The Gatorade State Football Players of the Year were selected based on athletic production and impact in the 2015-16 season. Each winner also demonstrated high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership.
For the complete list of Gatorade State Football Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Sam Brodner
School: Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.)
Position: Running back
Weight: 215 pounds
Athletic achievement: He led the Hitters to a 14-0 record and the Class 7A state championship this past season. A returning First Team All-State selection as named by the Chicago Tribune, Brodner rushed for 1,959 yards and 40 touchdowns on 298 carries in 14 games. He also hauled in 31 receptions for 402 yards and seven scores in addition to returning two kickoffs for touchdowns. In the 34-28, title-clinching win over Libertyville, Brodner rushed for 264 yards and four touchdowns on 28 carries, setting the Class 7A final rushing yards record and capturing championship game MVP honors.
Academic excellence: Brodner has maintained a 4.48 weighted GPA on a 5.0 scale.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating his time as a youth football instructor, he has volunteered on behalf of his church, his school’s Best Buddies peer-mentoring initiative and the DuPage Pads homeless shelter.
“He single-handedly beat us. He really is a complete player,” said Dan Hartman, head coach at rival Hinsdale Central. “He can run between the tackles, he can run outside with speed that is uncanny for a player of his size, he can return kickoffs, he catches passes, he can kick, and he could’ve played defense if they asked. On film, I usually find at least three plays in which I ask myself, ‘How did he just do that?’”
THE FUTURE: Brodner has verbally committed to play football on scholarship at Vanderbilt University in the fall of 2016.