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: J.D. Spielman
School: Eden Prairie (Minn.)
Position: Running back and defensive back
Weight: 175 pounds
Athletic achievement: He rushed for 1,259 yards and 19 touchdowns on 102 carries this past season, averaging 12.3 yards per attempt and leading the Eagles (10-1) to the Class 6A quarterfinals. Minnesota’s 2015 Mr. Football award winner, Spielman added 63 tackles on defense with four interceptions and three sacks. He is the son of Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman and the nephew of former NFL standout Chris Spielman.
Academic excellence: Spielman has maintained a B average.
Exemplary character: He has volunteered locally on behalf of Feed My Starving Children and as a youth lacrosse and football coach.
“J.D. Spielman is not only an exceptional athlete but also a tremendous person who represents our school and community with great class,” said Eden Prairie High head coach Mike Grant. “He is one of the best players to ever play in Minnesota. His skills and competitive drive separate him from all others. He has great speed and instincts with great natural physical strength. He was the best player on the field every game and Eden Prairie played the toughest schedule in the state.”
THE FUTURE: Spielman has verbally committed to play football on scholarship at the University of Nebraska in the fall of 2016.