CHICAGO — In its 39th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Julian ‘Ju Ju’ Lewis of Carrollton High School is the 2023-24 Gatorade Georgia Football Player of the Year. Lewis is the first Gatorade Georgia Football Player of the Year to be chosen from Carrollton High School. The award, which celebrates the nation’s top high school athletes for excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community, distinguishes Lewis as Georgia’s best high school football player. From CEOs and coaches to star athletes, Gatorade Player of the Year winners showcase the power of sport. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award to be announced in January, Lewis joins an all-star group of alumni that includes Emmitt Smith (1986-87, Escambia High School, Fla.), Peyton Manning (1993-94, Isidore Newman School, La.) and Jackson Arnold (2022-23, John H. Guyer High School, Texas).
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound sophomore quarterback passed for 3,094 yards and 48 touchdowns this past season, leading the Trojans (11-2) to the Class 7A state quarterfinals. Lewis completed 66.4 percent of his throws (186-of280) and averaged 11.1 yards per attempt, tossing just two interceptions. The 2022 MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year, Lewis is ranked as the nation’s No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2026 by 247Sports.com. He concluded his sophomore year with 7,212 yards passing and 96 touchdowns in his prep football career.
Lewis has volunteered locally as a youth football coach. “Julian Lewis is a special player,” said John Small, head coach of East Coweta High School. “He is one of the best QBs I have seen at the high school level. He has great arm talent and also has incredible touch. He makes everyone around him better.”
Lewis has maintained an A average in the classroom. He has made a verbal commitment to play football on scholarship at the University of Southern California beginning in the fall of 2026.
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.
Lewis joins recent Gatorade Georgia Football Players of the Year Caleb Downs (2022-23, Mill Creek High School), Gunner Stockton (2021-22, Rabun County High School), Brock Vandagriff (2020-21, Prince Avenue Christian School), and Arik Gilbert (2019-20, Marietta High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.
As part of Gatorade’s commitment to breaking down barriers in sport, 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.
To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit playeroftheyear.gatorade.com or follow us on social media on Facebook at facebook.com/GatoradePOY, Instagram at instagram.com/Gatorade and Twitter at twitter.com/Gatorade.