NUMBER 20: COLTON BARNES – MILFORD
We have already had the opportunity to highlight Barnes, but it seems that one time is insufficient. Barnes is an up-and-coming player to keep an eye on. Like his brothers before him, he is an electric athlete on both sides of the ball. He will only be a junior next season and will most likely make a giant jump in the offseason and when playing begins.
NUMBER 19: MARCUS HERRERA – JUDGE MEMORIAL
The Bulldogs of Judge Memorial had a plethora of youth on their squad last season. They have had a rough couple of years, but it has all been building up it to next season. They have a couple of nice returning DBs but Herrera stood out. He snagged a few interceptions that came at crucial times of games. We will have to see if Judge takes a leap next season. Herrera is certainly a a player to keep an eye on.
NUMBER 18: BRIGHAM NIELSON – SAN JUAN
San Juan is not lacking stars and hasn’t for years now. They have athletes that are studs on both offense and defense. Nielson was just one of an all-star cast of DBs and I assume he will reach new heights in August. The Broncos are looking run it back and three peat. Nielson seems to be all over the field and is a big hitter and will wear you down through the duration of a game. He has a high ceiling and we aren’t at the pinnacle yet.
NUMBER 17: PEYTON ALTON – EMERY
Emery might have had the most underrated defensive backfield in Utah. Miller, Hennes, Sharp, and Alton were tough to move the ball on. A turnover was bound to happen when you tried to throw the ball. Alton tallied three interceptions and will be looking for more next season. Emery will be looking to dethrone San Juan this Fall, and they won’t be able to have a shot without Alton.
NUMBER 16: AARON BARLOW – PROVIDENCE HALL
The Patriots turned some heads in 2022 and outplayed what we thought they were capable of. They are losing some players but should still be a high-quality unit. Aaron Barlow will captain their defensive backfield. Barlow is an excellent DB and will smother the opposing receiver. He will be a weapon, and if Providence Hall is successful, he will be a big reason why.
NUMBER 15: JAMES CROWLEY – NORTH SEVIER
Crowley is one of the most outstanding secondary players in the 1A classification. It is best not to throw the ball in his general direction. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time. It is a perk for defenses to know that his side of the field is locked down. North Sevier may struggle next season due to youth, but Crowley will certainly be at the top of his game every Friday.
NUMBER 14: GAGE YARDLEY – RICHFIELD
Yardley is a baller for the Wildcats. He is progressed every year and will surely do the same next season. He is exactly what you are looking for in a defensive back. His play is crucial to the team’s success. If Richfield is going to make a hurdle this next season, which is entirely possible due to the powerhouse 3A schools losing players and coaches, it’ll be due to Yardley’s ability to shut down the other team’s number one threat.
NUMBER 13: DRAKER GOODLIFFE
Goodliffe is going to be a three-year starter. Every season he has made a monumental impact on the Eagle’s squad. He helped Duchesne take home a state championship in 2021, and they are looking to return to their winning ways next season. To do that, they will need Goodliffe to be at the top of his game. He is a playmaker and can change the momentum of a game in seconds. I am excited to see what he can do as a senior.
NUMBER 12: PEYTON MCCORMICK – JUAN DIEGO
McCormick exploded on to the scene last season. Juan Diego may not have had the success they were looking for last season, but a bright spot was the play of McCormick. He is a ballhawk that is an expert at reading quarterbacks and he is only going to be a junior! We will have to see if he can top his amazing performance in 2022.
NUMBER 11: HUNTER STEVENS – MANTI
Stevens is an excellent defensive back. He puts the clamps on defenders and is capable of snatching the ball from their grasps. He is a freak athlete who is fun to watch. Last season he racked up three picks and could hit as hard as anyone in the classification. The Templars are losing some key pieces, but Stevens will make sure they won’t lose a step.