NUMBER 30: BRAYDEN GARDNER – ENTERPRISE
The combination of Bracken and Gardner is going to be a blast to watch. Both fly around the field and make plays. Gardner had a great season in 2022 and will only continue to improve. He is a nasty defender that isn’t afraid to put his body on the line to make a tackle. He has that X factor that is needed to play the linebacker position. You have to have a little bit of crazy in you to be able to take and deliver that kind of contact on the regular. The Wolves smell the blood in the water and coming for that 1A crown. They are a dark horse to win the whole thing.
NUMBER 29: DANE SITTERUD – EMERY
The Emery Spartans peaked at the right time last season and were a young and developing team. This next season they should be at the peak of their powers. Players like Sitterud will return and become a stars. Sitterud is a great player on both sides of the ball. As a backer he is a power hitter that leaves ball carriers wishing to be sidelined. Not only did he hit with power but he also has excellent instincts. Sitterud is smart and can read plays quickly, giving him the ability to meet the carrier in the hole more quickly than anticipated. Keep an eye on the Spartans to attempt to avenge their semi-final loss to the juggernaut San Juan Broncos.
NUMBER 28: CARTER RASMUSSEN – OGDEN
I have a feeling that Rasmussen is going to make a monumental leap this coming season. He was a great underrated linebacker last season that played with a lot of great defensive stars for Ogden. Now that he will not be overshadowed by those graduated players he will blossom into a household name. Rasmussen has great fundamental skills and if he continues to work and train he can parlay that into an all-state caliber player. The Tigers are looking to have a tough rebuilding year next season, but this will allow Rasmussen to be the star of the show and show the state what he is made of.
NUMBER 27: COLLIN BASSETT – SOUTH SEVIER
Bassett is a backer that has been underrated. He was a vital piece of the Rams defense and will continue to be next season. His role will only become more important and his team will depend on him even more. Bassett is a great open field tackler. Once he gets his hands in you, you are going to be on the ground. The Rams defense will be above average, but their offense will struggle. Bassett has all-state potential, but we will see if he reaches his potential.
NUMBER 26: PEARSON JUDY – GUNNISON VALLEY
The Judy experience is an impressive one. The Bulldogs secured the first ever 8-man state championship in Utah, and did it in style. Their defense was top tier due to the efforts of Pearson Judy. Judy was a tackling machine that seemed to be involved in every meaningful defensive play. He showed no mercy and was ruthless in the way he hit. Judy is a name that is not well-known across the state, but should be. Watch the Bulldogs turn some heads as they return back to 11-man football.
NUMBER 25: JETT SALMON – MORGAN
Salmon played for one of the most dominant 3A teams we have seen. The Trojans were masterful at victory. They destroyed every team on their schedule. They were experienced, talented, and deep. Unfortunately, many of their stars are off the graduation leading to a potential rebuild season. Although, the Trojans have a rich history of success and could certainly proceed with their winning ways without skipping a beat. Salmon is one of their talented backers that is returning. With all the other stars departing, it could be a breakout year for the young pass rusher. His stock might rise more this season than any other player in 3A.
NUMBER 24: KYRON BRACKEN – ENTERPRISE
Release the Bracken! Bracken is one of the most explosive athletes in the 1A classification. He is electric on either side of the ball and can make game defining plays. He is a violent runner and a violent linebacker. He is as versatile as they come, and a willing tackler. Bracken can clog up running lanes as well as drop back into coverage. If you could be all-state in two positions, Bracken would be. The Wolves are hunting for a title appearance next season.
NUMBER 23: ETHAN THOMPSON – PROVIDENCE HALL
The Patriots have many defensive players returning that have a chip on their shoulders. Providence Hall turned some heads last season and are looking to finish the job this next season. Thompson is one of those defensive stars that gets to run it back next season. He is a sure tackler and a tremendous leader. Not only can he shed blockers and clog up running lanes, but he can be effective dropping back into coverage as well. Providence Hall is going to be tough to run the ball against come August.
NUMBER 22: KELAN LAYTON – MANTI
NUMBER 21: JUDD NETTO – MILFORD
Netto is a scrapper. Which is one of the best compliments that can be given. He does all of the dirty work that others may hesitate to do. Netto is a tackling machine that if he isn’t making a solo tackle, is helping his teammates drag down the ball carrier. Netto has a tough job ahead of him of making up for the tackles lost by star Quaid Thompson. He is up for the task and has a high ceiling. He hasn’t even skimmed the surface of what he is capable of. The Tigers are going to be a nasty team that will be capable of making a deep playoff run.
NUMBER 20: TAUALOA LAUPAPA – NORTH SANPETE
The freshman sensation did not disappoint last season. This kid has a bright future ahead of him. He is one of the most anticipated players to come out of North Sanpete. Laupapa has the potential to be a multi-all-stater and could possibly play ball at the next level. He has all the fundamental skills and great size. He will explode onto the scene next season.
