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.
7. Tani Lehauli, Granger. Running back.
6. Trent Roberts, Duchesne. Quarterback
5. Breckin Gunter, Box Elder. Linebacker; running back.
Nitty-gritty: 6-feet, 195-pounds; undeclared.
Qualifications: The responsibilities of the linebacker position are fairly mundane in terms of description. Obviously, many contribute to pass coverage, but in the grand scheme of defensive protocol the linebacker is there to make tackles. The defensive ends contain the outskirts and the lineman apply pressure so the play funnels towards the Sam, Mike and Will ‘backers.
Typically, productive linebackers record anywhere between 6-8 tackles per game, which is indicative to exactly how piranha-like Box Elder’s Breckin Gunter’s 12.7 per game tackle average in 2012 really was.
In Box Elder’s 12 games last season, Gunter surpassed double digit tackle totals eight times including a record-setting 30 tackles in the season ending loss to East in the 4A quarterfinals. He finished with 152 tackles, one sack, eight forced fumbles and three interceptions.
This season, in addition to defense, Gunter will play a prominent role in the Bees’ Wing-T scheme. In 2012, Box Elder had a 2.5-1 run to pass ratio and accumulated 2,324 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground. Gunter, who ran for 330 yards and three touchdowns, and Matt Williams are slated to handle the load this season.
Box Elder is on the precipice of becoming a sneaky sound club. In 2012, four of the Bees’ five losses were against teams that advanced to the semifinals or further (Syracuse, Mountain Crest, Highland and East) and the fifth was against Logan. Apart from the Syracuse game, Box Elder was in each game to end: blew a fourth quarter lead against Mountain Crest and Highland, trailed by four points against Logan before coughing up 14-unanswered and faced a 14-7 deficit against East in the fourth quarter.
The Bees are certainly playoff caliber, but exactly how far they challenge is dependent upon Gunter carrying the bulk of the load.