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.
8. Chase Christiansen, Stansbury. Quarterback; linebacker.
Nitty-gritty: 6-foot-2, 205-pounds; committed to Utah State.
Qualifications: Chase Christiansen is Stansbury.
Before his arrival, although he did contribute occasionally as a freshman, the Stallions were 3-16. Granted, the program had yet to dip its feet fully into the water after opening its doors in 2009.
Then, No. 44 took over.
Over the past two seasons, Stansbury is 20-3 with consecutive unblemished runs through Region 11. During that time period Christiansen has accumulated 3,298 total yards and 53 touchdowns compared to only six interceptions. What’s even more impressive is his development in the passing game. While primarily using his feet in the option, he ballooned his touchdown passes by seven, and lowered his interception total by two from his sophomore to junior season.
Now, for the senior season encore.
The Stallions enter the season with the best class in school history, and once again are favored in the 3AA North despite Juan Diego’s presence. However, who remembers region champs eliminated in the quarterfinals? A characteristic attached to the last two seasons. Stansbury needs to breakthrough the second round curse to legitimatize its watermark as one of the upper-echelon programs in the 3AA classification.
Obviously, in order for any postseason success, Christiansen has to orchestrate the offensive in the same caliber he’s shown the previous two seasons. Where he’s truly needed is on defense. After losing Colton May (125 tackles) and Jackson Clausing (75 tackles) to graduation, Christiansen will play a more prominent role at linebacker this season.