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: Tony Poljan
School: Lansing Catholic (Lansing, Mich.)
Weight: 230 pounds
Athletic achievement: He threw for 1,907 yards and 15 touchdowns on 128-of-218 passing this past season, leading the Cougars (11-2) to the Division 5 state semifinals. The returning Offensive Player of the Year as named by the Lansing State Journal, Poljan also rushed for 1,232 yards and 25 touchdowns on 179 carries in 13 games. As a linebacker, he collected 74 tackles (10 for losses), four forced fumbles, two sacks and an interception in 2015. A 2014 Division 5 First Team All-State selection, his 53 total touchdowns as a junior set a state single-season record.
Academic excellence: Also a basketball standout, Poljan has maintained a 3.44 GPA and has served as president of both Lansing Catholic’s senior class and his school’s student fundraising organization.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating his time as a youth football and basketball instructor, he has volunteered on behalf of his church, the 4-H youth development program and the National Honor Society.
“He’s an extremely skilled player on both sides of the football,” said Bret Shrader, head coach of rival Fowlerville. “He has the size and strength to play different positions on offense and defense at the next level. Even more impressive: This (was) only his third year as a quarterback. His stats back up his skill set.”
THE FUTURE: Poljan has verbally committed to play football on scholarship at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2016.