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 at @TPhibbsDNews.
Now, without further ado:
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.
4. Taylor Compton, Logan. Receiver; cornerback.
3. Mack Richards, Alta. Receiver
Nitty-gritty: 6-foot-1, 190-pounds; undeclared.
Qualifications: As Alta prepared for the 2012 season the majority of the publicity centered on its tandem of college-ready wideouts — Ammon Baker (Hawaii) and Harrison Handley (Utah). Little did the state know that the Hawks were actually nesting three legitimate division-1 products on the outskirts.
Mack Richards quietly and quickly established his game on an equal playing field as the two aforementioned stars. Originally he was supposed to be the third option at slot, but finished with 60 receptions for 887 yards, 11 touchdowns and nearly 1,500 all-purpose yards.
In the seventh week of the season, Richards emblazoned his talents in the lopsided loss against Don Bosco, N.J., one of the top private programs in the nation. He finished with seven receptions for 89 yards and two touchdowns along with an electrifying 87-yard kick return.
Richards is all that remains from the heralded receiving corps, and is expected to do it all as the Hawks travel through the ultimate gauntlet. In 2013, Alta plays Bingham (No. 1), Jordan (No.4), Timpview (No.5), Lone Peak (No.6), East (No.7), Brighton (No.10) and Allentown, N.J. which finished 9-2.
Quarterback Chipper Lucero is a riverboat gambler behind center. He was blessed with a cannon on his shoulder, which accounted for 3,414 yards and 37 touchdowns. However, his exuberant confidence led to 13 interceptions. It’s important for Richards to recognize when to break off his route in order to shadow Lucero as he starts to scramble out of the pocket.