CHICAGO (January 3, 2023) — In its 39th year of honoring the nation’s most elite high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Ju’Juan Johnson of Lafayette Christian Academy is the 2023-24 Gatorade Louisiana Football Player of the Year. Johnson is the first Gatorade Louisiana Football Player of the Year to be chosen from Lafayette Christian Academy.
The award, which celebrates the nation’s top high school athletes for excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community, distinguishes Johnson as Louisiana’s best high school football player. From CEOs and coaches to star athletes, Gatorade Player of the Year winners showcase the power of sport, touting 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 5-foot-11, 195-pound senior quarterback passed for 3,628 yards and 41 touchdowns this past season, leading the Knights (11-3) to the Division II Select State Tournament title game. Johnson also rushed for 1,509 yards and 25 scores. Recruited to play defensive back in college, he concluded his prep football career with a state-record 14,365 yards of total offense along with 171 touchdowns.
Johnson participated in a service-mission trip to Mexico last summer, where he helped with small construction projects. He has volunteered locally as part of multiple community service initiatives with his church. “Ju’Juan is one of the hardest-working kids that I’ve ever been around,” said Hunter Landry, head coach of Lafayette Christian Academy. “The effort you get from him Friday is the effort we get from him Monday through Thursday. He practices just like he plays.”
Johnson has maintained a B average in the classroom. He has signed a National Letter of Intent to play football on scholarship at Louisiana State University this 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.
Johnson joins recent Gatorade Louisiana Football Players of the Year Arch Manning (2022-23, Isidore Newman School), Landry Lyddy (2021-22, Calvary Baptist Academy), Walker Howard (2020-21, St. Thomas More High School), and Christian Westcott (2019-20, Lakeshore 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