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10 players to watch during the coming high school football season (10 items)

By , Deseret News

Aug. 11, 2014

The football offseason has been abuzz regarding an extraordinary collection of in-state gridiron talent being looked at by top programs around the country. During camps, combines and other recruiting functions, Utah prep athletes have made their mark — many of them on the national scene.

Now it’s time for these top prospects to make their mark where it matters most — on the field of play.

The high school football season kicks off Aug. 22 with talent on display through mid-November and the state playoffs. Some top athletes may disappoint while others will undoubtedly rise up during what looks to be another exciting Utah prep football season.

Talent abounds statewide, which makes it difficult to pinpoint just 10 prep athletes to watch during the coming season. Nevertheless there are some obvious names to track throughout the season, and if you're lucky enough, attend at least one of their games.

1 of 10. 1. Austin Kafentzis, QB, Jordan

While not the most heralded recruit from the state this year, few would argue Kafentzis isn't the state's most accomplished player.

The Wisconsin commit's 13,919 yards and 149 touchdowns gained both rushing and passing over his already remarkable year are stats that speak for themselves.

Kafentzis already led the Beetdiggers to a state championship in 2012 and will certainly look to end his career winning it all in what looks like a stacked 5A classification.

2 of 10. 2. Osa Masina, LB/RB, Brighton

Masina begins his senior campaign as simply the most highly touted prospect in the state. Rated as a five-star prospect by scout.com, the 6-foot-4, 233-pound linebacker/running back can basically name which school he prefers to play for at the collegiate level.

As for the prep level, Masina led the Bengals to the 5A state championship game with his 1,643 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground and 87 tackles. Masina will again lead the Bengals in their bid for a 5A state championship.

3 of 10. 3. Britain Covey, QB, Timpview

Covey didn't even start last season as the Thunderbird's primary quarterback, but proved early and often that size can be overrated. Standing at just 5-foot-10, Covey electrified the field of play to the tune of 3,154 yards of total offense and 44 touchdowns. He ultimately led his team to a 4A state championship.

Since then, Covey has gained scholarship offers from Utah, Utah State and BYU due to his extraordinary ability to cut on a dime and break a play open at any time. Expect even more refined quarterback play from him this time around and for Timpview to yet again be in the mix for another state championship.

4 of 10. 4. Kody Wilstead, QB, Pine View

Utah's Dixie shouldn't be ignored with a host of great talent led by Pine View's Kody Wilstead. Wilstead, who committed to sign with BYU, led the Panthers with 4,390 yards passing and 36 touchdowns and a berth in the 3A state championship game last season.

Standing at 6-foot-6, Wilstead throws a gorgeous deep ball and has surprising mobility for his stature. Over the summer he's been dicing up competition at 7-on-7 tournaments — indicating potentially bigger numbers gained for his senior campaign.

5 of 10. 5. Porter Gustin, QB/LB, Salem Hills

A four-star prospect by most recruiting services, Gustin would be far and away among the state's top prospects most years, and with good reason. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound athlete consistently showed amazing athleticism for someone of his stature last season and into camps and combines in the offseason.

Gustin will lead the Skyhawks on both sides of the ball and will certainly be a pleasure for anyone to watch throughout the season.
1. WhyAmIhere?
Cottonwood Heights, UT,
Aug. 11, 2014

Quote from the list: "#9 Hunt holds offers from multiple Pac-12 programs along with BYU, Utah and Utah State entering the season."

I guess the editors didn't consider Utah to be included in the multiple Pac-12 programs and needed to include them with a mention of the lowly local in-state schools. Is it that the U just doesn't fit in with the other Pac-12 schools or that they just don't deserve the respect of those prestigious institutions?

2. JDL
Magna, UT,
Aug. 12, 2014

This is a good list of some of the more notable prep football athletes in the state. Many have already committed to a university and some have not but every one of them holds interest for BYU, Utah and Utah State because of who they are. Good luck to all of them and every athlete playing HS ball who were not on the list.

Both of the above posts are petty and not necessary. Brandon was not trying to dis Utah nor did his column have any signs of jealousy.

3. John Locke
Ivins, , UT,
Aug. 12, 2014

Utah HS recruits look out of state once again, and Utah looks out of state to fill its foster. Utah will have to show significant improvement to draw in state talent, or parents will have to travel to see them.

4. hegotgame
Bountiful, UT,
Aug. 12, 2014

It is a pretty good list but does have a couple of glaring omissions just like the top 25 list recently.

5. mufasta
American Fork, UT,
Aug. 15, 2014

@WhyAmIhere?

I think they were trying to draw attention to the fact that Utah was one of the offering schools as they are local and it is most likely of interest to the readers of this local publication. No sinister motives here.........