Top 20 prep football players countdown: Highland’s Bryan Mone

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.

Highland's Bryan Mone paces the sideline. Credit: themblock.com

Highland’s Bryan Mone paces the sideline. Credit: themblock.com

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.

Email: tphibbs@deseretnews.com

16 comments

  1. Ned Flanders

    If he is rhe #73 prospect in the nation how is he #9 on this list? Are the other 8 on this ranked higher than #73 nationally?

    • Trevor Phibbs

      @ Ned Flanders.

      The answer to your question was addressed in the first two paragraphs of the blog. The list is in no particular order, and it isn’t strictly based on recruiting interest. It focuses on the impact players that change the outcome on Friday nights. So, no, the other eight players are not ranked higher. He’s the top recruit in the state.

  2. Ned Flanders

    How does the #1 recruit not have a big impact on Friday nights? #9 just seems to low for a player like him.

  3. HighSchool411

    This kid is pretty good but he’s not the strongest kid that will be playing this year! I really think he’s more of a 3star player but was advertised very well by his coach! But he’s a good kid and should do good against his competition!

    @Trevor Phibbs
    I’m glad that your doing this top 20..it’s cool to see these other kids I would’e never heard about and it was mostly the 3A kids that I don’t follow!

    • Trevor Phibbs

      @HighSchool411

      I’m glad that you’re enjoying the countdown. I’ve had a lot of fun researching all the teams and trying to narrow down all the great players in the state to 20. Out of curiosity, if you don’t believe Mone is the strongest player in the state, who is?

    • Ned Flanders

      He wasn’t “advertised” by anybody. D1 schools can spot talent and he is a special talent.

  4. eagle

    I’ll go out on a limb and say Austin Kafentzis of Jordan will be No.1. I still would rate this kid a bit higher but that’s just me.

    • Trevor Phibbs

      @eagle

      Remember that the list is in no particular order, so the No.9 position isn’t his ranking amongst the 20 players named.

    • DonnieG

      Austin should definitely be on the list somewhere. I coach here in the valley and had the opportunity to see some film on him at a coaching clinic. He is one of the most legit high school QBs I have ever seen, and I coached one who went to Wisconsin a few years back.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but he is only going to be a junior? The kid does phenomenal things, but he had some tremendous talent around him, a lot of which I think graduated this past year.

      It will be interesting to see how this Jordan team reloads, especially with their Samoan connection moving on to Taylorsville. The dynamics of football here in the valley may be changing. I bet a lot of kids that Jordan was going to get now spread out a little bit throughout the valley.

  5. eagle

    Thanks for the clarification as I read your preface a bit closer. The “countdown” style seems to suggest some sort of ranking system. I think it would be cool if you actually did that, it would really spice things up. I mean, it would be cool if you ranked the players on who you thought they were in the order you thought they deserved. Other than that, it has been fun to read your pieces and get excited for the upcoming prep football season.

    • Trevor Phibbs

      @ Eagle

      I thought about ranking the players in an actual order, but if I did that the majority of those making the cut would be from the successful, higher classification programs, and I thought this would be a little bit more fun to blog about or at least a change. It would be interesting, though, I agree. I certainly have my thoughts on who the top overall players are, and I would actually leave a couple off the list that are highly rated recruits, too. Anyway, I appreciate the kind sentiments. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed following along. I’ve had a lot of fun with it so far.

  6. Aaron Amaama

    I was just wondering if you could check out my highlight film please and just give your opinion on the highlight film this will be truly appreciated its on YouTube… Search Aaron Amaama and the highlights should say re up please watch and enjoy feedback would be truly appreciated thank you

  7. eagle

    As for impact, these smaller school players actually have more in respect to their talents compared to the competition. In the 4A and 5A, there are more, higher quality players and athletes so the difference in talent from one to the next isn’t quite as large. Except for Kafentzis, that kid is out of this world talented and I believe would be all-state in any state in any classification. He’s the most dominant high school player in Utah I’ve seen since Haloti Ngata and Jeff Holtry.

    • Trevor Phibbs

      @Eagle

      Sorry, I worded my response a bit strangely. I meant in terms of the overall best players in the state in pure talent would generally fall in the higher classifications. You’re absolutely right that players in the smaller schools play more prominent roles without having the luxury of platooning.

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