Catch It Kansas continues to look at the top players in each position group entering the 2019 football season. While some players are standouts at multiple positions, the goal is to list a player just once. Below are the leading WR/TE players, along with five Hybrids – players who have a rare skill set and affect the game in many ways.
1.Daniel Jackson/Phillippe Wesley, Bishop Miege – The state’s No. 2 prospect by 247 Sports, an industry recruiting leader, Jackson is the next in a long line of elite Miege players. Jackson replaced Jafar Armstrong, a state record holder and likely the starting Notre Dame running back this spring after he played wideout at Miege. As a sophomore, Jackson caught 54 passes for 1,270 yards and 16 touchdowns but was significantly injured last year and had no catches.
Phillippe Wesley, though, stepped in as a sophomore and delivered 46 catches for 987 yards and 11 scores. Wesley has earned offers from Arizona State, Baylor, KU and UNLV, according to his 247 page. Miege has captured five straight state titles and is the heavy favorite to win 4A again this year. Tight end Mack Moeller has posted 4.62 seconds laser timed in the 40 and squatted 515 pounds.
2. Quinton Stewart, Salina Central – Stewart vaulted up recruiting boards this spring after several impressive showings, most notably the Sharp Combine in Salina in April. He is the state’s No. 4 recruit, per 247. Stewart earned offers from KU and Oklahoma State and committed to the Cowboys. He helped SC end an 18-game losing streak with a 7-3 mark last year.
Stewart is expected to start at TE/DE this year. He is 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, has posted 4.69 seconds in the 40-yard dash and has more than 1,100 combined pounds on his three core lifts of bench, clean and squat. He delivered 12 catches for 328 yards and six scores despite missing some time with an elbow injury.
3. David Brown, Blue Valley West – A first team all-state 6A selection, Brown had 66 catches for 1,054 yards and 13 scores. BVW went 3-6 but averaged just under 30 points a game. Brown has posted 4.56 seconds in the 40-yard dash and is a three-time state track champion. At a College Football Scouting Combine on Aug. 7, Brown was tied as the third-fastest player with 20.45 miles per hour sprint speed. Brown has offers from Butler, Missouri Western and Minnesota State. In the K.C. area, Olathe West’s Connor Delong had 784 receiving yards.
4. Sloan Hayden, Eudora – Hayden transferred from Ulysses to Eudora to play for his brother, Sean. Sloan stands 6-foot-5, 230 pounds and has committed to Missouri State. He picked offers from Northwest Missouri State, South Dakota and Western Illinois.
5. Preven Christon, Maize – Christon was a top target for Maize quarterback Caleb Grill, an Iowa State basketball signee and the state’s top boy athlete last year. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Christon has received some interest from KU, K-State and North Dakota State, per 247. He was first team all-state 5A with 56 catches for 890 yards and 11 scores. Maize went 10-2 and averaged 40.1 points per contest.
6. Alex Schremmer, Great Bend – The Panthers’ multi-sport star, Schremmer was first team all-state 5A after 60 catches for 1,178 yards and eight scores. GB finished 8-3 and delivered 32.1 points per game.
7. Ty Garrett, Salina South – While Salina South has struggled to a 1-8 mark last year and just five victories total in the last three falls, Garrett has put together an impressive career. Last season, he caught 50 passes to match the school’s single season record. Garrett had 647 yards. He hauled in 13 receptions for 147 yards versus Derby, the state’s top defense. Garrett has started since he was a freshman. As a sophomore, he delivered 31 catches for 376 yards. Terran Galloway is back as a second-year starter for the Cougars. Garrett has FCS/Division II interest.
8.Blake Mitchell, Goddard – Mitchell, a tight end, collected first team all-state 4A with 54 catches for 597 yards and six scores. Mitchell helped Goddard reach the Class 4A, Division I state title game. Mitchell and returning junior quarterback Kyler Semrad should be one of the better quarterback and receiving combinations in the Wichita area.
9. Zion Jones, Wichita Northwest- Jones is among a high number of key City League returners at the skill positions. Jones and NW quarterback Reagan Jones should again post big numbers for the high-flying Grizzlies. Reagan Jones, CIK’s No. 1 preseason quarterback, recently committed to Missouri Western. Zion Jones finished with 30 catches for 603 yards and 10 scores. NW averaged 55.8 points per contest en route to 5A runner-up behind Aquinas. Jones was first team all-City League at receiver. Jones and Jones are the only first team City League skill players back from ’18.
10. Max Bullinger, Bishop Carroll – Bullinger, a senior, was honorable mention all-City League at tight end. Carroll finished 8-3 and averaged 38.8 points a contest. Carroll quarterback Aiden Niedens was honorable mention City League as a sophomore. Bullinger should move into a bigger role after BC’s two standouts (TE Clay Cundiff, RB Jackson Nichols) have graduated. Also in the City League, two junior receivers – Wichita East’s D’ron Jacobs and Wichita Southeast’s Alex King, collected all-league honorable mention honors. East was 3-6. Southeast finished 2-7.