NUMBER 19: SCOTTY IRONS – CANYON VIEW
One of the teams I am most excited to watch this next season is Canyon View. They have many exciting players that are returning and are hungry for more. Irons is one of those players. He is aggressive and plays like it. He is a violent linebacker that won’t just get you to the ground, but will have intent to let you know about it for days to come. Irons is a beast that is big and strong, but also is quick and can get east to west like a bullet. The combination of Irons and Rushton is going to be electric to watch. The Falcons just might be our favorite going into next season.
NUMBER 18: CORT MOON – RICHFIELD
Moon has been one of the best athletes on Richfield’s football team for years. He is a fantastic threat on offense and a dog on defense. He is a big guy who is the last person you would want to see trying to tackle you between the trenches. He is big and mean and has all the tools to be an even better linebacker. Moon can fill holes quickly and demands double teams almost every play. Even some of the better lineman have a hard time moving Moon. The Wildcats are going to be tough to beat this next season, their defense in particular is going to one of the best in 3A. Richfield has a chance to make a deep playoff run and maybe even secure a spot in the title game. It all comes down to the play of players like Moon.
NUMBER 17: PORTER ANDERSON – JUAB
Anderson has found his way on these lists before. He is going to have to have a strong season come August if the Wasps wish to continue their playoff success. They are losing some dogs to graduation and a generational coach. Anderson has the talent and the will power to step up his game to the point of being able to become an all-state caliber player. The combination of Keagan Hall and Porter Anderson is enough to stall even some of the best offenses in 3A, that is how good they are. Anderson is great at evading blockers and dismantling ball carriers. Football season cannot come fast enough.
NUMBER 16: CUTLER BLONQUIST – NORTH SUMMIT
The linebacking core at North Summit is going to be something to behold. The combination of Blonquist and Sargent is going to be lethal. Blonquist is an excellent tackler that will only get better. He flies around the field and seems to be involved in every big play. He is a scrappy player that lays it all on the line for the sake of his team. Blonquist is the kind of player that coaches love, because he is susceptible to tips and takes them and runs with them. North Summit should make a giant leap forward this next season. They were young last year and will blossom and become one of the best defenses in 1A.
NUMBER 15: LUKE DEGRAFFENREID – MILLARD
Millard was much better than their record last season, and are now dropping to 1A. Players like Degraffenreid will shine even brighter, as they now have an opportunity to make a run at a championship. Deggraffenreid is a great linebacker that’s strength is versatility. He is great at shedding blocks and making tackles. He is also capable of dropping back into coverage and canceling out receivers. Degraffenreid is not afraid to do the dirty work that sometimes goes unnoticed. Watch out for the Eagles as they attempt to make some noise in 1A.
NUMBER 14: HAIDYNN BURDETTE – BEN LOMOND
Yet another Scot to land on our list. Burdette is a hidden gem in Ogden that can finish tackles as well as anyone in the state. He has all of the intangibles a coach could ask for. Hopefully, he will be able to produce enough defensively that the Scots could finish the season with a winning record and a deep playoff run. Burdette has access to some vital resources that will help him continue to improve and get noticed by the necessary people to get recruited. His potential is through the roof if he continues the trajectory he is on now.
NUMBER 13: KHAI MATAGI – SUMMIT ACADEMY
Matagi is going to make some noise next season. He was an all-state running back last season and probably could’ve been a all-state backer as well. He is one of the hardest workers on the team, and will do whatever it takes to help his team win. He is a great athlete with a motor that doesn’t seem to quit. He ended the year with 85 tackles and they all seemed to happen in vital moments of the game. Matagi does play in the Salt Lake area, which should be easy for recruiters to watch him play. Go check out Matagi.
NUMBER 12: TATE GALE – BEAVER
The Beaver defense is absolutely stacked. Not to mention they are falling to 1A and my guess is they will absolutely dominate. Their defense are half all-staters that have a chip on their shoulder after losing to San Juan again in the title game. One of those defensive stars is Tate Gale. Gale is quick and nasty backer that can get from point A to point B in the blink of an eye. He tallied up over 100 tackles and will only improve as this next season approaches. The Beavers WILL win the state championship next season.
NUMBER 11: CADE GINES – DUCHESNE
The Eagles are going to be stacked this next season with loads of returning starters. These teammates have played together for years and it is all coming down to this next season. Gines is one of their key players that can help them accomplish their goal. Gines may be a little undersized, but he makes up for it with hustle and talent. He never quits on the play and packs a punch. Gines is an outstanding two way player, that can do it all. Playing in Duchesne makes it difficult to get recruited to play at the next level, but they are missing out on a hidden gem.