• 12-DEC-2018

Jake Smith Named 2018-19 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year

Tuesday, December 11 – In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s most elite high school athletes, The Gatorade Company today announced Jake Smith of Notre Dame Prep in Scottsdale, Ariz. as the 2018-19 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year, beating out the more than 1 million high school football players across the country.
 
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen surprised the University of Texas commit with the award at his high school among teammates and family. The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Smith as the nation’s best high school football player (see below for full list of previous winners).
 
Check out the video of the surprise on Gatorade's YouTube page.
“With this award, it’s not just about your accomplishments on the field, you have to be just as successful in the classroom and also set an example in your community,” said Rosen. “Not only is Jake Smith a standout athlete, but he’s also an exceptional student and a positive influence in the community who will go on to accomplish great things on and off the field.” 
 
Jake Smith Quick Hits:
  • The 6-foot-1, 195-pound senior running back and wide receiver led the Saints to a 13-1 record to the Conference 5A state championship game.
  • An Under Armour All-American Bowl selection, Smith caught 64 passes for 1,112 yards and 22 touchdowns this past season, and also rushed for 741 yards and 15 TDs, returning two kickoffs for scores. 
  • The school’s first-ever Gatorade Football Player of the Year, Smith concluded his prep football career with 5,446 total yards and 72 touchdowns.
  • Smith is extremely involved in his community and has volunteered locally on behalf of St. Bernard of Clairvaux Catholic Church, St. Mary’s Food Bank Community Kitchen, Feed My Starving Children and the Miracle League of Arizona.
  • He has maintained a weighted 3.33 GPA in the classroom.
  • Smith has verbally committed to play football on an athletic scholarship at the University of Texas in the fall of 2019.
 
Gatorade Player of the Year Background
A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Smith from more than one million high school football players nationwide. Smith is now a finalist for the most prestigious award in high school sports, the Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year award, which is announced at a special ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.
 
Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators. Previous winners include a distinguished list of athletes, such as Peyton Manning, Abby Wambach, Karl-Anthony Towns, Derek Jeter and many other sports icons.
 
 
To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit www.playeroftheyear.gatorade.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.
 
PREVIOUS GATORADE NATIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNERS
YEAR
NAME
HIGH SCHOOL
STATUS
2018-19
Jake Smith
Notre Dame Prep, Scottsdale, AZ
HS Senior
2017-18
JT Daniels
Mater Dei, Santa Ana, CA
Univ. of Southern California
2016-17
Tate Martell
Bishop Gorman High School
Ohio State University
2015-16
Jacob Eason
Lake Stevens HS, Lake Stevens, WA
University of Georgia
2014-15
Kyler Murray
Allen HS, Allen, TX
University of Oklahoma
2013-14
Andrew Brown
Oscar Smith, Chesapeake, VA
Cincinnati Bengals
2012-13            
Max Browne                                       
Skyline HS, Sammamish, WA
NFL Free Agent
2011-12
Johnathan Gray
Aledo, Aledo, TX
NFL Free Agent
2010-11
Justin Worley
Northwestern, Rock Hill, SC
NFL Free Agent
2009-10
Malcolm Jones
Oaks Christian, Westlake Village, CA
NFL Free Agent
2008-09
Garrett Gilbert
Lake Travis, Austin, TX
NFL Free Agent
2007-08
Matt Barkley
Mater Dei, Santa Ana, CA
Buffalo Bills
2006-07
John Brantley
Trinity Catholic, Ocala, FL
NFL Free Agent
2005-06
Mitch Mustain
Springdale, Springdale, AR
AFL/NFL Free Agent
2004-05
Greg Paulus
Christian Brothers Academy, Syracuse, NY
Louisville Cardinals Staff
2003-04
Jeff Byers
Loveland, Loveland, CO
Retired from NFL
2002-03
Kyle Wright
Monte Vista, Danville, CA
NFL Free Agent
2001-02
Lorenzo Booker
St. Bonaventure, Ventura, CA
NFL Free Agent
2000-01
Joe Mauer
Cretin-Derham Hall, St. Paul, MN
Minnesota Twins
1999-00
Brock Berlin
Evangel Christian Academy, Shreveport, LA
Retired from NFL
1998-99
Chris Lewis
Long Beach Polytechnic, Long Beach, CA
Retired from NFL Europe
1997-98
Ronald Curry
Hampton, Hampton, VA
New Orleans Saints Staff
1996-97
Travis Minor
Catholic, Baton Rouge, LA
Retired from NFL
1995-96
Tim Couch
Leslie County High, Hyden, KY
Retired from NFL
1994-95
Brock Huard
Puyallup, Puyallup, WA
Retired from NFL
1993-94
Peyton Manning
Isidore Newman, New Orleans, LA
Retired from NFL
1992-93
Ron Powlus
Berwick, Berwick, PA
Univ. of Notre Dame Staff
1991-92
Chris Walsh
Cretin-Derham Hall, St. Paul, MN
Retired from NFL
1990-91
Marquette Smith
Winter Park, Lake Howell, FL
Retired from NFL
1989-90
Robert Smith
Euclid, Euclid, OH
Retired from NFL
1988-89
Terry Kirby
Tabb, Tabb, VA
Retired from NFL
1987-88
Curtis Bray
Gateway Senior, Monroeville, PA
Deceased
1986-87
Emmitt Smith
Escambia, Pensacola, FL
Retired from NFL
1985-86
Jeff George
Warren Central, Indianapolis, IN
Retired from NFL