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: Joe Esposito
School: Portland (Maine)
Position: Running back and linebacker
Weight: 198 pounds
Athletic achievement: He rushed for 1,795 yards and 26 touchdowns on 256 carries this past season, leading the Bulldogs (10-1) to the Class A state championship game. The Eastern Region Class A Player of the Year, Esposito also caught seven passes for 198 yards and four scores. On defense, the two-time First Team All-Region selection recorded 124 tackles, 1.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown.
Academic excellence: Esposito has maintained an A average.
Exemplary character: A Portland High ambassador for incoming freshmen, he has volunteered locally with the Stuff the Bus food drive and as part of multiple community-service initiatives through his church.
“Joe Esposito was the best player we saw this season,” said Mark Soehren, head coach of Oxford Hills High. “He is big, fast and strong. He is fundamentally the best player we played against.”
THE FUTURE: Esposito remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.