Prep football: 10 players to watch this season

Penei Sewell, Sr., Desert Hills

Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune  
Desert Hills offensive lineman Penei Sewell, Saturday, December 3, 2016.

Fans don’t often go to a game to watch an offensive lineman work, unless that lineman is your son. Sewell is a player worth the trip. The 6-foot-5, 335-pound offensive tackle is ranked as a four-star recruit by both and He’s helped the Thunder win the Class 3AA state title on the last play of the game last year. If you need a couple yards on the ground or time to find an open receiver, he can deliver both.

Zach Wilson, Sr., Corner Canyon

Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
Corner Canyon quarterback Zach Wilson celebrates during his team's 36-6 win over host Roy on Sept. 2, 2016.

The Boise State commit put together an impressive season at quarterback last year, passing for 2,708 yards and 20 scores. He completed 67 percent of his passes for the 6-5 Chargers. The 6-foot-3 Wilson also was the team’s second-leading rusher with 539 yards. Expect a sizable uptick in his production this season under new coach Eric Kjar, who is known to ride a QB as far as possible.

Cameron Latu, Sr., Olympus

(Trent Nelson  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  Olympus tight end Cameron Latu announces he's headed to Alabama during a news conference at Olympus High School in Salt Lake City Friday August 4, 2017.

The defensive end, rated a four-star prospect by Rivals and Scout, recently committed to Alabama. He’s an important part of the Titans’ defensive scheme after leading his team with nine sacks last season. He finished with 65 tackles to help the Titans reach the playoffs as the top seed out of Region 6. He also caught two touchdown passes as a tight end, so he can’t be ignored on offense.

Jackson Cravens, Sr., Timpview

Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
Timpview defensive end Jackson Cravens (#94) is the nephew of Kyle and Cary Whittingham and the cousin of Washington Redskins linebacker Su'a Cravens.

The Thunderbirds defensive end finished with 13 sacks, 20 tackles for loss and 160 tackles during the 2016 campaign. He helped guide the Thunderbirds to the Class 4A state quarterfinal round, where they fell to eventual champion East. The nephew of Utes coach Kyle Whittingham and his own coach at Timpview, Cary Whittingham, is quick off the ball, and if he has a ballcarrier in his sights, he doesn’t miss.;=CMSID

Lolani Langi, Jr., Bingham

Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
Bingham's Lolani Langi (43) celebrates after winning the 5A football championship at Rice-Eccles Stadium Friday November 18, 2016. Bingham defeated Lone Peak 17-10.

The outside linebacker will help anchor the Miners defense as Bingham tries to defend its state title. Sometimes he lines up near the line of scrimmage, but even if the opposition tries to run away from him, he’s fast enough to get back into the play. He’s the younger brother of former Bingham star Harvey Langi, who is working to earn a spot with the New England Patriots.

Dane Leituala, Jr., Taylorsville

Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
Taylorsville's Dane Leituala (1) throws the ball during the game at Alta High School Friday August 19, 2016.

Prepare to be entertained. He isn’t big — he’s listed at 5 foot 11 — but good luck taking him down. He threw for 2,753 yards and 31 touchdowns to help the Warriors reach the Class 5A state quarterfinal round last season. He also ran for 942 yards and seven TDs. He tied the state record for TD passes (eight) and touchdowns responsible for (11) in his team’s loss to Jordan last season. Oh, and he missed three games because of injury last season.

Paul Maile, Sr., East

Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
East offensive lineman Paul Maile poses for a portrait Friday Dec. 9, 2016.

The Leopards are a running machine, and that starts on the offensive line. He helped the Leopards to back-to-back Class 4A state titles. East’s offense set state records for offensive yards (7,481), rushing yards (6,797) and points scored (694) last season. He’s big, strong and mean on the field, much like East’s offense. Watching him work is a treat.

Dallin Draper, Sr., Delta

Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
Delta's Dallin Draper (42) runs past Morgan's Austin Francis (25) during the class 3A semifinal game at Stewart Stadium at Weber State University Thursday November 3, 2016.

Opposing defenses need to stop the 5-foot-10 running back before he gets started. If they don’t, they won’t catch him. He posted the state’s second fastest time regardless of classification in the 100 meters at the state track meet in May. His 10.88-second run only was topped by Lone Peak’s Dominic Bentil, the Class 5A state champ. Hamstring issues slowed down Draper last season, but he still managed to rush for 922 yards. He’ll see a heavy workload for the Rabbits this season.

Cammon Cooper, Sr., Lehi

Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
Lehi quarterback Cammon Cooper poses for a portrait Friday December 9, 2016.

The  6-foot-4 quarterback, a four-star recruit according to Scout and Rivals, likes to throw it. A lot. His 486 attempts, an average of 40.5 per game, last season was the third most all-time in Utah history. His proclivity for the pass is a good thing since he’s committed to Washington State. He threw for 4,059 yards and 38 scores and helped the Pioneers to the Class 5A state quarterfinals last season, where they fell to Bingham. He did add three TDs on the ground, too. His 38 completions vs. Viewpoint last season tied for eighth all-time in state history. Can he top that this season?

Crew Wakley, Sr., Jordan

Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune  
Jordan QB Crew Wakley smiles as he congratulates Isaiah Jackson for a TD catch to give Jordan their 3rd TD, and a 21-0 lead over Desert Hills at the half, Friday, August 19, 2016.

In true Jordan fashion, he is a dual-threat quarterback who can put up huge numbers. Look no further than the Beetdiggers’ 91-83 victory over Taylorsville. He accounted for 11 touchdowns in that contest, which tied the state record with the Warriors’ QB, Dane Leituala, who also was responsible for 11 TDs in the game. Wakley threw for 3,507 yards and 38 scores while rushing for 1,420 yards and 22 TDs last season. He will be playing for a new coach this year after his former coach, offensive guru Eric Kjar, left for Corner Canyon.

from The Salt Lake Tribune


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