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: Chazz Surratt
School: East Lincoln (Denver, N.C.)
Weight: 215 pounds
Athletic achievement: He led the Mustangs to a 14-0 record and a berth in the Class 2AA state semifinals, scheduled for Dec. 4. Surratt dislocated his throwing elbow (left) in the third round of the state playoffs, however, and will undergo season-ending surgery. After sustaining the injury, he returned to the field in the state quarterfinals and completed all five of his passes—right-handed—to surpass two-time Gatorade North Carolina Football Player of the Year Chris Leak’s career record of 16,590 total yards. His 229 total touchdowns also set a career state record. The returning North Carolina High School Athletic Association Athlete of the Year, Surratt threw for 3,546 yards and 48 touchdowns against just five interceptions on 209-of-290 passing (72.1 percent) in his final prep season. He also rushed for 1,342 yards and 15 scores on 134 carries in 2015.
Academic excellence: A basketball standout as well, Surratt has maintained a 4.75 weighted GPA.
Exemplary character: He has volunteered on behalf of a literacy-outreach program in addition to participating in multiple fundraising campaigns for an area elementary school and East Lincoln’s athletic department.
“I’ve coached against him in six football games over the past four years, and he is by far the best player I’ve ever coached against,” said Trent Lowman, head coach at rival Bandys. “Not only that, but he carries himself with high character and dignity and is a true example of how an athlete is supposed to act on and off the field. Not only have I coached against Chazz, but I’ve also attended several of his practices during the playoffs over the past four years. His preparation and work ethic are just as impressive as his stats.”
THE FUTURE: Surratt has verbally committed to play football on scholarship at the University of North Carolina in the fall of 2016.