Jan. 26, 2024 --
In its 39th year of honoring the nation’s most elite high school athletes, Marquise Davis of Cleveland Heights High School is the 2023-2024 Gatorade Ohio Football Player of the Year. Davis is the first Gatorade Player of the Year to be chosen from Heights High.
The award, which celebrates the nation’s top high school athletes for excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community, distinguishes Davis as Ohio’s best high school football player. From CEOS and coaches to star athletes, Gatorade Player of the Year winners chase the power of the sport, touting an all-star group of alumni that includes Emmitt Smith, Peyton Manning and Jackson Arnold.
The 6-foot, 200-pound junior running back and linebacker rushed for 2,405 yards and 34 touchdowns this past season, leading the Tigers (11-2) to be named the Greater Cleveland Conference Champions in their debut season in the conference and to the Division I postseason regional semifinals. Marquise was also named the GCC Offensive Player of the Year, the OHSAA Division I Offensive Player of the Year, and the 2023 Greater Cleveland Sports Commission’s Male High School Player of the Year. An Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association’s Mr. Football award finalist, Davis recorded 91 tackles and three interceptions, including one for a touchdown, while forcing three fumbles and collecting three interceptions. He is ranked as the nation’s No. 106 recruit in the Class of 2025 by On3.com.
“Marquise's physical ability and statistics speak for itself,” said CH-UH Athletic Director Joe D’Amato. “What I am most proud about is how seriously he takes his academics and how he carries himself in the building and in the community. We could not have a better student-athlete representing Heights.”
Marquise has donated his time locally by making speaking appearances before youth football groups and volunteering as a youth football coach. He has also maintained a weighted 3.90 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 leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport.
As part of Gatorade’s commitment to breaking down barriers in sports, every Player of the Year also receives a grant to donate to a social impact partner. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $4.9 million across more than 1,600 organizations.
“The fact that Marquise was selected the Gatorade Ohio Football Player of the Year is very indicative of what a phenomenal student-athlete he is,” said Mac Stephens, the head coach of Heights High’s football team. “Marquise embodies the Heights blueprint; which is academic excellence, being socially responsible and giving athletic effort. I am very proud of him and this is just the beginning of success that he will continue to achieve.“