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.
12. Brandon Farmer, Herriman. Running back.
11. Drew Batchelor, Dixie. Receiver.
10. Kavika Fonua, Syracuse. Defensive back; running back.
9. Bryan Mone, Highland. Defensive line; offensive line.
Nitty-gritty: 6-foot-4, 310-pounds; committed to Michigan.
Qualifications: In terms of pure physical specimens, Bryan Mone may only be rivaled by another defensive tackle that graduated from Highland in 2001.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way labeling Mone as the next Haloti Ngata nor am I even comparing the two apart from physicality and brute strength. But, the truth of the matter is the state of Utah hasn’t seen a player that could dominate a “tug o’ war” competition like Mone since Ngata.
As a four-star prospect, Mone is the top rated recruit of the Class of 2014, and is one of two players in the state to appear on ESPN’s Top 100 at No. 73.
Frequently rotating between the interior and exterior on the defensive line, Mone has an initial burst seldom seen from players of his size. The majority of his tackles (73) and sacks (3) occurred from the rush end where he’s developed an overpowering punch that backpedals blockers.
The Maize and Blue Nation is expecting a defensive presence, but what Highland needs is his contributions on the offensive line. The Rams aren’t trying to fool anyone. It’s a knuckles-in-the-dirt-pin-the-ears-back-try-and-stop-us offense. The Rams are dependent on Mone’s ability to handle the defender in front of him, and proceed to the second level backers.
Highland ran for 3,199 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2012, and with the departure of Malcolm Card-Turner and quarterback Austin Peterson, the run-to-pass ratio could inflate higher.
If the Rams want to make the trip back to Rice-Eccles Stadium in November for third time in four years, Mone needs to dictate the line of scrimmage.