NUMBER 10: PARKER SNYDER – SAN JUAN
It all comes down to this, the top ten! We will start our list with the phenom from Blanding, Parker Snyder. Snyder had some big shoes to follow with the departure of Jace Palmer on the offensive side of the ball and Ladd Ivins on defense. He somehow managed to fill both their shoes and then some. He also matched their state championship ring with one of his own. Because this is a defensive post, we will discuss his defense capabilities. Snyder is a playmaker. I saw him live multiple times, and his explosive showtime capabilities were obvious. If Snyder could play on a bigger stage, he would be getting some D1 looks. It is an absolute shame scouts don’t look at these players.
NUMBER 9: JAKE SMITH – NORTH SUMMIT
Like Snyder, Smith plays the quarterback position and is quite good at it. He has leadership attributes and high football IQ, which reveals itself on the defense side of the ball as well. He is brilliant, and because of that, he seems to always be in the right place at the right time. North Summit has some young, exciting pieces, and if they are going to make a run, it’ll need to be soon. I can’t wait to see if Smith can find another level next season.
NUMBER 8: BRAEDEN OSGUTHORPE – SOUTH SUMMIT
Watch out for the Wildcats in August because they are coming for that 2A crown. After losing consecutive seasons before the title game, they are hungry for success. Osguthorpe is one of the returning stars that can help them get there. He is excellent at lurking and being patient enough to jump into action at a precise time. He received the all-star nod last season and will only improve as the season progresses. There is no doubt he belongs on this list and will be looking to be even higher at next season’s end.
NUMBER 7: BAYLOR BLACKBURN – BEAVER
The Beaver defensive secondary is going to be the best from 3A down. They have some excellent returning players that make it near impossible for opposing defenses to sling the pill. Blackburn is one of those players and is an extraordinary athlete. Going over the top on Blackburn is difficult due to his next level speed. With Beaver falling to 1A it will be interesting if they can separate from the pack.
NUMBER 6: LEE MAILE – GRANTSVILLE
Maile is an electric player that the Cowboys are lucky to have. He has big shoes to fill as the Cowboys lose a few of the best defensive stars they have ever had. Maile is just beginning to show signs of stardom, and his ceiling is through the roof. College recruiters must watch Grantsville play to scope out Maile and his excellent coverage skills. Grantsville will have to reload with some younger players next season, but luckily, so will the other perennial powerhouses in 3A.
NUMBER 5: BROCK JACOBSON – NORTH SANPETE
Jacobson is a star in the making. He is a player with a high ceiling, we haven’t quite seen what he is a capable of. He is still young and has so much room for even more improvement. He will be one of the most talented player on the North Sanpete team next season and will have to captain a team that will have some youth. I have no doubt that Jacobson will be up for the task and lead his team to a high seed. He is quick and is excellent in coverage. Excited to see what he is capable of.
NUMBER 4: TAVYN HOLLINGSHEAD – BEAVER
Hollingshead and Blackburn are a dynamic duo that will completely negate any possibility of a passing game. The Beavers pride themselves on their defense, and this upcoming season will not be any different. Hollingshead has perfected his craft, and will pay dividends with his experience and leadership. Beaver is a favorite to win the state title come November. The Beavers are ready to add another trophy to the trophy case.
NUMBER 3: PARKER CRUM – DUCHESNE
Parker Crum is a revelation as an athlete. He has all the tools to be an MVP-caliber player on both sides. He is a game wrecker at the DB position and can completely shut down an entire section of the football field. After starting what will be his third season in a row, he should be positioned to have his best season yet. Last year, Duchesne peaked a little late. If the Eagles want to get back to their title-winning ways, they will need to start the season off with a bang. Crum will need to be the fire that ignites their championship campaign.
NUMBER 2: TATE NELSON – MORGAN
Last year’s Morgan squad does not get talked about enough. They may have been the most dominant team in the state. Tate Nelson, at DB, was an integral piece to one of the best defenses we have seen. He must reach another level next season due to the Trojans losing loads of talent to graduation. I am certain Nelson will be able to make enough plays to cover the gap. Not to mention Morgan has a knack for reloading rather than rebuilding. Nelson can make the opposition’s best receiver disappear, which is a game-changer.
NUMBER 1: AUNESE TUATAGALOA – BEN LOMOND
The pressure on Ben Lomond has never been more extreme than it will be next season. Their expectations are higher than any Scots team in recent memory. They have high-level athletes all over the field. We are talking about D1 athletes. Tuatagaloa is one of them. The best way to describe “Ounce” would be that he is a grinder. He is the very definition of hard work paying off. He puts in the work and trains hard. Mastering the fundamentals is vital to get noticed by college scouts, and Tuatagaloa has done just that.