Nick Singleton of Governor Mifflin (Pennsylvania) named Gatorade National Football Player of the Year

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Governor Mifflin running back Nick Singleton is celebrating being named the 2021 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year. New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley virtually surprised Singleton with the news, while his family, coaches and teammates showed up with the trophy at the Shillington, Pennsylvania school on Tuesday.

Singleton, who will play his college football at Penn State, was one of three finalists for the award. The other finalists were quarterback Cade Klubnik of Westlake (Texas) and wide receiver/defensive back Tetairoa McMillan of Servite (California).

Related: 2021 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year Finalists

Singleton, a 6-foot, 215-pound senior running back, rushed for 2,043 yards and 41 touchdowns on 165 carries this past season, leading the Mustangs (10-1) to the district championship game. Singleton also caught four passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns, and returned a kickoff for another score. An All-State honoree, he has been selected to play in the 2022 All-American Bowl. Singleton is ranked as the nation’s No. 1 running back recruit in the Class of 2022 by 247Sports. He averaged 13.2 yards per touch in 2021 and scored every 3.89 touches.

Singleton has volunteered extensively as a coach for Bronco’s “Little Kids” football camps and practices. He is an avid participant in Mifflin’s elementary school literacy outreach program and has donated his time as part of community cleanup initiatives. 

Singleton has maintained a 3.51 GPA in the classroom.

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 Singleton as the nation’s best high school football player. The Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others to evaluate candidates, selected Singleton from more than one million other student-athletes who play high school football nationwide.

Competition for the national award was fierce. Singleton topped the list of state winners in football who collectively boast an incredible list of accomplishments, including 34 with signed National Letters of Intent to play football at Division I colleges/universities, 36 who have volunteered for two or more organizations and 36 with a GPA of 3.5 and above.

“Nick Singleton has every single desirable trait at the running position,” said Steve Wiltfong, Director of Football Recruiting for 247Sports. “His combination of size, elite speed, elusiveness and power is rare. There’s a reason he’s our top-ranked prospect at the position. He has the ability to get tough yards and also hit the home run. He’s the type of athlete who could win the 100-meter dash and the shot put in the same track meet. Nick is mature, focused, hard-working and also has all the attributes coaches covet as a student and leader. Tangibles. Intangibles. This young man has it all.”

“There’s a reason the Gatorade Player of the Year award is the most prestigious award in high school sports,” said Gatorade Senior Vice President and General Manager Brett O’Brien. “Winners have to be just as impressive on the field as they are in the classroom and in their community, so it’s no surprise Nick Singleton has earned this honor as he continues to go above and beyond in all three pillars of the award.”

Past Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award winners have won six NFL MVP awards and appeared in 31 Pro Bowls. Six winners have been taken in the first round of the NFL Draft and two have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  

PREVIOUS GATORADE NATIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNERS
YEARNAMEHOMETOWNSTATUS
2020-21Jaxson DartDraper, UTUniversity of Southern California
2019-20Arik GilbertMarietta, GAUniversity of Georgia
2018-19Jake SmithScottsdale, AZUniversity of Southern California
2017-18JT DanielsSanta Ana, CAUniversity of Georgia
2016-17Tate MartellLas Vegas, NVUniversity of Nevada Las Vegas
2015-16Jacob EasonLake Stevens, WASeattle Seahawks
2014-15Kyler MurrayAllen, TXArizona Cardinals
2013-14Andrew BrownChesapeake, VALos Angeles Chargers
2012-13Max BrowneSammamish, WAPlayed for University of Pittsburgh
2011-12Johnathan GrayAledo, TXFrisco Fighters
2010-11Justin WorleyRock Hill, SCRetired from Chicago Bears
2009-10Malcolm JonesWestlake Village, CAPlayed for University of California Los Angeles
2008-09Garrett GilbertAustin, TXNew England Patriots
2007-08Matt BarkleySanta Ana, CATennessee Titans
2006-07John BrantleyOcala, FLRetired from Baltimore Ravens
2005-06Mitch MustainSpringdale, ARRetired from San Antonio Talons (AFL)
2004-05Greg PaulusSyracuse, NYPlayed for Syracuse University
2003-04Jeff ByersLoveland, CORetired from Carolina Panthers
2002-03Kyle WrightDanville, CARetired from San Francisco 49ers
2001-02Lorenzo BookerVentura, CARetired from Chicago Bears
2000-01Joe MauerSt. Paul, MNRetired from Minnesota Twins
1999-00Brock BerlinShreveport, LARetired from Detroit Lions
1998-99Chris LewisLong Beach, CAPlayed for Stanford University
1997-98Ronald CurryHampton, VARetired from St. Louis Rams
1996-97Travis MinorBaton Rouge, LARetired from St. Louis Rams
1995-96Tim CouchHyden, KYRetired from Cleveland Browns
1994-95Brock HuardPuyallup, WARetired from Seattle Seahawks
1993-94Peyton ManningNew Orleans, LARetired from Denver Broncos
1992-93Ron PowlusBerwick, PARetired from Philadelphia Eagles
1991-92Chris WalshSt. Paul, MNRetired from Minnesota Vikings
1990-91Marquette SmithLake Howell, FLRetired from Carolina Panthers
1989-90Robert SmithEuclid, OHRetired from Minnesota Vikings
1988-89Terry KirbyTabb, VARetired from Oakland Raiders
1987-88Curtis BrayMonroeville, PADeceased
1986-87Emmitt SmithPensacola, FLRetired from Arizona Cardinals
1985-86Jeff GeorgeIndianapolis, INRetired from Oakland Raiders

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.