CHICAGO — In its 29th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Leonard Fournette of St. Augustine High School as its 2013-14 Gatorade Louisiana Football Player of the Year. Fournette is the second Gatorade Louisiana Football Player of the Year to be chosen from St. Augustine High School.

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 Fournette as Louisiana’s best high school football player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award announced in December, Fournette joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.), Wes Welker (1999-00, Heritage Hall HS, Okla.), Terrell Suggs (1999-00, Hamilton HS, Ariz.), Anquan Boldin (1998-99, Pahokee HS, Fla.) and Jerome Bettis (1989-90, Mackenzie HS, Mich.).

The returning Gatorade Football Player of the Year, the 6-foot-1, 232-pound senior running back rushed for 1,792 yards and 16 touchdowns on 194 carries this past season, leading the Purple Knights (9-2) to the Division I state semifinals. Fournette also caught 45 passes for 745 yards and six scores, and as a Wildcat quarterback, he passed for 322 yards and two scores, completing 21-of-32 attempts. The top-ranked recruit in the Class of 2014 by and, Fournette is an Under Armour All-American selection and the 2012 District 10-4A Offensive Player of the Year.

Fournette has maintained a B average in the classroom. He has volunteered for the North Shore Living Center, a local nursing home.

“Having been on these sidelines for the past 30-plus years as a ball boy, player and coach, I can say that Leonard Fournette is one of the most gifted high school football players I have ever had the privilege to see play,” said Greg Salter, head coach of Covington High. “Everyone knows how big, how strong and how fast Leonard is. What truly makes him special is his dedication and commitment to his teammates and his school.”

Fournette remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Two-time winner Fournette joins Gatorade Louisiana Football Players of the Year Landon Collins (2011-12, Dutchtown High School), Anthony Johnson (2010-11, O. Perry Walker High School), Kenny Hilliard (2009-10, Patterson), Dez Duron (2008-09, Evangel Christian Academy) and Jordan Jefferson (2007-08, Destrehan) among the state’s list of former award winners.

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