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.
Senior quarterback, St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J.)
Greatness Present: The pressure of switching major college football program commitments – and all the public scrutiny that comes with it – didn’t faze one of the nation’s top prep quarterbacks in the slightest.
Days after announcing on Twitter his decision to de-commit from Penn State and join Notre Dame’s 2015 recruiting class, Wimbush put on a show in a 63-6 win over crosstown rival Ferris. That’s no small task in a world where his personal choice instantly became national news, and crazed college football fans were only an offensive tweet away.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior signal-caller completed 9-of-11 passes for 200 yards and four first-quarter touchdowns, and then rushed for a 31-yard score in the second quarter on his only carry. Before giving way to sophomore backup quarterback Johnathan Lewis, Wimbush crossed the goal line nearly every other time he touched the ball.
On the season, Wimbush has thrown for 1,312 yards and 14 touchdowns against just one interception on 83-of-112 passing (74.1 percent), leading the Marauders to a 4-1 start in New Jersey’s brutal Non-Public, Group IV division. Their lone loss came opposite Bradenton (Fla.) prep football factory IMG Academy late last month, when Wimbush threw for 426 yards and a pair of touchdowns in defeat.
Greatness Past: As a junior, he completed 93 of 156 attempts (59.6 percent) for 1,472 yards and 14 touchdowns in addition to rushing for another 578 yards and seven scores on 49 carries. Wimbush led St. Peter’s Prep to the Non-Public, Group IV state championship game.
Over the summer, he earned an invitation to the Elite 11 quarterback camp in Oregon, where former Pro Bowl QB and Super Bowl champion Trent Dilfer told USA TODAY, “I love him because he can throw fastballs. Brandon Wimbush has the most dynamic arm in this group.”
Greatness Future: Following his senior season, Wimbush will play one final contest with Marauders teammate Minkah Fitzpatrick in January’s 2015 Under Armour All-America Game.
The two top-100 national recruits could one day be on opposite sides of the field in an NCAA Division Football Bowl Subdivision national title game, as Fitzpatrick is committed to play cornerback at Alabama.
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.