I'll give you Peyton Manning but recent history has not been kind to quarterbacks that earned the Gatorade National High School Football Player of the Year. With the past eight QB's the jury is still out on some others winning this prestigious honor in high school football not so good. This sideshow will examine those quarterbacks who won the award since the 98 - 99. This award takes into consideration athletic achievement, academic performance, and great character. Most of these names you will recognize because of the college recruiting battles that took place trying to land these top prospects. Matt Barkley was the 07 - 08 winner who was just named the starter at USC. With the news of Barkley getting the starting nod college football fans and especially USC fans need to know what they are up against with quarterbacks that have earned the Gatorade National High School Player of the Year.
Last year’s winner Garrett Gilbert holds the State of Texas passing record for yards, breaking the pass happy former Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell. Obviously the jury will be out on Garrett for at least a year. Gilbert signed with the Texas Longhorns. Will he make an impact with the likes of highly touted 2010 verbal from Connor Wood and the younger brother of Colt McCoy.
As mentioned Matt Barkley was the winner 2007 – 2008 so let the odyssey begin. He earned the start because of an injury that sidelined Aaron Corp. Corp was named the #1 quarterback coming out of spring drills. The test in the horseshoe will go a long way in determining his stay as the #1 at USC. With the offensive line he will play behind there is a chance he may break the streak of not such a good thing to be the Gatorade National High School Player of the Year.
If you are not a Longhorn or Gator fan you might not know John Brantley. Brantley was the 06/07 Gatorade National High School PoY, the son of former NFL linebacker and now is the backup QB at The University of Florida behind none other than the quarterback they call Superman. Tebow himself admits Brantley is more polished than him at making all the throws because he has a big time arm. For now he is relegated to getting mop up time and holding a clipboard. My guess is Brantley has a better than 75% to play well at the next level and break the curse of the GNHSPoY curse.
Next on out list is the 3rd string quarterback for USC. Mitch Mustain transferred to USC after his high school coach Gus Malzahn and then offensive coordinator for the Arkansas Razorback left the program. What we do know about Mustain’s abilities is that as a true freshman at Arkansas he was 8-0. For now he will be signaling plays to the offense. We may not get to see Mustain again unless he can pull a Matt Cassel and play for an NFL team.
Greg Paulus is the first of two players on our list that came out of high school and decided not to play quarterback at the collegiate level, well... Greg Paulus as most know was a three year starting point guard for the Duke Blue Devils. This past season he did not play very much, so he optimized his collegiate athletic experience by transferring to the Syracuse Orangemen to finish off his college career as the starting QB for this season. We shall see what the future will hold for the 2005-2006 GNHSPoY.
Having grown up blocks from the Orange Bowl and being a huge Miami Hurricane fan the 02-03 recipient pains me to write about. Kyle Wright is widely considered one of the biggest bust in the annals of college recruiting, enough said.
The second player mentioned here that decided not to play college football out of high school is definitely not in the others class. In fact, he probably heads this list for living up to the status of being a GNHSPoY, just not in football. Joe Mauer was the winner of the 00 – 01 award. Although he never played football after high school, his accomplishments so far as the catcher for the Minnesota Twins have him on the fast track for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Although many FSU fans were disappointed, Mauer indeed made the right decision to play baseball.
This highly touted 99-00 Gatorade Player of the Year actually played for two high profile Florida schools. Brock Berlin started his career at UF and finished at the “U”. For all the hype from winning 3 high school state titles Brock failed to impress at either school. For me, the most memorable highlight of his college career was the insane comeback against his former college team the Florida Gators. As for now, Brock Berlin is in the NFL as a backup for the St. Louis Rams.
Last and probably the least recognizable name on this list is none other than Chris Lewis. You say Chris Lewis, yeah the quarterback who I saw play in NFL Europe and spent some time in the AFL. Those of you who might be familiar with Lewis know he started at Long Beach Poly to play volleyball. He played football there and then went to Stanford. After college he joined the Arizona Cardinals but spent most of his time there on the practice squad. He is out of football now.