For a list of the other Gatorade State Football POYs, click here.
THE WINNER: Deshaun Watson
School: Gainesville (Ga.)
Weight: 200 pounds
Athletic achievement: He has led the Patriots to a 12-1 record entering the Class AAAAA state semifinals, scheduled for Dec. 6. An Under Armour All-America Game selection, Watson threw for 3,517 yards and 46 touchdowns on 259-of-374 passing (69.3 percent) entering the postseason final four. Also a returning Class AAAAA First Team All-State selection, Watson rushed for 1,016 yards and 13 touchdowns on 124 carries through 13 games. He eclipsed state records for career passing yards and touchdowns during his junior season.
Academic excellence: Also a basketball standout, Watson has maintained a 3.48 GPA.
Exemplary character: In addition to serving as an intern for the Hall County Board of Commissioners, he has helped raise awareness for victims of cancer and cerebral palsy.
“Athletically, he is the best I have ever seen,” said Shane Davis, head coach at rival Apalachee (Winder, Ga.). “I’ve been coaching high school football for 20 years. I have had the opportunity to coach some great players. The best is probably Tony Taylor, who played linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons for a while. I have also seen some great players play. I had the opportunity to see Takeo Spikes play while he was at Washington County. I thought that he was the best high school football player that I had ever seen. That was until Deshaun Watson.”
THE FUTURE: Watson has verbally committed to Clemson.