Sports in Kansas: 25 Wide Receivers to Watch for 2018

Billy Bartlett of 5A BV Southwest is back for his senior year. (Photo: BVSW Football)
By: Sports in Kansas - Chet Kuplen
Aug 25, 2018

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Several WRs return after having big seasons in 2017. Check out who to watch in 2018. This lists main purpose is to represent the entire state from every class. Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we will do this position by position. Chet Kuplen, Managing Partner of Sports in Kansas, and Ben Mitchum, Sports in Kansas contributor, compile lists and evaluate players every year for every position which help compile this finalized list. This is not a recruiting list or prospect list and players are not ranked or in any special order.This list is powered by Rack Performance and Nex-Tech Wireless. Be on the lookout for our postseason honors after the 2018 season on who will be the Top 100 seniors in Kansas and who will make the Sports in Kansas All Non-Senior Team. If you ever have a player that you think we should take a look at be sure to DM @sportsinkansas or sportsinkansas@gmail.com

25 Wide Receivers to Watch for 2018

Blue Valley North

The top quarterback in the state plays at Blue Valley North in Graham Mertz so BV North recievers/tight ends get a combo pick here. Cameron Burt, who will be more of a tight end and figure into Dylan Freberg’s spot, will be looked upon heavily as well Danny Nam, Erik Roberts, Shawn Henderson and Deland McCullough.  Amauri Pesek-Hickson could also get some catches out of the backfield and is new to football as a standout basketball player. McCullough is a FBS commit to Miami (OH) as an ATH/DB. Be on the lookout for Burt who will also make the TE list. Last year BV North had five receivers with over 350 yards and two over 1,000 so figure all of the above to have big years.

Dre’Lyn Carroll WR, (Schlagle) Sr.

Carroll earned first team all-league honors for Bonner last season. He’s now transferred to Schlagle. They’ve also added transfer RB Jaylin Richardson. 

Logan Talley WR 5'10”, 175-pounds (Mill Valley) Sr.

Talley was a first team non-senior pick for Mill Valley as a junior last fall. He should be one of the top recievers in the EKL for 2018 and in 5A. Talley registered 1,254 yards on 91 receptions last fall with 11 scores.

City League GWAL

There’s a lot of unknown and a chance for several to take over in this league as just about everyone graduated from the receiver position. Mason Baalmann, Gunner Lynch, and Cade Becker of Carroll are key ones to watch for Carroll although Becker could figure to play quarterback. AJ King of Wichita Southeast is one of their top returnees and features nice speed. Damian Wells is back for Wichita South and also has the speed to take it to the house. Kale Patterson could figure into be the top threat for Wichita Northwest after they lost their two all-league receivers to graduation and utility back Roy Jones could figure into some receptions and really could be a top of the line WR if needed. Of course, the league does return some very quality tight ends (Clay Cundiff – Carroll, Jacob Schmitz – Kapaun) that will be listed on that list at a later date.

 T.J. Williams-Bey WR 6’2”, 170-pounds (Aquinas) Sr.

When Aquinas chooses to throw this is who they will likely go to. They won’t throw a lot but when they do its usually to the endzone. However this year with Tate Raboin at the quarterback position, not a typical flexbone quarterback of Dreiling, you could see them utilize his arm with weapons like Williams-Bey. They also have Theo Grabill who is just a sophomore and has a Nevada offer.

Billy Bartlett WR 6’0”, 160-pounds (Blue Valley Southwest) Sr.

Bartlett was near the leaders in receiving yardage last fall with 974 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2017 across the state earning Non-Senior honors from Sports in Kansas. His quarterback doesn’t return due to injury and baseball in last years starter Will Eldridge, a division one baseball prospect.

Tye Davis WR 6’3”, 200-pounds (Garden City) Sr.

He had 39 receptions for 562 yards and six touchdowns last year in just nine games for the Buffaloes. Expect him to be a key part of the offense in 2018. Davis features great size at 6’3” and 200 pounds.

Drew Ellis WR 5’9”, 160-pounds (Mulvane) Sr.

