Compiled by Seattle Medium Staff
Joshua Wood has been a dominating force for the Graham-Kapowsin football team all year. For his efforts, on an off the field, he has been awarded the 2021 Washington State High School Football Player of the Year, from both MaxPreps and Gatorade.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound senior quarterback led the Eagles to a 14-0 record and the Class 4A state championship over Lake Stevens this past season. In the championship game, Wood was 4-of-6 passing for 29 yards but did his damage rushing for 171 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns. Wood passed for 2,228 yards and 33 touchdowns and rushed for 612 yards and 10 scores, averaging 10.7 yards per carry. Along with being the South Puget Sound League Offensive Most Valuable Player, he is also a two-time All-League quarterback.
Every year since 2006, MaxPreps has recognized outstanding performers in high school football. America’s source for high school sports continued the tradition to close out the 2021 season by naming the top player in each state. Selections are based on team success and individual excellence, in addition to local and state accolades.
Becoming MaxPreps Washington Player of the Year means that Wood will be considered for inclusion in the MaxPreps All-America Team, which will be released in early January.
In its 37th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade also named Wood as their 2021-22 Gatorade Washington Football Player of the Year. Wood is the first Gatorade Washington Football Player of the Year to be chosen from Graham-Kapowsin High School.
The Gatorade 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 Wood as Washington’s best high school football player.
As with the MaxPreps award, Wood will now be a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award to be announced in December, Wood joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners, 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.).
Wood joins recent Gatorade Washington Football Players of the Year Sam Huard (2020-21, Kennedy Catholic High School), Emeka Egbuka (2019-20, Steilacoom High School), Jacob Holcomb (2018-19, Puyallup High School), and Isaiah Ifanse (2017-18, Bellevue High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.
A member of the Graham-Kapowsin High Student Leadership Committee, Wood has volunteered locally as a youth football and basketball coach, and he has donated his time to A Step Ahead Pierce County, which supports families with infants and toddlers experiencing developmental delays or disabilities.
“Josh is a dynamic, do-it-all quarterback,” said Keith Ross, head coach of Sumner High School. “He is long, athletic, fast and calm. He can hurt you in all phases. He is truly one of the most dynamic quarterbacks that I have ever coached against.”
Wood has maintained a 3.59 GPA in the classroom. He has made a verbal commitment to play football on scholarship at Eastern Washington University next fall.
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 leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport.
Gatorade has a long-standing history of serving athlete communities and understands how sports instill valuable lifelong skills on and off the field. Through Gatorade’s “Play it Forward” platform, Wood has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national organization of their choosing that helps young athletes realize the benefits of playing sports. Wood is also eligible to submit a short 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 $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations.