Sports in Kansas: 25 Quarterbacks to Watch for 2018

Darnell Holloway is looking for big year for Osborne. (photo: Justin Hall Photography)
By: Sports in Kansas - Chet Kuplen
Aug 26, 2018

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Several quarterbacks 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 Quarterbacks in Kansas to Watch for 2018 (Not Ranked)

Grant Adler, QB, (Derby) Jr., Hunter Igo, ATH, (Derby) Sr.

Adler will be the starter this season and was last year along with Igo who can play just about any skill position offensively and defensively on the field if he needs to, he figures to be the starting Free Safety in 2018. He will be back to play wherever he needs to for the Panthers and if that’s at quarterback at some point expect a successful season after helping lead the Panthers to a 6A state runner-up finish a year ago. These are two playmakers that either one at the quarterback position could have all-state seasons for the best 6A program in Kansas over the last six football seasons. Adler has 6'3" size while Igo may be the best athlete on the team. Threre's a lot of question marks on offense with key pieces gone in Brody Kooser and key recievers gone over the last two seasons. 

K’Vonte Baker, QB, 5-9 165-pounds (Wichita Heights) Sr.

Probably the most exciting player on the list. He’s not a typical quarterback but more of a running back. He missed four games last year so the hype statewide went down a bit but he may be the human highlight reel of Kansas. Expect an outstanding season for the biggest playmaker in Wichita. He had a game last season in which he had 13 carries for 452 yards and eight touchdowns. He can take it to the house at every touch and that’s why he’s the quarterback.He had 1,100 yards in limited action last season and is a very underrated player. 

Koy Brack, QB,  (Great Bend) Sr., Syris Dunlap QB, (Liberal) Jr., Beau Foster, QB, (Dodge City) Jr.

The league that was once a powerhouse is trying to make strides to get back there and it could help with these solid quarterbacks returning. Brack should be one of the top quarterbacks in 5A this season as he looks to lead the Panthers to a deep playoff run in 5A. He stepped in nicely last year for the graduated Jacob Murray with nearly a 1,000/1,000 season. He is big and he can run along with a nice arm. Syris Dunlap is an exciting playmaker that we expect to have a huge year for the Liberal program after earning All-WAC honors a year ago. He rushed for over 1,000 yards at the quarterback position last fall and should be one of the better running quarterbacks in the state regardless of classification. He features 4.45 HH speed and a 36 inch vertical as a sophomore last year! Foster stepped in as a sophomore last fall and threw for nearly 800 yards and rushed for nearly 500 more. He will assume the full-time role this season with the graduation of do it all Dawson Williams on offense. These three are in the same league and we expect big years.

Jack Caudle, QB, 6-3 190-pounds (Maur Hill-MA) Jr.

Caudle has been starting since he’s been a freshman and is one of the top juniors in the state. He threw for over 1,500 as a freshman and over 1,700 as a junior last fall. His father, Todd, was a former 8-man Top 11 selection for the Midway-Denton dynasty in the 1980’s before signing at Air Force and playing at Kansas. Caudle will look to lead a group that returns eight on offense and eight on defense.

Cevin Clark, QB, 5-11 170-pounds (Ark City) Sr.

Clark is one of the best basketball players in the state but he also shined on the football field last season in throwing for over 1,800 yards. Gone are some main targets like Andrew Brautman but there are some athletes in the school right now and Clark could have another big year.

Cameron Cox, QB, (Hesston) Sr.

Cox has been an impact player for the Swathers since his sophomore year. He returns with fellow all-state selection Parker Roth to look to lead the team on a deep run in 3A. Cox was an outstanding wide receiver as a sophomore on the 2016 state runner up team but made the smooth transition to quarterback last season after throwing for over 1,800 yards and rushing for 1,200 more. Expect an even bigger year for the multiple sport all state selection, who is also a standout baseball player.

Nick Davenport, QB, 6-1 210-pounds, (Ell-Saline) Sr. Hooper Schroeder, QB, (Sedgwick) Sr., Lane Whissenand, QB, 5-10 160-pounds (Elkhart) Sr.

1A has a talented cast of QB’s back. Davenport is back for his senior season after earning all-state honors at linebacker. He’s also an all-state wrestler and throws a nice ball. He could project at either linebacker or quarterback at the next level. Expect a big year for the 2019 ATH. Schroeder passed for over 2,000 yards as junior last fall. Sedgwick didn’t have the season they wanted a year ago with the talent they have but Schroeder returns along with his junior brother who had over 700 yards last season. Whisennand rushed for over 2,000 yards and passed for nearly 1,300 more for the Wildcats. He returns several skill guys that could make this a team to watch on 1A West. He features speed in the 4.5 HH range. Jordan Finnesy also returns for Plainville and he’s listed on the MCL pick as is Cade Simmons of Colgan listed on the Southeast Kansas area combo pick.

