Fall is closing in fast, and it is time to start breaking down the Beehive State and the best prospects at each position. These rankings are solely based off of my evaluations from spring and last year's game tape. Evaluations are fluid and things will be reevaluated dozens of times between now and the end of the 2014 football season.
Naturally, we will start off be breaking down the top signal callers in Utah. My categories are defined as the following: "Top Tier" which means the prospects in that group are D1 bound. The next group is "Next Level Guys" which means the prospects in that group are not definite D1 scholarship guys, but have a shot and certainly belong at some level of college football. And lastly, is the "Keep An Eye On" which are the guys that have potential to play in college and are on the radar at some level.
Top Tier QBs
1) Austin Kafentzis- Kafentzis has be a force to be reckoned with since he suited up as a freshman and walked away with national accolades. The Wisconsin commit has often times carried Jordan with his arm, legs, and even on the defensive side of the ball. While Kafentzis is a world-class athlete, he is a pass first QB. Gary Andersen and Wisconsin feel like they have a gem in Kafentzis. One thing is for sure, defenses across the Utah prep scene will rejoice once the reign of Kafentzis is done.
2) Kody Wilstead- Wilstead has the physical tools to be special for a long time. At 6-6 215 pounds, Wilstead has a rocket arm and underrated athletic ability. The BYU commit has been known to force a few too many throws, but he has gotten better ever year of high school. The Pine View gunslinger puts up video game like numbers on a week to week basis and is a guy that has the Cougars excited for the future. Wilstead has a legitimate chance to finish his high school career with 10,000 passing yards and 100 career TDs.
3) Jaren Hall- Hall is heading into his junior year at Maple Mountain, but the kid can sling the rock. Hall is slightly undersized, but he has a fantastic arm and is really mobile. Hall had a breakout spring, when he walked away from the UteShoot 7 on 7 tournament with MVP honors. The 2016 stud is emerging on radars across the country.
4) Kahi Neves- Neves may have the most upside in the state, but he has to prove it on the field. Neves recently moved to Utah from Hawaii and he already looks college ready, despite only going into his junior year. At 6-4 1/2 235 pounds, Neves is physically imposing on the field. The Bingham QB won MVP honors at the USC Rising Star camp a few weeks ago and is a safe bet to win some more accolades between now and the end of his football career.
(Kahi Neves- 2016 Bingham QB)
Next Level Guys
5) Robbie Hutchins- Hutchins has an slew of weapons to throw to this year. Brighton is loaded with skill guys and they have the right QB to run the high octane offense. Hutchins is somewhat undersized, but his arm is strong and he puts nice touch on his passes. He had a nice spring at a handful of camps.
6) Jason Money- Money is a good athlete. As a junior, he ran for nearly 1,200 yards and scored 14 touchdowns on the ground. He needs to improve in the air if he wants to play QB at the next level. Money had a few too many interceptions as a junior, after having a great sophomore season. Money has the tools, it will come down to execution for the Spanish Fork QB.
7) Tyler Skidmore- Skidmore doesn't play against the best competition, but he dominates like you would expect a college bound QB should. He is a good competitor and should end up playing QB at some level after high school. Against East and Logan, Skidmore was overwhelmed against stout competition, throwing 10 interceptions combined. This year, Skidmore will need to remain composed against top competition. After seeing him this spring, I think he is ready to take that step forward.
8) Kyle Gearig- The Bingham QB knows how to win. As a junior, Gearig won games with his arm and won games with his legs. He is a good athlete and a smart passer. At the UteShoot and BYU 7 on 7 tournament, Gearig sliced and diced the competition, leading his team to championships in both tournaments. At the Pylon 7 on 7 tournament in Vegas, Gearig lead his Utah team to the finals, taking down a lot of California's best over the weekend. Gearig may have some competition with Kahi Neves, but the job is his to lose.
9) Nick Robins- Robins doesn't play against the best competition, but he is clearly the best on the field on Friday nights. At 6-5, Robins has ideal size and he has a good arm as well. The SUU commit has a nice upside to him, and should do well in the Big Sky.
(Nick Robins- Southern Utah commit)
Keep An Eye On
10) Ammon Takau- The Dixie quarterback is a really good athlete. He may end up playing a different position if he plays college ball, but he does some things really well at QB. Takau is accurate on his passes and does a good job making throws in and out of the pocket. He is a very capable runner as well. Takau is a guy that could climb this list over the next few months.
11) Tayler Katoa- Katoa is only going into his sophomore year, but the 2017 Layton QB has a lot of upside. Katoa has a strong arm and is a great athlete. He has looked good at multiple camps and could end up a BCS QB, but he may be best suited to play tight end or defensive end by the time he is done growing. There aren't many 2017 prospects that have more talent, more work ethic, and a higher IQ than Katoa.
12) Gunnar Legas- The 2016 QB out of Orem is ready to take the reins of the offense this year. Legas has good size and a nice arm as well. There isn't much film to go off of, but Legas could be turning some heads this fall.
13) Caleb Taylor- Taylor is another 2017 QB prospect at Layton High School. Taylor has a tremendous work ethic to go along with good size and speed. At the Mountain West Elite Camp, Taylor showed that he has ability to play at the next level.
(Caleb Taylor-2017 Layton QB)
14) Tanner Smith- The 2016 QB from American Fork had some bright spots as a sophomore and has taken some good strides this off-season. When I watched Smith throw the ball this spring, his arm was strong and accurate. With the weapons he has at AF this year, look for some great numbers for the junior.
15) Justin Miller- Miller transferred into Lone Peak from Irvine (CA) and had some impressive film from his sophomore year. Miller is a name that could be climbing the rankings in a few months.
16) Zack Hodgson- The Olympus QB isn't on many radars right now, but at 6-2 1/2 200 pounds, Hodgson has a good arm and a great ability to run. He is a powerful kid that has some coaches intrigued. Hodgson looked good at Mountain West Elite this spring.