Football Player of the Year: Gunner Stockton
Sometimes you have to really sit back and admire what’s unfolding before your eyes. That’s hard to do in the world of sports if you’re not a fan of a team or player because of their many successes (think Tom Brady, LeBron James, etc). What you’re seeing with Gunner Stockton is absolutely legendary in the state of Georgia…and even across the country.
The numbers this young man has put up is better than the greats that come to mind. If you can’t get a grip on this, we’ve provided 3 quarterbacks at random order through the first two seasons of their career.
QB 1 – 5,278 pass yds, 58 TD, 13 INT, 59% completion; 1,559 rush yds, 21 TD
QB 2 – 6,390 pass yds, 77 TD, 12 INT, 69% completion; 1,835 rush yds, 36 TD
QB 3 – 6,708 pass yds, 69 TD, 11 INT, 63% completion; 235 rush yds, 4 TD
QB 1 is Deshaun Watson (2-time Heisman finalist, National Champion, NFL starting QB for Houston Texans). QB 3 is Trevor Lawrence (National Champion, starting QB for Clemson). Two of the greatest quarterbacks hands down in state history. QB 2 is, you guessed it, Gunner Stockton. The ONLY number he sits behind is passing yards to Lawrence (by a slim margin). He is crushing both in the passing scores and completion percentage, and rushing yards and TDs on the ground. It’s insane. So it’s no wonder why after a stellar 2019 campaign, the 5-star recruit and #1 prize in the country in the class of 2022 is the BLITZ Player of the Year…again!
2019 BY THE NUMBERS
- 3,473 pass yds, 43 TD
- 72% completion (239/334)
- 137.1 QB Rating
- 1,126 rush yds, 19 TD
- 6.6 yards/carry
Stockton made his freshman season look…well, like a freshman season. He joined the best in state history with a 3,000-yard passing, 1,000-yard rushing season that has him in elite company. His 3,473 passing yards ranks as the 25th most in a single season in state history, and his 43 TD 11th most. His QB Rating of 137 is straight up insane, and so is his 72% completion percentage. He had a hand in 62 touchdowns, eclipsing 100 total scores during the season. He already sits 40th in state history in passing yards and 19th in TD passes. And remember, he’s just a sophomore.
- Gunner Stockton – 78 pts (15 1st-place votes)
- Pierson Allison – 35 pts
- Dakohta Sonnichsen – 24.5 pts (1)
- Malaki Starks – 21 pts
- J Ben Haynes – 17 pts
- Joshua Pickett – 16.5 pts
It was just about unanimous, but one of our voters from our panel had Stockton with a 2nd-place vote and Dakohta Sonnichsen a 1st-place vote.
Voting included our 16-person panel made up of sports reporters, writers, video producers, former coaches, players, GHSA officials, and sports experts. The voting is Heisman-style, with the following points system:
1st place votes: 5 pts; 2nd: 3 pts; 3rd: 2 pts; 4th: 1 pts; 5th-6th: 0.5 pts
HISTORY OF FOOTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
- 2019 – Gunner Stockton – Rabun Co SO QB
- 2018 – Gunner Stockton – Rabun Co FR QB
- 2017 – Bailey Fisher – Rabun Co SR QB
- 2016 – Bailey Fisher – Rabun Co JR QB
- 2015 – Bailey Fisher – Rabun Co SO QB
- 2014 – Charlie Woerner – Rabun Co JR WR/RB/DB
- 2013 – Joseph Mancuso – Union Co SO QB
- 2012 – Tyler Dominy – Dawson Co SR QB
- 2011 – Kevin Ellison – Habersham Central SR QB
- 2010 – Ashely Lowery – White Co SR RB/DB
- 2009 – Ashely Lowery – White Co JR RB/DB
Stockton is the 3rd player to ever repeat as winner, following in the footsteps of predecessor Bailey Fisher (the lone 3-time winner). It continues a trend of Rabun County earning the honors 6 years running, as now all 3 players to win it in that span for the Wildcats are or will be Division-I players. Stockton is the 5th different QB to take the honors, and only the 3rd different (4th overall) sophomore or freshman to win it.
LOOKING AHEAD – THE NEXT FAVORITE(S)
GUNNER STOCKTON! He’s got this thing on lock barring injury or someone just completely blazing the gridiron in 2020. The finalist group this year is so good though, as J Ben Haynes (White) and Malaki Starks (Jefferson) will both return next year, as well as Dakohta Sonnichsen (Dawson) and Joshua Pickett (Habersham). Only Pierson Allison (Union) graduates from this finalist pool.
POY Graphic (Framed) – Gunner Stockton
POY Graphic (Framed) - Gunner Stockton