|Jason Randall. LVfootball.com|
Player ratings are subject to change on a weekly basis.
1. Jason Randall, Running Back, Leavenworth
In three years as Leavenworth's starting tailback Randall has amassed 2,275 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. Nobody would be shocked if he came close to or surpassed those numbers in his senior season alone. Randall will be the focal point of the Pioneers' offense in 2013, and if you haven't been impressed with him yet just wait and see what he's able to accomplish as a senior.
2. Joe Dineen, Quarterback, Lawrence Free State
A returning Elite Eleven member, Dineen is set up to have a colossal season for the Firebirds in his third year as a varsity starter. Year after year, Free State quarterbacks put up big numbers in the team's zone-read spread. Dineen might be the most talented athlete to man the quarterback spot under head coach Bob Lisher. In addition to his quarterback duties, Dineen will also be the starting safety for the Firebirds, so he'll rarely leave the field.
3. Venus Triplett, Running Back, Olathe North
Based on the history of Olathe North running backs in Gene Wier's system, it would be reasonable to estimate that Triplett will record somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 rushing yards this year, assuming he stays healthy. As a sophomore he totaled 981 yards splitting carries, but this year he'll be the center of the Eagles' attack offensively, and it should be fun to watch.
4. Andre Maloney, Defensive Back, SM West
A returning Elite Eleven member, Maloney combined for 1,211 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior. He's probably the most versatile player in the league, considering he'll be expected to play cornerback, wide receiver, run the Wildcat quarterback, and return kicks and punts for the Vikings this fall.
5. Ra'Keim Abdul, Defensive Back, SM South
Abdul, like Maloney and Dineen, will be expected to fill a variety of roles for his team. With the loss of Gabe Guild to graduation, don't be surprised if Abdul sees an increased role carrying the ball offensively. On defense he'll be expected to lead the Raiders' from his safety position in the secondary.
Honorable Mention: Braden Smith, Olathe South; Austin Chambers, SM West; Chase Gitlin, Olathe Northwest; AJ Verdini, SM West; Jalen Branson, Olathe East; Jimmie Swain, Olathe North.
*To help with clarification, I've changed the named of the weekly player ratings from "Top 5 Player Ratings" to "MVP Ratings." In the past there's been some confusion about what exactly the ratings were measuring -- best player, most valuable player, best stats? The ratings are essentially a weekly look the league's most valuable player to that point in time, similar to the way the Heisman Trophy is judged. On that note, I'm certainly not opposed to an offensive or defensive lineman finishing as the league's MVP, it's just that we haven't seen a scenario play out in which a lineman proved to be the league's most valuable player. If it's ever going to happen, with the stockpile of talented lineman the league has returning, this will be the year.