Easton Dean, QB, 6-7 225-pounds (Labette Co.) Sr.

Dean passed for over 2,000 yards as a junior last fall in his first season as the starter for Labette County. He’s a very strong kid in the weight room and has 4.6 HH speed. The 6’7” senior has committed to Iowa State and also has an offer from Iowa at the FBS level. Dean will be the premier quarterback to watch in 4A this season. 

Gavin Elston, QB, 5-7 160-pounds (Eudora) Sr.

IT wasn’t long ago his brother Grant was a highlight reel for the Cardinals and now its Gavin’s turn. He is pound for pound one of the strongest kids in the state with a 315 clean at 160-pounds and 5-foot-7. He will be one of the most exciting players to watch in the Frontier League this fall.

Eli Fahnestock, QB, 6-0 185 (Andover) Soph.

Fahnsetock is one of the top returning sophomores in the state. He looked like a veteran signal caller a year ago as a freshman for the Trojans. Fahnestock had 1,753 yards with 13 touchdowns through the air to go along with another 509 rushing with 11 touchdowns. He’s also very strong for his size with nearly a 250 bench, 375 squat and 260 clean entering his junior year. The sky is the limit for the 2021 product out of Andover as he looks to lead a team that went 5-5 last year that returns five on each side of the ball. He is also a preseason All-American baseball player for the upcoming season.

Jordan Finnesy, QB, (Plainville) Jr., Trey Sides, QB, (Phillipsburg) Sr.

MCL pick. Finnesy had a breakout sophomore campaign where he did just about everything for the Cardinals. He returns along with Jared Casey to form one of the better backfields in 1A. Sides returns for his fourth year as the starter after being the freshman QB on 2015’s state title team. Both are in the MCL who always has a loaded cast of quarterbacks.

Caleb Grill, QB, 6-4 180-pounds (Maize) Sr.

Grill is likely the best athlete on this list landing over 10 offers at the Division I level in basketball including the likes of Texas Tech, an Elite Eight team last season. Grill, who has committed to South Dakota State basketball, is also one of the top quarterbacks in the state after throwing for over 2,000 yards as a junior. He’s also an elite high jumper in the state. Look for a huge year for Grill.

Mason Griffin, QB, 6-2 185-pounds (Silver Lake) Sr.

Griffin is more known as a high school basketball player going over 1,000 points as a junior last season on his way to all-3A honors but he doubles as the Silver Lake quarterback. Lake should be a 2A team to make a deep run and Griffin along with Wyatt Beyer, who should be the top target, could make some noise in 2018.

Da’Vonshai Harden, QB, (Topeka) Jr.  

Harden returns after a breakout sophomore year and has weapons surrounding him including all everything Ky Thomas. Also returning is Javon Barksdale. Topeka has a cast of skill guys that are highlight reels and expect a big year for the 2020 QB.

Darnell Holloway, QB, 6-3 190-pounds (Osborne) Sr., Daiken Staullbaumer, QB, 6-2 175-pounds (Hanover) Sr., Quinn Buessing, QB, 6-0 170-pounds (Axtell) Sr. , Dereck Gillett, QB, 6-4 195-pounds (Rock Hills) Sr., Anton Foust, QB, 6-2 195-pounds (Otis-Bison) Sr., Myles Menges, QB, 6-4 190-pounds (Central Plans)

There is definitely some talent back in the 8-man ranks and some of these guys have very good size. Holloway has the size and speed to play Division I football but not all recruiters are shopping at 8-man football games in North Central Kansas. He has sub 11 speed in the 100 and could be a 1,000 and 1,000 guy this season at the quarterback position. Along with his younger brother Darrien and Kade Miller, Osborne has a shot to be an exciting team in 8-man for 2018. Stallbaumer led the Wildcats to the 8M-II title a year ago on his way to passing for over 1,000 and rushing for 600 plus more. He will be the top player on the top team in the state returning in the 8M-II ranks. Expect Buessing to have another big year as he threw for over 1,700 yards and 27 touchdowns as his all state receiver Hunter Koch is back for a squad that finished 6-4 last season with six back on offense and seven on defense. Gillett definitely looks the part at 6-foot-4 and 195-pounds and had 15 touchdown passes last season. He will look to have a breakout year with returning all-state selection running back Zane Colson and Rylee Whelchel. We think the kids in Mankato have found the weight room. Foust is back after a 10-2 campaign in which he passed for nearly 900 yards and rushed for nearly 1,200 more. Otis-Bison returns several key pieces that could make them a team to look for in 8M-II. Menges made a nice transition from Ellinwood to Central Plains last season in which he threw for over 1,500 yards. He has nice size and is an athletic quarterback that will be one of the top signal callers in 8-man this season.

