In its 32nd year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, announced Coy Steel of Sheridan High School as its 2016-17 Gatorade Wyoming Football Player of the Year. Steel is the sixth Gatorade Wyoming Football Player of the Year to be chosen from Sheridan 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 Steel as Wyoming’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, Collins joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Anquan Boldin (1998-99, Pahokee HS, Fla.), Greg Olsen (2002-03, Wayne Hills HS, N.J.), Matthew Stafford (2005-06 Highland Park HS, Texas), Harrison Smith (2006-07 Knoxville Catholic High School, Tenn.), Latavius Murray (2007-08, Onondaga HS, N.Y.), Brock Osweiler (2008-09, Flathead High School, Mont.) and Leonard Fournette (2012-13, 2014-15, St. Augustine HS, La.)

The 5-foot-9, 175-pound senior wide receiver and defensive back caught 63 passes for 1,033 yards and 14 touchdowns this past season, leading the Broncs to an 11-1 record and the Class 4A state championship.

Steel also made 68 tackles on defense, six for loss, and intercepted two passes.

The Class 4A Defensive Player of the Year, he was unanimously chosen First Team All-State on both offense and defense.

Steel has maintained a 3.92 GPA in the classroom.

He has volunteered locally on behalf of the Special Olympics.

“Coy Steel can change games all by himself,” said Chad Goff, head coach at Cheyenne East High. “He’s so fast and athletic, he’s a threat every time he touches the ball. He’s just as good on special teams, and on defense they put him at every position except the line.”

Steel 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 Player of the Year Selection Committee, 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.

Steel joins recent Gatorade Wyoming Football Players of the Year Theo Dawson (2015-16, Jackson Hole High School), Christian Mayer (2014-15, Big Horn High School), Tevis Bartlett (2013-14, Cheyenne East High School), Brecken Biggs (2012-13, Natrona County High School), Jordan Roberts (2011–12, Sheridan High School), Jim Shellenberger (2010-11, Natrona County High School), and Austin Woodward (2009-10, Sheridan High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.

As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Steel will be able to select a national or local youth sports organization to receive a grant as part of the Gatorade Play It Forward program.

Every Gatorade Player of the Year state winner receives a $1,000 grant to donate and will have the opportunity to enter for an additional $10,000 spotlight grant by writing a brief essay explaining why their selected organization deserves additional support.

12 spotlight grants – one for each sport – will be announced throughout the year.