Hours before his Southern Columbus (Pa.) High School team vies for a third consecutive Class 2A state championship on Friday afternoon, Julian Fleming was named a top-three finalist for the 2019-20 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award.
Fleming, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior receiver, has hauled in 68 catches for 1,448 yards and 21 touchdown and led the Tigers to a 15-0 record, a season that landed him the state of Pennsylvania's Gatorade Player of the Year award for the second straight year.
Fleming, who recently moved into 247Sports' No. 2 overall spot in the 2020 rankings, holds the Pennsylvania state record for most career receiving yards and most career touchdowns. The Ohio State receiver commit is a two-time Pennsylvania Class 2A Player of the Year award winner as well and has been selected to play in the 2020 Under Armour All-American Game.
Fleming is one of seven Ohio State commits or targets to win their state's 2019-20 Gatorade Player of the Year awards, joining fellow 2020 receiver commit Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Texas) and 2020 athlete commit Cameron Martinez (Michigan), in addition to Bijan Robinson (Arizona), Jayden de Laura (Hawaii), Will Shipley (North Carolina) and Emeka Egbuka (Washington).
Past Gatorade National Player of the Year award winners have combined for six NFL MVP awards, 30 Pro Bowl appearances, and six of them became NFL first-round draft picks.
Ohio State has had two players in program history win the Gatorade National Player of the Year award: quarterback Tate Martell (2016-17) and running back Robert Smith (1989-90).