Thompson’s Harrell wins Gatorade Player of the Year award

Published 10:51 am Thursday, May 13, 2021

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

After one year leading the Thompson Warriors, quarterback Conner Harrell has racked up several awards, but his latest may be the biggest so far.

On Thursday, May 13, Harrell was named as the Alabama Gatorade Player of the Year for football, which is given out to the top football player in each state every year.

The honor was given to Harrell following a remarkable first year starting for the Warriors that saw him lead the team to their second Class 7A State Championship in a row.

Harrell totaled more than 3,500 yards passing during the season and 42 touchdowns to get the Warriors to the state championship game where they finished off a perfect 14-0 season with a remarkable 29-28 comeback win. He also ran for 319 yards and five more touchdowns.

He missed the second half of that game, but took Thompson through one of the most difficult schedules in the state with four wins against the top three teams in the state.

Harrell also became the first Gatorade Alabama Football Player of the Year to be chosen from Thompson 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 Harrell as Alabama’s best high school football player.

He is now also a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award to be announced in May.

Harrell is considered a three-star recruit by both 247 Sports and Rivals and has college offers from close to 30 schools, including teams like Tennessee, Nebraska, Houston, UAB, Vanderbilt, Duke, Arizona State, West Virginia, Harvard and many more.

During his lone year as a starter, Harrell was named to the All-County First Team, All-State First Team, the Class 7A Back of the Year and to the Super All-State team alongside teammate Jeremiah Alexander.

In addition to his play on the field, Harrell has maintained a weighted 4.56 GPA in the classroom.

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 Player of the Year Selection Committee, which works with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Harrell joins recent Gatorade Alabama Football Players of the Year Kristian Story (2019-20, Lanett High School), Bo Nix (2018-19, Pinson Valley High School), Asa Martin (2017-18, Austin High School), and Jaylond Adams (2016-17, Minor High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.

Through Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Harrell has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of their choosing. Harrell is also eligible to submit a 30-second video explaining why the organization they chose is deserving of one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year.

To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $2.7 million across 1,117 organizations.