|Brad Strauss. Lawrence Journal World.|
Player Rating are subject to change on a weekly basis.
1. Brad Strauss, Quarterback, Lawrence
Strauss, last season's Offensive Player of the Year, starts 2012 as the top rated player in the Sunflower League. What's there to like about Strauss' game? Well, nearly everything. This year will be his third running Lawrence's high-powered spread attack, and you'll also see him lining up on the defensive side of the ball at the cornerback position.
2. Gabe Guild, Running Back, SM South
It's unfair to put these sorts of expectations on a player but I'll just say the number everyone is thinking: 2,000. As in rushing yards. As in the only players to have rushed for over 2,000 yards in a single season in the league since the year 2000 have been Simone Award winners Darren Sproles, Maurice Mack, Jim Bouknight and James Franklin. Guild churned out 1,641 yards in only nine games last season. Give him a clean bill of health and a playoff berth and 2,000 rushing yards is very much in the realm of possibility this year.
3. Jordan Darling, Quarterback, SM East
SM East is the most past-happy offense in the league and their style is perfect for a gunslinger like Darling. His measurements (6-4, 235) and pedigree (a combined 26 games of starting quarterback experience in Ohio and Texas) make him the perfect candidate to lead the darkhorse Lancers to glory this year. I'm really excited to see what kind of numbers he can put up, given the fact that SM East's previous two quarterbacks (John Schrock and Dakota Collins) did exceptionally well passing the football. The key however, is truly staying healthy. Neither Schrock nor Collins played their entire senior seasons due to major injuries.
4. Kyle McFarland, Quarterback, Free State
McFarland could quietly be among the top two or three all-around players in the league. His rangy size (6-3, 185) made him one of the top quarterbacks and defensive backs last year. As far as 2012 goes, I can tell you one thing--a monstrous season is brewing from the talented senior. A big year from McFarland could signify even bigger things from the Free State program. Stay tuned.
5. Jason Randall, Running Back, Leavenworth
This five spot is always a toss-up but I elected to go with Randall, who as a junior enters his third season as a varsity starter. He's not huge so I don't want to label him as a bruiser, but he's also not the Dee Bell or Devin Cummings type of player who can flat out burn you with his quickness and agility. Honestly, I expect Randall to have a big season and you'll all have to make your own judgements on his running style--because he's going to have plenty of highlight type runs to be used for evaluation.
Honorable Mention: Frank Seurer, Olathe South; Braden Smith, Olathe South; Remington Whitley, Olathe South; Hayden Frazier, Olathe East; Brett Sterbach, SM West; Matt Elliott, Olathe South.