He played at Hofstra as a true freshman in 2009, but the school dissolved its football program the same year, and Maysonet transferred to Stony Brook, where he dominated for three seasons.
The 5-foot-9, 209-pound Maysonet set school and Big South Conference career records for rushing yards (4,725) and touchdowns (53). As a senior, he ran for 1,964 yards and 23 scores to finish second in voting for the Walter Payton Award.
Maysonet is expected to be selected somewhere between the fourth and seventh rounds of the draft, and if he makes an opening day roster, he’ll be the first Gatorade New York Player of the Year to play in the NFL since New Orleans Saints guard Eric Olsen, the 2005-06 winner from Poly Prep in Brooklyn.
The last skill position winner from New York to make the big time was Mike Hart (2003-04), whose 204 TD’s and 11,045 rushing yards in his high school career at Onondaga respectively ranked first and second in prep history. Hart went on to set the University of Michigan career rushing record and played three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. He’s currently an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan University.
Maysonet, however, may not be the only former Gatorade New York Player of the Year to be selected this year. Another Onondaga grad, Latavius Murray, earned the Gatorade award one year before Maysonet and is projected as a potential late-round pick. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound back led Central Florida with 1,106 yards and 15 TDs on 198 carries last season. He lost just one fumble in four seasons.