Ellis had a breakout year in 2017 as a junior and also had an all-state caliber year in basketball for the Wildcats. Gone is Jayden Price at the QB position to NDSU but Ellis will be depended on heavily for the Mulvane offense in 2018.

Marshall Faurot WR/ATH, 6’1”, 170-pounds (Scott City) Sr.

Faurot may be the top athlete on this list. He’s a Division I decathlete recruit that has a 16’0” pole vault, a 6’6” high jump and runs sub 15 in the 110 hurdles. Faurot is also one of the top defensive backs in the state and could have a breakout year at wide receiver if they want to throw the ball some. Marshall Faurot and Wyatt Hayes, another Scott City standout, are two of the top multiple sport athletes in the entire state.

Keenan Garber ATH/WR 6’1”, 175- pounds (Free State) Sr.

Garber, a Kansas State commit with 4.4 speed, should be one of the best two way players in the state. There’s a lot you can do with him with his athleticism and he returns to leaded a loaded cast of Free State players in 6A.

Kale Irwin WR (Labette County) Sr., Patch Loadholtz (Parsons), DaVontae Yates WR (Parsons)

There are a lot of good athletes at Parsons and Labette County this year. Even though the two probably don’t like being mentioned in the same group, we highlight the area with a combo pick here of mutltiple receivers that could have breakout years. Irwin had nearly 500 yards receiving last fall as a junior on a loaded cast of recievers that won the SEK League. He will be the top target this year for Iowa State QB commit Easton Dean, so you will see a big year for Irwin. Loadholtz had over 700 yards receiving and eight touchdowns on 41 receptions last fall. He will join with DaVontae Yates and Dariq Williams to form one of the better receiving corps in 3A. Parsons will have to elevate its line play to give its playmakers a shot, but there’s no question they have the athletes to burn a lot of defensive backs in 2018. DaQuan Johnson, a junior ATH is also back at ATH/quarterback, and is one of the top multiple sport athletes in 3A. Gage Freiss also graded out well over the summer and will be a force in the backfield. Parsons also has Zeke Lyons and Nolan Proehl who each had over 200 receiving yards last year. Also factor in Dariq Williams, who is one of the best junior basketball players in the state along with DaQuan Johnson. Parsons is loaded at the skill spots.

Tyler Kahmann WR 6’3” 200-pounds (Campus) Sr.

Kahmann is one of the better multiple sport athletes in the bigger classes of Kansas. He had a breakout year at receiver last year in catching balls from Federico Harvey Jr. in leading Campus back on the winning track. In comes Reagan Jones from Andover Central so expect his top target to be Kahmann in 2018. Quinton Hicks is also back at the tight end spot, so be on the lookout for him on that list. He’s also one of the top linebackers in the state.

Wyatt Heiman WR 6’3”, 170-pounds (Silver Lake) Sr.

Heiman had a breakout sophomore year but didn’t see as much production last year but has had nearly 1,000 yards receiving in his career. Mason Griffin is back at the quarterback position and a lot of the other production has graduated so expect a big year for the Silver Lake senior. Lake is in the new 2A this season and will be one of the key teams as they always are under legendary coach C.J. Hamilton.

Billy Conaway WR 6'0”, 200-pounds (Shawnee Mission North) &Noah Laird WR 6'0”, 180-pounds (Shawnee Mission North)

There’s no secret new head coach Zach Rampy will like to get the ball to a couple of his studs in Conaway and Laird. Expect the two to be two of the better receivers in the Sunflower League this season. Both have been impact players since they stepped foot in high school playing with record breaker Will Schneider a few years ago.

J. Michael Sturdivant WR 6’1” 165-pounds (Blue Valley Northwest) Soph.

Not many freshman or for that matter sophomores have opportunities to play in the EKL but that wasn’t the case for Sturdivant as a freshman last fall for then first year head coach Clint Rider. He had a big freshman campaign in which he caught 31 balls for 344 yards and three touchdowns over seven games. He should be the go to guy this season for the Huskies.

