There are plenty of names to look out for this upcoming high school football season. Plenty of established stars will continue their progression and try to make the jump at the next level.
Here are a few guys who jump out to me as playmakers in 2016:
Chase Cord, QB Sunrise Mountain
Chase Cord can pass. Chase Cord can run. I’m sure Chase Cord can catch and really do whatever he wants to help the Mustang offense. Cord enters his senior year with 131 total touchdowns in his career. For a while, I didn’t understand why he wasn’t racking up offer after offer.
Until he did.
Boise State, Colorado, Harvard, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Oregon State, San Diego State and Utah are a few of his offers so far. If he hits remotely close to his junior year numbers, where he racked up nearly 3,200 passing yards, over 1,000 rushing yards and 65 total touchdowns, I’m sure many more offers will come. He’s the Valley’s best-kept secret when it comes to high school football, and I have a feeling he is going to be a steal for whoever gets him at the next level.
(Editor’s note: Shortly after this was posted, Cord committed to Boise State.)
Tehran Thomas, QB Desert Edge
Thomas helped lead the Scorpions to their first state championship in 2015, steamrolling teams with their run-heavy offense. Most of that squad returns in 2016, and the Desert Edge signal-caller will have a fear-inducing offensive line to run behind and his two leading running backs in Rocky Harris and Roshaun Johnson. Thomas capped off 2015 with 1,652 rushing yards, 12th-best in the state, and found the end zone a total of 45 times.
And as you can see below, Thomas has moves when he gets to the end zone, too.
Josiah Bailey, RB/DB Kellis
The Kellis offense relied on the backfield tandem of Anthony Ramirez and Josiah Bailey, who combined for over 2,000 yards last season. Ramirez has moved on, but Bailey will be the go-to guy for the Cougars as he enters his junior season. He was the team’s leading receiver and had over 1,300 all-purpose yards, 15 touchdowns and added an interception as a defensive back. Keep an out for this jack over the next two years.
Austin Jackson, OL/DL North Canyon
Action Jackson is a flat-out monster. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound lineman has picked up offers from Alabama, USC, Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, Texas A&M, Miami, Auburn and Oregon among many, many others. He is the top player in the state for the 2017 class and has garnered the type of attention Andrus Peat did back when he played high school ball. He is so highly-touted, Scout.com’s Allen Trieu put together a 2021 mock draft (easy…it was all for fun) and had Jackson as the third overall pick. That’s the kind of national attention this guy is getting. On top of that, Jackson is a three-sport athlete and one heck of a leader.
Parker Walton, LB Chaparral
Chaparral’s defense was something special last year. While the Firebirds lose Kurt Shughart and Brandon Jamison to the next level, they return quite a bit of talent. Leading the way will be their top tackler in linebacker Parker Walton. He will be in his third year at the varsity level and looking to build upon his stellar juinor year, where he had 96 tackles and nine tackles for loss. Pair him with an experienced secondary of Jack Moyes, Mason Drake and Rashad Carter, and first-year head coach Thomas Lewis will have another top defense in the making.
Jalen Harris, Desert Ridge DE/TE
Harris was a HUGE reason Desert Ridge made it to the Division I state title game last year. Standing at 6-foot-5, 205 pounds, Harris was the team’s leading receiver as a tight end and had 17.5 sacks as a defensive end. Pac-12 programs like Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State and Washington State have all offered Harris, along with the likes of Colorado State, Illinois, Iowa State and San Diego State. Head coach Jeremy Hathcock has a w on either side of the football in 2016.
Tre Bugg, Williams Field DB
Bugg emerged as one of the better cover corners in the state last year with three interceptions and a consistent resume of making life difficult for receivers. The defensive back also made a big impact as a returner in the special teams unit for head coach Steve Campbell. Bugg’s game really transformed entering his junior year after a massive growth spurt, and he will continue to make plays as he continues to get more comfortable in his bigger frame.