Utah high school football has been quietly improving as players and coaches move into the state. It has found its teams creeping up into the national Top 25 as well as secondary teams fighting for spots in the HSFB100.
Entering 2015 there could be two — potentially three — teams from the state to fight for a spot.
Top team, Bingham (South Jordan), is expected to be good but some believe it has had the gap at the top closed this year by Brighton (Salt Lake City).
NationalHSFootball.com is working its way through the state-by-state rankings in advance of its HSFB100 National release set for release on Aug. 1-4. Utah is the second major West Regional state to be previewed following Arizona on Tuesday.
Bingham will start atop the state rankings after finishing at No. 18 in the HSFB100 last season with overtime setbacks against Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV) and Booker T. Washington (Miami, FL).
The Miners will be breaking in a new head coach as Dave Peck has stepped aside and it will also have a new quarterback and several fresh faces on defense.
Read below for the initial state placements and some insights to the state as we see it entering the summer. For coverage of the state, visit PrepsUtah.com.
|1||Bingham (South Jordan)||QB Keaton Torre moves in from Oklahoma.|
|2||Brighton (Salt Lake City)||Neves to Fehoko will be too much for many teams.|
|3||Timpview (Provo)||Best team in 4A has turnover to overcome.|
|4||Sky View (Smithfield)||Moves up to 5A, will depth lack?|
|5||Pleasant Grove||5-5 last season but brings back a lot.|
|6||Roy||4A runners-up also moving to 5A.|
|7||Herriman||Third in region, seventh in state. Wow.|
|8||East (Salt Lake City)||Strong up front could play deep into playoffs.|
|9||Wood Cross||Pick for No. 2 in Class 4A after 11-2 in 2014.|
|10||American Fork||Lost a lot from 2014 finals team. Reload?|
BREAKING DOWN THE OHIO TOP 15
CAN ANYONE DOWN BINGHAM?
|The Miners have claimed the top spot in the state for four of the last six seasons and will start with the pole position entering 2015. If there is a team that can knock it off it will be Brighton. Bingham has won the last three contests and the play have become more decisive each time. This year, however, Brighton may have the better of the star power and with a new coach at Bingham it could swing that balance of power. Quarterback Kahi Neves is one of the top players in the state after moving to Utah from Hawaii. He initially enrolled at Bingham but transferred to Brighton. He will be armed with Simi Fehoko as the best receiver in the state and two-way player Jackson Kaufusi lining up at running back, receiver and in the secondary giving the team four of the Top 15 players in the state when factoring in defensive back Drew Jensen as well. If a team is going to knock of Bingham in the state it will be Brighton — and it is likely locked into a preseason HSFSB100 ranking.|
WHO IS THE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER IN CLASS 4A?
|There is talk that Maple Mountain (Spanish Fork) could be a player for a state title this season and if it is going to make a run in Class 4A it will be because of quarterback Jaren Hall. Hall is a 6-foot, 190 pound passer that can run and pass. He is already committed to BYU and has had a strong summer circuit, showing out at the Rivals Camp Series being named the No. 12 player the evaluators saw this summer at his position. The school has not been around long — and only won four games last season — but it a turnaround is expected. If Hall is out then don’t expect too much, if he leads the way a deep run will be interesting.|
WHO IS THE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER IN CLASS 5A?
|Sticking with quarterbacks and at the 5A level it will be on the shoulder of Keaton Torre at Bingham. The 6-foot-2 prospect moved to the school early in the calendar year and has had plenty of time to get to know his new teammates. The program tends to give its quarterbacks plenty of help with a steadily pounding of the ball in the running game, however it has called on passers to win some games in more high-profile situations. Bingham has Herriman, Bishop Gorman, Cottonwood, and Brighton in the regular season and that will challenge the team.|
WHAT ARE SOME SLEEPER TEAMS?
|Lone Peak had a losing season in 2014 and was blown out in a few of those games but it has a strong-armed quarterback in Justin Miller and that gives any team a chance to make noise. Lone Peak has dropped its win total each of the last four years dropping from 14, to 10, 8, and then just 5 so an improvement is expected and potentially a return to the playoffs. Another name to look for is Corner Canyon (Draper). The team is only in its third season but went 12-1 last year and brings back defensive end Keaton Bills as a disruptive force for the Chargers. The team played in a weaker league and dominated the competition so knowing where to put expectations is hard at this point.|
PREDICT SOMETHING CRAZY
|American Fork — which made it to the state finals last season — will miss the playoffs. The Caveman lost a lot of talented two-way players from last year and despite having the program moving in the right direction under Aaron Behm it will lose to Herriman and Pleasant Grove in the region. It could be in for a battle against Corner Canyon in the middle of September and drop the game with Brighton to open the month. The young team will be tough outs in every one of those contests but we expect regression after the program has improved from 3- to 6- to 11-wins.|