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: Brandon McIlwain
School: Council Rock North (Newtown, Pa.)
Weight: 195 pounds
Athletic achievement: He threw for 1,720 yards and 17 touchdowns by completing 147-of-252 passes this past season, leading the Indians (7-4) to a Class AAAA, District 1 playoff appearance. A returning Class AAAA Honorable Mention All-State selection as named by the Pennsylvania Football News, McIlwain rushed for another 1,545 yards and 30 touchdowns on 227 carries. Also a defensive back, McIlwain collected 62 tackles and two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. A participant in the national Elite 11 quarterback camp, he captured MVP honors at the Elite 11 semifinals in Los Angeles.
Academic excellence: Also one of the nation’s top prep baseball prospects, McIlwain has maintained a 3.99 GPA.
Exemplary character: A member of his school’s health activism club and a mentor to local at-risk elementary school students, he has volunteered on behalf of Athletes Helping Athletes, Philadelphia’s SHARE Food Program and The Jessie Rees Foundation’s Never Ever Give Up foundation to fight cancer.
“From what I’ve seen in the last four years, Brandon has a work ethic second to none,” said Vince Bedesem, head coach at rival Council Rock South. “He’s always perfecting his craft, whether it’s football or baseball. Brandon is a born leader on and off the field. He carries himself at a high level all the time.”
THE FUTURE: McIlwain has verbally committed to play football on scholarship at the University of South Carolina in the fall of 2016.