CHICAGO -- - In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, today announced Derek Stingley Jr. of Dunham School as its 2018-19 Gatorade Louisiana Football Player of the Year. Stingley Jr. is the first Gatorade Louisiana Football Player of the Year to be chosen from Dunham 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 Stingley Jr. as Louisiana’s best high school football player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award to be announced in December, Stingley Jr. joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Emmitt Smith (1986-87, Escambia High School, Fla.), Matthew Stafford (2005-06 Highland Park High School, Texas) and Christian McCaffrey (2012-13, 2013-14, Valor Christian High School, Colo.).
The 6-foot-1,195-pound senior defensive back and wide receiver caught 24 passes for 678 yards and eight touchdowns this past season, leading the Tigers (9-1) to the Division III state quarterfinals. Rated as the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2019 by Rivals.com, Stingley contributed 35 tackles and two interceptions for a defense that recorded four shutouts. Selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl game in January, he concluded his prep football career with 27 interceptions and 14 punt return touchdowns.
Stingley has volunteered locally working to restore homes lost in the historic Baton Rouge floods of 2016, and he has donated his time as a youth football coach. “Derek Stingley is an asset on both sides of the football, as a receiver and defensive back,” said Eric Randall, head coach of Baker High. “He is the very best skill player, by far, in the state of Louisiana.”
Stingley has maintained a weighted 3.66 GPA. He has verbally committed to play football on an athletic scholarship at Louisiana State University in the fall of 2019.
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. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year. In all, 607 athletes are honored each year.
Stingley Jr. joins recent Gatorade Louisiana Football Players of the Year Slade Bolden (2017-18, West Monroe High School), Keytaon Thompson (2016-17, Landry-Walker High School), Lindsey Scott (2015-16, Zachary High School), Deshawn Capers-Smith (2014-15, Warren Easton Charter High School), and Leonard Fournette (2013-14, St. Augustine High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.
As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Stingley Jr. has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of his choosing. He is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.
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.
To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit www.Gatorade.com/POY, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.