Monday, August 11, 2014

Sunflower League Player Rankings by Position

Olathe North's Venus Triplett. 810 Varsity.
The following is a completely subjective look at some of the top returning players in the Sunflower League. As is the usual disclaimer, top talents emerge every fall who were relative unknowns heading into the season. There are also plenty of talented players who aren't listed below simply because I only included a top five at each position.

1. Cole Murphy, Olathe North
Combined for 2,209 yards of total offense and 19 touchdowns in '13.
2. Jake Seurer, Olathe South
Increased emphasis on accuracy could produce big senior season.
3. Bryce Torneden, Free State
Versatile athlete gained comfort on the varsity as a starting cornerback in '13.
4. Will Schneider, SM North
Impressive freshman production (1,478 passing yards, 12 touchdowns) should improve.
5. Landry Hodges, Leavenworth
Third-year starter has the necessary experience to rally the Pioneers into the playoffs.

Running Backs
1. Venus Triplett, Olathe North
Powerful and compact senior seeks to become Olathe North's seventh Simone winner.
2. Jalen Branson, Olathe East
League's fastest running back will be heavily leaned on to produce big numbers this fall.
3. Duron Lowe, SM Northwest
Strong and athletic running back will get the lion's share of the carries for Cougs.
4. JD Woods, Lawrence
Agile tailback who should excel in Lawrence's zone-read schemes.
5. Tarik Watson, SM West
Rushed for 618 yards and three touchdowns after becoming starter midway through '13.

Wide Receivers
1. Nick Perez, SM North
Led the Sunflower League in receiving yards (843) and receiving touchdowns (8) in '13.
2. Isaiah Ross, Leavenworth
Fourth-year starter can stretch a defense as well as any receiver in the league.
3. Alec Dean, SM East
Big target at 6-4, 210 pounds, who saves his best moments for the brightest spotlights.
4. Isaiah Macklin, SM West
Speedy athlete may become the league's best slot receiver this fall.
5. Mauricio Chio, Olathe North
Steady receiver has been a staple on the Sunflower League scene last two seasons.

Tight Ends
1. Josh Moore, Olathe North
Physical specimen who should be able to dominate as a blocker and pass-catcher.
2. Coleman Clanton, Olathe South
Prototypical tight end will be the Falcons top target in the passing game.
3. Price Morgan, Lawrence
Heralded junior should see offensive touches increase substantially.

Offensive Lineman
1. Scott Frantz,  Free State
Sunflower League's best offensive lineman has no problem blocking to the whistle.
2. James Wooldridge, SM East
Mobile tackle who plays and moves more like a tight end than an offensive lineman.
3. Devin Price, SM East
Athletic guard who plays low and is excellent at putting his hat on a defender.
4. Mitch Holsinger, Olathe Northwest
Third-year starter who could be the best offensive lineman among the Olathes.
5. Tyler Bacon, Olathe North
Strong left tackle who can drive defensive lineman into the secondary.

Defensive Lineman
1. Kyle Ball, SM East
Sunflower League Defensive Player of the Year returns after 28 tackles for loss.
2. Amani Bledsoe, Lawrence
Just scratching his potential, big-time junior holds four FBS offers.
3. Marcel Williams, Olathe North
Mobile and strong, will be key in anchoring D-line in front of outstanding linebackers.
4. Josh Moore, Olathe North
Size and speed will make him one of the league's elite pass rushers.
5. Carter Pembridge, SM West
Tough-nosed defensive end will look to bounce back from an ACL tear last fall.

Lawrence's Price Morgan. LJWorld.
1. Marcel Spears, Olathe North
Tenacious defender is a tackling machine, with a 37-inch vertical and 4.6 forty.
2. Adam Harter, Olathe Northwest
League's best outside linebacker is athletic enough to cover the entire field.
3. Price Morgan, Lawrence
Savvy junior showed a nose for the football in '13 and brings toughness to young team.
3. Jesse Kendricks, Olathe North
Solid tackler (118 tackles in '13) excels at moving laterally to chase down ballcarriers.
5. Stephen Miller, Olathe South
Dependable linebacker who will be at the core of the Falcons' defensive efforts.

Defensive Backs
1. Isaiah Simmons, Olathe North
Eagles' best defensive back since Dustin Moomau already holds multiple FBS offers.
2. Jake Seurer, Olathe South
Hard-hitting safety who plays like a linebacker in run support.
3. Chaz Burgess, Olathe North
Wiry senior might play the ball out of the air better than anyone in the league.
4. Joel Spain, Lawrence Free State
Could be the league's best defensive back in one-on-one coverage situations.
5. Charley White, SM East
Savvy secondary athlete who plays excellent coverage over the top.

1. Chris Diddle, Olathe East
Took home First Team All-Sunflower League honors as just a sophomore in '13.
2. Jake Boyce, Leavenworth
Connected on four of six field goal attempts last season.
3. Ellis Springe, Lawrence
LHS can attest to the benefits of having a (good) kicker, perhaps more than anyone.

