Gatorade Press Release
CHICAGO (December 7, 2021) — In its 37th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Tetairoa McMillan of Servite High School is the 2021-22 Gatorade California Football Player of the Year. McMillan is the first Gatorade California Football Player of the Year to be chosen from Servite 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 McMillan as California’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, McMillan 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.).
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound senior wide receiver and defensive back caught 88 passes for 1,302 yards and 18 touchdowns this past season, leading the Friars (10-3) to the Southern Section Division 1 championship game. Defensively, the Trinity League Player of the Year recorded 35 tackles and eight interceptions, returning two of them for scores. Rated as the nation’s No. 29 recruit in the Class of 2022 by 247Sports.com, McMillan was selected to play in the 2022 All-American Bowl and the Polynesian Bowl.
A three-sport varsity athlete and a First Team All-State selection in volleyball, McMillan has volunteered locally as a Servite High Admissions Ambassador. He has also donated his time with Operation Christmas Child and as a youth football coach.
“Tetairoa McMillan is a generational talent,” said Troy Thomas, head coach of Servite High. “He has proven time and time again to be a game-changer on both sides of the ball. TMac has the ability to make a bad ball into a spectacular catch—he makes the extraordinary look ordinary.” McMillan has maintained a weighted 4.30 GPA in the classroom. He has verbally committed to play football on scholarship at the University of Oregon 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.
McMillan joins recent Gatorade California Football Players of the Year Malachi Nelson (2020-21, Los Alamitos High School), Bryce Young (2019-20, Mater Dei High School), DJ Uiagalelei (2018-19, St. John Bosco High School), and J.T. Daniels (2017-18, Mater Dei High School), among the state’s list of former award winners. 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, McMillan 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. McMillan 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. Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators.
To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate studentathletes, 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.