Javier Gomez WR (Elkhart) Sr., Elian Prieto WR (Elkhart) Sr., Kale Schroeder WR (Sedgwick) Jr.

1A has some key receivers back so we will go with a combo pick here. Gomez will be one of the top target this year for Lane Whisennand and Elkhart. However they are a run first team the squad had over 1,300 yards passing last fall. Expect Gomez to be a major threat for the Wildcats that features nice size at 6-1 and 195 pounds. Prieto is also back for the Wildcats and is more of a speed threat that averaged close to 40 yards per catch last season. Expect a big play when he touches the ball. Schroeder is back after having over 700 yards receiving last year as a sophomore and will be the top target for his brother Hooper who threw for over 2,000 yards as a junior last fall. He will be depended on heavily to replace Brayden Francis.

Hunter Koch WR 5’10”, 160-pounds (Axtell)

Can’t have a list without 8-man pick and Hunter Koch gets that nod. Koch was among the leaders in the 8-man ranks last year 1,058 yards and 20 touchdowns in 10 games. He caught 71 balls for an average of 14.9 yards per catch.

Daniel Jackson WR 6’0”, 180-pounds (Miege) Jr., Phillippe Wesley WR 5’11”, 165-pounds (Miege) Soph.

Jackson is an elite level receiver with double digit FBS offers after a huge sophomore campaign in which he finished second in all-classes of Kansas with 1,270 yards as a junior, earning Sports in Kansas Non-Senior honors. Phillipe Wesley is a sophomore 2021 recruit on the rise that holds an Arizona State offer. Sam Pedrotti is penciled in to be the Miege quarterback and with guys like Jackson, Wesley to throw to that will be a good transition into starting to replace record breaking quarterback Carter Putz. Throw in Brison Cobbins and TyQuez Agnew-Whitten who could also catch a lot of balls out of the backfield for the Stags and you have an unstoppable force on offense.

Nolan Veenis, WR 6’4”, 165-pounds (Maize South), Preven Christon WR, 6'0" 185-pounds (Maize)

Veenis had nearly 500 yards receiving as a junior last fall for the Mavericks who finished 9-2. He will be depended on heavily to help Maize South compete at the top of the AVTCL III. Christon is a prospect on the rise for Maize and should have a big year with Caleb Grill at quarterback. 

Preston Williams WR 6’2”, 180-pounds (Washburn Rural)

Williams was a second team All Non-Senior pick from Sports in Kansas last fall. Expect a big year for the top receiver in the Topeka area.

Cameron Green WR (Blue Valley) Sr. & Shane Bergemann WR (Blue Valley) Sr.

Green had over 600 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior for Blue Valley last fall. He should be one of the top returning receivers in the EKL for 2018. Begemann is also back after having a big junior year with over 400 yards in which he also earned EKL honorable mention with Green.

Dylan White WR 6’2”, 175-pounds (Pittsburg) Sr.

White is one of the fastest players in the state registering sub 4.5 40-yard dash this summer. He has an offer at the FCS level from Southeast Missouri and had over 600 yards receiving last year as a junior, earning second team Sports in Kansas Non-Senior honors. Pittsburg also has Dylan Jordan, an all-state caliber linebacker, that they can go to the air too but they will depend heavily on their running back Brandis Evans to make most of the noise in 2018.

Chandler Wiard WR/CB 6’2”, 155-pounds (McPherson) Sr., Gabe Hoover WR 6’2”, 170-pounds (McPherson) Sr., Tayln Huff 6’0”, 165-pounds (McPherson) Sr.

McPherson has one of the best quarterbacks in the state back in Kyler Hoppes and a good thing is he returns all of his favorite targets. Hoover led the group with 541 yards while Wiard and Huff each had at least 440 yards last season. The three combined for 17 touchdown receptions a season ago.

Will Sharpton, WR 5’8” 165-pounds (St. James Academy) Sr.

Sharpton isn’t big but he creates space with his speed and is a sure handed deep threat for the Thunder. He was honorable mention in the states best league lst year and will be the top target for Jake Moellers, a quarterback that you will hear a lot about in 2018.