Honey Badgers (players with a knack for creating turnovers)
1. Ethan Wall, Olathe Northwest
Rangy defensive back found a way to get in on nine turnovers in '13.
2. Marcel Spears, Olathe North
Top returning linebacker was in on seven turnovers and two blocked kicks last fall.
3. Adam Harter, Olathe Northwest
Athletic linebacker created five turnovers and a defensive touchdown as a junior.
4. Isaiah Simmons, Olathe North
Converted five interceptions to 157 yards and one touchdown as a sophomore.
5. Isaiah Ross, Leavenworth
The quickest secondary player in the league has snagged nine career interceptions.

Highlight Reels (the league's most exciting players to watch)
1. Venus Triplett, Olathe North
Eleven of 25 rushing touchdowns scored in '13 came on runs of 30 yards or longer.
2. Bryce Torneden, Free State
Dynamic dual-threat will be league's toughest quarterback to game plan around.
3. Jalen Branson, Olathe East
Tailback can turn the corner on any defense with legitimate speed in the 4.4 range.
4. Isaiah Ross, Leavenworth
Has shown the ability to produce big play after big play the past three seasons.
5. Marshall Bland, SM South
Jitterbug is tiny at 5-6, 155 pounds, but might be the league's most elusive back.

Potential Sleepers (under-the-radar but could have major impact in 2014)
1. Chase Latscha, Olathe South
Offensive tackle has FBS interest; finally out from under Braden Smith's shadow.
2. Shane Hofer, Lawrence Free State
Coming off an impressive junior campaign, could take his game to another level.
3. Alan Clothier, Lawrence
Quarterback friendly offense could mean a big season's in store for the signal-caller.
4. Anthony Hunt, Leavenworth
Should build on excellent junior year to be one of league's outstanding defenders.
5. Brycen Hinson, Olathe East
Hawks' offense will be geared towards running behind Hinson.
6. Ned Bingaman, SM South
Could place himself among the league's best defensive lineman by mid-season.
7. Sam Huffman, SM East
Will tote a big workload with the graduation of backs Luke Taylor and Mitchell Tyler.
8. Jeighlon Cornell, Olathe North
At 6-0, 195 pounds, has the tangibles to be league's most physical cornerback.
9. Zach Gerber, SM South
Has potential for big senior season after injury shortened junior campaign.
10. Michael Queen, Olathe East
Big defensive end prospect has garnered chatter; will be put to the test this fall.


Austin Lockwood said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Olathe North might have the best O-Line overall going into this season. Tyler Bacon is definitely the biggest and strongest but I believe each guy is capable of taking on any d-lineman in the league. Center might be the only question as they have to replace three year starter Sean Ceballos.

SMEaster1214 said...

A couple of things here...and let me first say, great job, as always, Eli.

I only really know, we any amount of certainty, about the Lancers so I won't comment on any other team...
The offensive line for SME should be very good, at or near the top of the league. It returns all 5 starters from a team that averaged 250 rushing yards per game. and that was on the heels of literally learning an entire new (and entirely different) offense during the summer. I look for them to be the best unit on the team.
Eli mentioned Sam Huffman as a sleeper and i couldn't agree more but i'd also include Jackson Gossick. While neither may have the speed of Tyler or the raw power of Taylor or Carter, they each had very impressive yards/carry averages last year and could become another 2-headed monster for league defenses to deal with.
Besides, Ball, the other D lineman, Sam Williams, had a solid year, and along with the potential emergence of Jr. Jack Carter in the middle should make the D line a solid unit as well.

I literally can't wait for Sept. 5th!

Free State Fan said...

Like the SMEaster, I can't really comment in depth outside of FS. Everyone on the list should feel honored about being mentioned. Congrats to all!

Easy to see why only a few FS guys are listed. Not many have had the chance to produce at the varsity level yet, so most would fit in the sleeper category. I see some solid running and d-backs, receivers and lineman, especially, that will have great seasons. Looking forward to seeing the FS Boys of Fall! Go 'Birds!

Anonymous said...

As a former sunflower league player and now fan. I believe Callaghan and the Vikes will be ready for the season. These seniors now got a taste of what being a champion feels like as sophomores. The boys in black always seem to play their best when they are the underdog so I would not count them out. Just two years ago they sat in a similar spot and ended up winning a title. The senior class is thin but has great talent and leadership especially from duel threats like Macklin and Goldston. A few questions will need answering but good ol Timmy will have them figured out after the first three weeks mark my words. Callaghan will use Andre not only as an example for years to come but as motivation especially this year I bet. Overall though I am excited to see what Free State,O North, and Smeast have to offer. As always the league has great talent and exceptional hype built around the upcoming season! Best of luck to all schools and athletes on a great year and I hope that everyone has a healthy and injury free season. GO VIKES! #TheBoysOfFall