The top 20 blueprint wasn’t necessarily based strictly on recruiting interest, although it did play into account, but rather a collection of players that influence the outcome each Friday night in the realm of Utah high school football.
I’ll publish a blog post each day unveiling the top 20 impact players in the state — in no particular order — in my unabashed opinion. All selections are entirely my own. Submit your feedback in the comment section below, and I’ll respond accordingly. Stay up to date with Utah high school football on Twitter by following me @TPhibbsDNews.
Now, without further adieu:
20. Korey Rush, East. Defensive End.
19. Baron Gajkowski, Lone Peak. Quarterback.
18. Gaje Ferguson, Mountain Crest. Running back; outside linebacker.
17. Cole Nelson, Juan Diego. Quarterback; safety.
16. Nolan Gray, Orem. Receiver.
15. Mori Savini, Taylorsville. Defensive tackle, fullback.
Nitty-gritty: 5-foot-10, 265-pounds; undeclared.
Qualifications: Taylorsville has been downtrodden for sometime now, and hasn’t had a winning season dating back to 2003. Since that year the Warriors have gone 9-80 and 3-42 in region play. Right now, the program is lacking the foundation. The players need to taste success — to at least be competitive — in order to start investing into philosophies.
That’s why Mori Savini’s value this season is immeasurable. Savini (highlights) is a two-star defensive tackle that led Jordan during its championship run last season with 7.5 sacks; the Warriors had 5.5 sacks total. According to scout.com he’s receiving interest from Alabama, Boise State, BYU, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, TCU, UCLA, USC, Utah, Utah State and Wyoming.
Savini joins Taylorsville after his family relocated into the boundaries, and his accolades — Defensive MVP at Oakland NFTC (Nike Football Training Camp) and All Poly Camp and Deseret News Second-Team All-State — aren’t nearly as important as his experience.
With Savini demonstrating proper work ethic, the Warriors are learning what it takes to win off the field from one of their own. Savini is an absolute beast in the weight room. He set a new record at the University of Utah high school day with a 678-pound squat and 49 bench reps of a 190-pounds.
He’s been to the top, and although the Warriors are certainly far from that point, he can lead by an example, and potentially influence a culture change within the program.
Savini inherits a vastly different role than he played at Jordan last season. He’ll primarily be featured at defensive tackle still, but he’ll also play extensive snaps at fullback. I spoke with Taylorsville coach Rod Wells several weeks ago about his vision of using Savini in the backfield, and he said because of his height he’s being overlooked on defense, but at fullback he’s a legitimate college prospect.
Taylorsville, obviously, isn’t competing for a state championship this season. But, Region 2 is clearly the weakest region in 5A. If it can string together a few mistake-free quarters, maybe — just maybe — it could surprise a few teams. Either way, Savini is going to be miserable on both sides of the ball.