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.
14. Koi Cook, Grand. Running back; defensive back.
13. Isaiah Holloway, Timpview. Defensive back.
Nitty-gritty: 6-foot-1, 170-pounds; undeclared.
Qualifications: The first time I witnessed Isaiah Holloway play football was on August 17, 2012. I was covering the Timpview-Alta game, and the Hawks had just kicked a field goal to pull within 7-3 in the first quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, Holloway fielded possession at the 5-yard line — shifted to lightspeed, and jumped into hyperspace.
I remember asking, “Who was that?” as he proceeded to take the kick to the barn. A Timpview spectator on the sideline quickly responded, “Isaiah Holloway. He’s only a sophomore, and is going to be really good.”
Holloway ultimately led the Thunderbirds during their championship run with four interceptions along with 50 tackles. He has polished footwork, reliable hands, and obviously, game-changing speed. What makes him a unique commodity at the high school level is his seamless transition between man-to-man, zone coverage, and jamming the receiver at the line.
Timpview is stacked on the defensive side of the ball — returning eight players that combined for 541 tackles, 18.5 tacks and nine interceptions of production — but was basically stripped on the offensive side of the ball. Which makes Holloway’s contributions on special teams and his interception total paramount.
As the new additions become familiarized with the offense — starting field position will comfort any adjustments. Starting on the 35-yard line is a lot easier than being pinned up deep.