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Written by: Billy Splain on Tuesday, December 14th, 2021
SHILLINGTON, Pa., Dec. 14, 2021 In its 37th year of honoring the nation’s most elite high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Nick Singleton of Governor Mifflin High School in Shillington, Pa. is the 2021-22 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year. Singleton won the prestigious award for his accomplishments on and off the field, joining an impressive group of former Gatorade National Football Players of the Year who have combined for six NFL MVPs awards, 31 Pro Bowl appearances, six NFL first round draft picks and two became Hall of Famers.
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 school. Check out a video of the announcement below.
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.”
The 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. He has signed a National Letter of Intent to play football on scholarship at Penn State University next fall.
“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.”
Each year, a selection committee evaluates the nation’s top talent to choose one state winner from each of the 50 states as well as Washington D.C., in 12 different sports: football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, boys and girls soccer, and boys and girls track & field. In all, 608 athletes are honored each year. From the pool of state winners, one national winner is selected in each of the 12 sports.
Gatorade has a long-standing history of serving athlete communities and understands how sports instill valuable lifelong skills on and off the field. 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, Jayson Tatum, Elena Delle Donne 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 playeroftheyear.gatorade.com or follow us on social media on Facebook at facebook.com/GatoradePOY, Instagram at instagram.com/Gatorade and Twitter at twitter.com/Gatorade.
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