There is no consolation prize for coming up short of achieving personal goals, but for Notre Dame commitment Tommy Kraemer winning Gatorade Player of the Year in Ohio softened the blow of not winning a state title.
Kraemer, a 6-foot-6, 310-pound offensive lineman, recorded 156 pancake blocks as a senior to lead the Elder Panthers to the Division I quarterfinals, where they lost to top-seeded Colerain. He learned of the award on Dec. 2.
“It feels awesome,” he said. “I've worked really hard the past four years and it's pretty cool to see all of that work being noticed as I wrap up my high school career and I'm pumped a lineman won. Big boys deserve a little credit every once in a while.”
Kraemer is just the 10th offensive lineman to win the award since its inception in 1986.
Other notable Ohioans to win the award include Jeff Davidson, Kirk Herbstreit, Robert Smith, Korey Stringer, Charles Woodson, Ted Ginn, Alex Boone, Ben Martin, Maty Mauk and former Notre Dame standouts Marc Edwards, Tony Fisher and Dan McCarthy.
Elder coach Doug Ramsey nominated Kraemer for the award.
With Kraemer leading the way, the Panthers amassed 5,064 yards of total offense in 13 games.
“I couldn't be happier with the way it all went down,” Kraemer said. “I loved taking the field every Friday night with my brothers and we had some big wins that I'm happy to have been a part of.”
Kraemer’s last high school game will be as a U.S. Army All-American in January.
Notre Dame offensive line coach Harry Hiestand was in Cincinnati on Wednesday to check on the four-star prospect.
“Coach Hiestand visited for four hours yesterday,” Kraemer said. “We went out to eat then he stopped by the house for a while. Him and coach (Brian) Kelly will be back in January for my official in-home (visit).”