11. Brock West, Maranatha Academy – West and quarterback Nate Burdette form one of the state’s best 1-2 combinations. The Eagles went 6-3 and averaged 46.9 points per game in Eight-Man, Division I. West a finalist for eight-man player of the year for the national association of private schools. West was first team all-state after he caught 60 passes for 1,204 yards and 29 scores. He tied the eight-man single game receiving scores mark with in a Sept. 28 contest against Chase County. West scored a touchdown via receiving, rushing, returning and passed for a score.
12. Kale Schroeder, Sedgwick – Schroeder, a first team all-state 1A selection, paired with his brother, Hooper, a four-year starting quarterback. Sedgwick was third in 1A in scoring offense at 40.6 points per contest. Last season, Schroeder was one of the state’s top big playmakers with 27.4 yards per reception. Overall, he had 28 catches for 768 yards and four TDs.
13. Tyson Struber, Canton-Galva – An extremely rare first team all-state selection as a freshman, Struber could make the top players list as a wide receiver and defensive back. He helped C-G, despite no seniors, improve by six victories to 10-2 and reach the state semifinals. C-G is a significant favorite in Eight-Man, Division I. The 6-2, 180-pound Struber has posted 4.63 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He had 898 all-purpose yards with 42 catches for 572 receiving yards and 14 receiving scores.
Struber was second nationally among eight-man freshmen in receiving yards, according to MaxPreps. West and Struber headline an eight-man group that includes Central Christian’s Adam Hall (37 catches), South Barber’s Gage Cantrell and Emilio Perez (combined 49 catches, 14 scores). As well, Axtell’s trio of Derek Buessing, J.J. Hart and George Volle should be key for the Eagles.
14. Kasen McKee, Pleasanton – Schroeder and McKee headline the pack of 11-man small school receivers. McKee caught passes from his brother last season and helped the Blu-Jays enjoy a breakout year with an 8-2 mark. He was 1A first team all-state with 66 catches for 938 yards and 11 scores. In the southeast, Labette County’s Nathan Smith returns after 634 receiving yards.
Eureka’s Zach Hare turned in first team all-state 2A with had 34 catches for 717 yards and six scores for 2A first team all-state. Oakley’s Ellis Slack delivered 27.5 yards a reception on 23 catches with seven TDs.
15.Ell-Saline trio – Treyton Peterson, Sawyer Kramer and Luke Parks all return for Ell-Saline. Coach Terry King has historically used many skill players in multi-faceted roles. Parks delivered 972 all-purpose yards, which includes 545 rushing, 280 receiving and 11 scores. Kramer and Parks were both second team all-league offense at wide receiver and running back, respectively. Treyton Peterson was earned second team wide receiver.
Top Hybrid players:
1. Ty’Quez Agnew-Whitten, Bishop Miege – Agnew-Whitten, likely a rare four-year starter, does it all, mainly at running back and safety. He is the backup quarterback, returns kicks and punts and can be in the slot or receiver. An 810 Varsity Player of the Year, Agnew-Whitten rushed for six scores, returned a punt for a touchdown and had five catches before he suffered a torn ACL in Week 7.
2. Hayden Brown, Hays High – Brown had one of the more remarkable games of any player last season in a 53-20 victory versus Wichita South. He had five rushing scores and a 77-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Brown, the son of Fort Hays coach Chris Brown, finished third in the WAC with 814 rushing yards – and fourth in receptions (32) and receiving yards (373).
Brown was the only player in Kansas with at least 620 rushing yards and 300 receiving yards, according to MaxPreps’ statewide lists. Among returners, St. James’ Michael Tujague is the only one who comes close to Brown with 409 receiving and 565 rushing yards.
Brown earned second team Sports in Kansas Non-Senior Football Team honors as an athlete. He, Colby’s Calvin Stapp and Liberal’s Syris Dunlap were all second team athlete selections. Stapp earned some sort of all-league honors at all three phases.
3. Rylee Whelchel, Rock Hills – Whelchel is one of eight-man’s most explosive players and held his own against competition from all classes at the Sharp Combine in the spring. Whelchel, a senior, has dealt with some injuries. Still, in the last two seasons, Whelchel has scored 46 touchdowns, with 24 rushing, 18 receiving and four on special teams. He has 1,068 rushing, 767 receiving and 506 return yards in his career.
4. Tayezhan Crough, Gardner-Edgerton – Crough, one of the state’s top hurdlers, was used as a receiver and running back for Hutchinson last fall. Crough has transferred to Gardner-Edgerton and coach Ryan Cornelsen, the former Hutchinson coach. Crough is likely to play in a multi-purpose role. Recruiting services 247sports lists Crough as an Athlete for positioning.
5. Jerred Bieberle, Central Plains – Bieberle was not as well known as many of his teammates on the 13-0 Central Plains squad that won Eight-Man, Division I behind a big senior group. However, Bieberle and Lawson Oeser started and each should emerge as leading players this season.
Bieberle ended the state title game with a pick-six to help Central Plains beat Solomon by the 45-point rule. Last season, he twice earned team player of the game on offense and once on special teams. He rushed 57 times for 319 yards and a score, and caught 24 passes for 334 yards and eight touchdowns.