There was a great showing from 20 high schools from around Arizona at ASU on Friday night. ASU Coach Todd Graham was in attendance, along with most of his staff who addressed all the players in attendance before the games got under way.
This was my first chance to catch up with the junior quarterback-receiver tandem from Desert Mountain playing against competition and man they didn’t disappoint. Quarterback Kyle Allen is about as impressive a prospect as you will see in Arizona right now. Not only does he have great size and a great arm, watching him lead and conduct his offense would make you think he has been leading this team for years. He already has five offers, including Arizona and UCLA.
Allen’s partner in crime is Mark Andrews at receiver, who is an absolute giant. For a guy his size he runs very well and runs solid routes. He has only been playing football for two years but already has nine Division I offers, most recently from Michigan. Like myself, one person who did not waste anytime to see these two play in the first game of the evening was Todd Graham. As a result, I wouldn’t be surprised if you see ASU throw the house at these two in the very near future.
The defending state champion Desert Vista Thunder look to be bringing back another deep team for 2012. It is hard to gage where the Thunder are in passing league because so much of what they do well is done in the trenches. For example, they did have trouble scoring near the goal line which is normally where they pound the ball on the ground. But when they do pass the ball, they have as athletic a receiving core in the state.
Finally the group that really stood out to me as a pleasant surprise was the Show Low Cougars. It was my first time watching this club without three-time all-state performer Josh Weeks and they did not seem to miss a beat. Those who follow high school football think of a high octane offense when talking about Coach Ricedorf’s squad, but what stood out to me most was their defense. I caught two of their games. The first against one of the top soon to be senior quarterbacks in the state in Ryan Finley (committed to Boise State) and Paradise Valley. The Cougars forced two interceptions and shut out the Trojans in the game. They also gave the defending Division I champions, Desert Vista, all they could handle adding another interception, which in a real game would have been about a 98 yard pick six. Some believe that after the loss of Weeks it might not be the Cougars season but those who sleep on them, could be in for a rude awakening.
For more Arizona High School football, follow Jared Cohen on Twitter at @JaredPros2Preps.