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Originally published January 26, 2011 at 5:14 PM | Page modified January 26, 2011 at 9:53 PM

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Parade Magazine names Skyline's Kasen Williams high-school football player of the year

Skyline's Kasen Williams is the first player from the state of Washington to be named high-school football player of the year by Parade Magazine.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Parade's state picks

PARADE MAGAZINE All-America football selections from Washington:

1963: George Jugum, West Seattle

1964: Jim Vest, Puyallup

1972: Mike Cordova, Seattle Prep

1973: Steve McDaniels, Renton

1975: Joe Steele, Bishop Blanchet

1976: Cameron Mitchell, Richland; Curt Marsh, Snohomish

1977: Ryne Sandberg, North Central (Spokane); Ken Driscoll, Mount Tahoma (Tacoma)

1978: Phil Carter, Wilson (Tacoma)

1979: Neil Palmer, Kennewick

1981: Mark Rypien, Shadle Park (Spokane); Mike Vindivich, Mount Tahoma (Tacoma); Dennis Soldat, Richland

1983: Chris Chandler, Everett; Rick Fenney, Snohomish

1985: Scott Thompson, Cascade (Everett)

1987: Mike Lustyk, Interlake (Bellevue)

1991: Curtis Bogan Jr., Renton; Lawyer Milloy, Lincoln (Tacoma)

1994: Tony Coats, South Kitsap (Port Orchard)

1995: Brock Huard, Puyallup; Randy Jones, Ferris (Spokane)

1996: Travis Claridge, Fort Vancouver

1997: Victor Rogers, Decatur (Federal Way)

1998: Jared Jones, Walla Walla; Carlos Pierre-Antoine, O'Dea

1999: Paul Arnold, Kennedy (Burien)

2001: Reggie Williams, Lakes (Lakewood)

2004: Keauntea Bankhead, Ballard

2005: Jonathan Stewart, Timberline (Lacey); Leon Jackson, Pasco

2006: Jake Locker, Ferndale; Stephen Schilling, Bellevue; Taylor Mays, O'Dea

2008: Kavario Middleton, Lakes (Lakewood); Alameda Ta'amu, Rainier Beach

2009: Deandre Coleman, Garfield

2010: Jake Heaps, Skyline (Sammamish)

2011: Kasen Williams, Skyline (Sammamish)

Source: Parade Magazine

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When the staff at Parade Magazine settled on Skyline's Jake Heaps as its top quarterback on the 2010 Parade All-America high-school football team, it couldn't help but notice his teammate, Kasen Williams.

Over three years, the duo had helped the Spartans win three straight state titles. They decided then to keep a close eye on the 6-foot-2 receiver as he worked through his senior year. They were curious about how Williams would handle the pressure of being the team's leader with Heaps at Brigham Young.

Turned out that Williams' senior season was so impressive they didn't just name him to the first team, they made him the Player of the Year. Williams is one of 53 players from 22 states selected by Parade editors with the help of The Sporting News. He will appear on the cover of the Feb. 6 issue of Parade.

"He overperformed this season, if anything," said Emmet Sullivan, an associate editor at Parade. "He outperformed himself. He set all new school records and, when you look at it, it was pretty obvious that he was No. 1 to us."

Since the first Parade All-America team was selected in 1963, Williams is the first player from Washington to be named Player of the Year. Williams joins a list that has featured Seantrel Henderson (2010), Terrelle Pryor (2008) and Jimmy Clausen (2007) in recent years.

When Williams, the Washington recruit, received the news Wednesday, his first response was, "Are you serious?"

Then, after taking a minute to think, he said, "Wow. I'm caught off guard, but it definitely means a lot to me. It lets me know that all my hard work has definitely paid off. They took the time to see it and they're one of the few who believe that Washington has some good players."

Williams, who was also named to USA Today's All-USA first team and was one of five players listed as Blue Chip recruits by The Seattle Times, played in four straight state-title games, winning the first three.

He finished his high-school career as one of the most accomplished receivers to come out of Washington. After four years at Skyline he is No. 4 on the state's all-time receiving list with 4,121 yards, No. 4 in career receptions at 235 and No. 3 in receiving touchdowns with 56.

"It's pretty amazing," Skyline coach Mat Taylor said. "We had our banquet on Sunday and it's hard to believe that he's gone. I remember after his freshman year it was like, 'Wow, we get to coach this kid for three more years.' It goes by so fast. Obviously, in Washington, to get recognized is unbelievable, because Washington doesn't get much respect nationally as some of the other states."

Williams had 86 catches for 1,579 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior.

"You think back on all the great players that have come out of Washington and for you to be considered by Parade Magazine to be the best one to come out of Washington is definitely something I feel really good about," Williams said. "No one else thought that I'm that good. No one else believed it. That's just hard work, and it's definitely something I enjoy hearing."

However, now that he's been named Player of the Year, he knows he has to work harder to live up to the award.

"Once you get an award like this, now people are like, 'If they think he's that good, I want him to show me something. I want to see it. I want to believe he's that good,' " Williams said. "For me, that makes me push myself. Yeah, I can do things that can impress you and I can do things to make you believe Parade had a good choice in making me the Player of the Year."

Mason Kelley: 206-464-8277 or mkelley@seattletimes.com

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