THE WINNER: Josh Ladowski
School: Lake Norman (Mooresville, N.C.)
Weight: 185 pounds
Athletic achievement: He has led the Wildcats to a 13-1 record and a berth in the Class 4AA state semifinals, scheduled for Dec. 5. Ladowski threw for 3,368 yards and 39 touchdowns on 196-of-321 passing (61 percent) through 14 games. A returning First Team All-State selection as named by the Associated Press, Ladowski also rushed for 1,887 yards and 32 touchdowns on 285 carries entering the semifinals. With as many as two games to play, he trailed two-time Gatorade North Carolina Football Player of the Year Chris Leak’s 12-year-old North Carolina High School Athletic Association state record for total offense in a single season by 239 yards.
Academic excellence: Also a baseball standout, Ladowski has maintained a 3.84 weighted GPA.
Exemplary character: In addition to volunteering as a youth football instructor, he has donated his time on behalf of his church, as a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and as part of a care package campaign benefitting U.S. troops. He has also mentored with a special needs student at Lake Norman on a daily basis.
“I have coached against Josh Ladowski for two years, and in my 30 years of coaching, I have honestly never seen a high school player do what this guy can do,” said Nick Bazzle, head coach of rival Taylorsville (N.C.) Alexander Central. “I have coached some great athletes over the years, but none as difficult to defend as him. If there is another player more deserving athletically than Josh Ladowski, I would love to watch him play.”
THE FUTURE: Ladowski has signed to play baseball at North Carolina.