Jacob Backus WR 6’0”, 160-pounds (Marysville) Sr.

Backus was not only one of the top return guys last year for 3A runner-up Marysville he also had over 900 receiving yards for all-state QB Jack Blumer, now a punter at Kansas State. Backus had 79 receptions for seven touchdowns in 2017 over 14 games for the Bulldogs.

Others to Watch:

DeAndre Washington – Wellington, Tajahn Thomas – Coffeyville, Peyton Jensen – Andover Central, Quinn Neuenswander – Jerfferson West, Calvin Stapp – Colby, Matt Baumgartner – Nemaha Central, Hunter Clift – Bluestem, Elijah Daughty – Rossville, Michael Moreno – Hiawatha, Reid Jasper – Troy, Darian Ratzlaff – Hillsboro, Trenton Plinsky – Osage City, Charlie Skidmore – Sacred Heart, Ellis Slack – Oakley, Blake Harnden – A&A, Karson Waters – Macksville, Easton Irsik – Ingalls, Maitland Witlse – Otis Bison, Kasen McKee – Pleasanton, Jacob Walker – Mulvane, Dillon Byrne – Silver Lake, Damion Wells – Wichita South, Tryee Watkins – Arkansas City, Caden Oberle – Osborne,  Davian Vigil – Hutchinson, Colton Comer – Pleasant Ridge, , Brett Windsor – Pratt, David Brown – BV West, Trevor Wieschauss – Mill Valley, Matthew Macy – Andover Central, Quinton Pfaff – Chaparral, Colton Malone – Perry Lecompton, Brock West – Marantha, Kyle Mcanter – Basehor Linwood, Jalen Risley – Caldwell, Lane Harvey – Chanute, Tyce Brown – Shawnee Heights, Kale Schroeder – Sedgwick, Nathan Smith – Labette County, Anthony Lee – Labette County, Peyton Carder – SM Northwest, Taylor Douglass – Belle Plaine, Kadence Riner – Pratt, Lane Detter – Pretty Prairie, Ethan Alcorn – Junction City, Spencer Stewart – Emporia, Ryan Stapleton – Sabetha, E.J. Cooper – Wichita Trinity, Carter Morrow – Goddard, Blake Mitchell – Goddard, Kaeden Hoefer – Goddard, Hunter Carpenter – SM South, Wesley Clark – SM West, Xavier Bell – Andover Central, Elijah Tyner – Tonganoxie, Clayton Richter – Pleasant Ridge, Kobe Clark – Mission Valley, Nolan Clarke – Hutch Trinity, Brendan Ishimura - Frontenac, Rustin Blaylock – South Haven, David Cramer – Dighton, Dustyn Sweet – Mill Valley, Kaden Ramos – Collegiate, Kade Miller – Osborne, Thomas Atkins – Hanover, Carson Rich – Spearville, Kade Melvin – Norton, Javon Allen – Bennington, Tujague Michael – St. James, Darrien Holloway – Osborne RB/WR, Kyun Jackson – Sumner, Josh Jordan – Sacred Heart, Krimzyn Clark – Osage City, Dalton Rapp – Rose Hill, Dillon Byrne – Silver Lake, A.J. Shields – Olathe South, Landon Davis – Winfield, Theo Grabill - Aquinas, Xavier Espinoza - Centre, Trenton Plinsky - Osage City, Garret Boschen - SM East, Pete Stanton - SM East, Brody Marshall - Gardner Edgerton, DeJon Delgado - Dodge City, Aaron Larson - Derby, Tanner Sample - BVNW, Kendall Brewer - Schlagle, Xavier Taylor - Schlagle, Deriq Doty - Maize, Cameron Grimes - Maize, Ty Garrett - Salina South, Lane Harvey - Chanute, C.J. Kelley - Coffeyville, Tyler Gorman - Fort Scott, Jacob Walker - Mulvane, Hudson Smith - Beloit, Vincent Palan - Beloit, Blake Booth - Galena, Devin Ryan - Central Plains,