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Jan 12, 2023, 16:42 ET
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Eleven-Time NFL Pro-Bowler Jason Witten Surprised Arnold with Honor
DENTON, Texas, Jan. 12, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — In its 38th year of honoring the nation’s most elite high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Jackson Arnold of John H. Guyer High School in Denton, Texas is the 2022-23 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year. Arnold 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 more than six NFL MVPs awards, 31 Pro Bowl appearances, six NFL first round draft picks and two became Hall of Famers.
Eleven-time NFL Pro-Bowler and former Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten surprised Arnold with the news, while his family, coaches and teammates showed up with the trophy at school. Check out a video of the announcement here.
The Gatorade Player of the Year award recognizes athletes not just for their excellence on the playing surface, but for their commitment in the classroom and impact in their community. Arnold was selected from more than one million other student athletes who play high school football nationwide, topping the list of state winners in football who collectively boast an incredible list of accomplishments, including 27 with signed National Letters of Intent to play football at Division I colleges/universities and 32 with a GPA of 3.5 and above.
“This 2023 class is the ‘year of the quarterback,’ and there are likely five signal-callers rated among the Top 15 prospects in the country,” says Greg Biggins, national recruiting analyst for 247 Sports. “Arnold is in that group and easily among the nation’s best. He has the kind of skill set that should make every Oklahoma fan very excited, and it wouldn’t shock us if he sees the field sooner than later. He has a live, accurate arm and can put the ball anywhere he wants. He’s also a very capable runner and can stress a defense with his arm or his legs. He’s a tough kid who will stand in and take a shot and never shies away from contact. He’s also a natural leader—a winner. And when you combine his on-the-field prowess with his high-end academic background, he is a very deserving choice for this honor.”
Penn State running back and 2021-2022 Gatorade National Player of the Year Nick Singleton added: “Winning the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year last year meant the world to me as a high school athlete and student, and I’m thrilled to welcome Jackson to the Gatorade Player of the Year Family.”
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior quarterback led the Wildcats to a 14-1 record and a berth in the 6A-Division II semifinals. He completed 231 of 336 pass attempts (69 percent) for 3,476 yards and 33 touchdowns with only three interceptions. Arnold averaged 10.4 yards per passing attempt, and he also rushed for 921 yards and 24 touchdowns, averaging 5.7 yards per carry.
Arnold has served as a classroom aide to a math teacher as a senior, and for the past three and a half years, he has been a member and officer in the Texas Young Men’s Service League, Lantana Chapter, which offers opportunities for mothers and sons to perform community service and philanthropic work; he has served as the group’s Vice President, Slating Chair and as a member of its Life Skills committee.
Arnold has maintained a 4.5 weighted GPA in the classroom. Taking advantage of NCAA early signing rules, Arnold inked a financial-aid agreement that paved the way for him to enroll at the University of Oklahoma, where he will play football. He graduated from high school in December and will attend classes in the spring semester.
In addition to excellence on and off the field of play, Gatorade Players of the Year also pay it forward for the next generation. As part of Gatorade’s Play it Forward initiative, Arnold will receive a grant to give to one of Gatorade’s social impact partners – Athlete Ally, Laureus USA, Move United, Women’s Sports Foundation and Up2Us Sports – supporting Gatorade’s ambition to fuel the future of sport.
“Winning Gatorade Player of the Year is an enormous accomplishment, as it’s reserved for the best and brightest high school student-athletes,” said Michael Del Pozzo, president and general manager of Gatorade. “Jackson Arnold is a role model for future generations of student-athletes on how to be an all-around leader in sport, in the classroom and in the community.”
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.
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.
The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo (NASDAQ: PEP), meets the needs of consumers who participate in sports and fitness, through brands that include Gatorade, Propel, Muscle Milk, Evolve and Fast Twitch. The solutions they provide are driven by a deep understanding of the unique occasions and needs across athletic activity. Gatorade, their marquee brand, is underpinned by a 57-year history of studying the best athletes in the world, and sports nutrition research by the Gatorade Sport Science Institute, allowing it to provide scientifically formulated products that meet athletes’ needs both on and off the field. For more information and a full list of products, please visit www.gatorade.com.
PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $79 billion in net revenue in 2021, driven by a complementary beverage and convenient foods portfolio that includes Lay’s, Doritos, Cheetos, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, Quaker, and SodaStream. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including many iconic brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.
Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Beverages and Convenient Foods by Winning with PepsiCo Positive (pep+). pep+ is our strategic end-to-end transformation that puts sustainability and human capital at the center of how we will create value and growth by operating within planetary boundaries and inspiring positive change for planet and people. For more information, visit www.pepsico.com, and follow on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn @PepsiCo.
SOURCE The Gatorade Company
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