Kyler Hoppes, QB, (McPherson) Sr.

Hoppes passed for over 1,900 yards and 23 touchdowns a year ago for the Bullpups and returns three receivers with over 440 yards a piece. The three combined for 17 of those 23 touchdowns. McPherson certainly has the pieces to make a deep run in 4A and Hoppes will be a reason for that.

Reagan Jones, QB, (Wichita Northwest) Sr. , Evan Kruse, QB, (Campus) Sr.

Two quarterbacks with two new schools. Jones passed for over 1,500 yards for Andover Central last season but he didn’t have the weapons he’s going to have in 2018 and that’s no disrespect to AC not many have what NW returns in 2018. He will have Breece Hall an Iowa State commit in the backfield and Roy Jones that you can do anything with. Kruse was a two year starter at Wichita South and will jump into an offense at Campus that saw Federico Harvey Jr. have a ton of success the last two seasons. Kruse will have weapons like Quinton Hicks and Tyler Kahmann to help make the transition smooth.

Dalton Kellum, QB/ATH, (Perry Lecompton) Sr.

Kellum rushed for over 1,500 and passed for 1,200 plus more last season. He is one of the top multipurpose players in the state and will look to lead a Kaw squad in 3A that returns six on offense and seven on defense.

Walker Kinney, QB, (Blue Valley) Sr.

Kinney played in a two quarterback set last year but is a rising recruit for 2019 that is also an all-state caliber baseball player. Kinney had over 1,000 passing yards last season with 12 touchdowns to just four interceptions. With several returning pieces the Tigers have a shot to be a time to compete for a 6A title in 2018.

Andy Maddox, QB, 6-5 190-pounds (SM East) Sr.

Maddox will get the ability to showcase his arm in the offense of first year head coach Justin Hoover. Hoover known in the KC market for developing players like Drew Locke, Graham Mertz, Carter Putz, Will Schneider, who all had outstanding high school careers. May see a different look from the flex-bone the Lancers have got accustomed to under Dustin Delaney, who put the program on the map over the last five years.

Graham Mertz, QB, 6-3 205-pounds (BV North) Sr.

Maybe the most recruited high school quarterback in Kansas history. There’s not a lot you can say about him that hasn’t already been said. The Wisconsin commit played his first two years at Miege before transferring to BV North last year in which he led them to a 6A state title over Derby. He was the Sports in Kansas Non-Senior Player of the Year after passing for 3,684 yards in 13 games to lead the entire state of Kansas.

J.C. Shelton, QB/ATH, (Galena) Sr., DaQuan Johnson, QB/ATH, (Parsons), Trey White, QB, (Baxter) Sr., Jaylen Logan,  QB/ATH, (Coffeyville), Cade Simmons, QB/ATH, (Colgan) Sr., Matt Campbell, QB, (Fort Scott)

This is a list of guys that are good athletes in just about everything they do and a lot can play other positions so we go with a combo pick from what we expect to be pretty good play at the quarterback position in 2018 in Southeast Kansas. Three of the six play in the same district. In addition to major Division I recruit Easton Dean, Southeast Kansas area has some solid guys back for 2018. J.C. Shelton is one of the best multipurpose players in 3A. Johnson is one of the top multiple sport athletes in 3A and could do a lot of things for the Vikings after passing for 1,579 yards last season, he could play multiple spots as Gage Freiss could see a lot of snaps in the backfield as well. Jaylen Logan is an exciting playmaker with a lot of speed that made the move to quarterback last season and should be one of the most exciting players to watch in Southeast Kansas for 2018 as he returns along with eight other starters for Field Kindley-Coffeyvlle. Simmons stepped in nicely in leading the Panthers of Colgan to the 2-1A state championship game a year ago as he replaced the injured Bryce Hutchins. He will look to lead the Panthers on a deep run in 1A and is a solid athlete that is all-state in baseball. Trey White of Baxter. is an exceptional basketball player and track and field athlete, jumping 6-foot-6 last season. He hasn’t had a lot to surround himself by but he is one of the best quarterbacks in Southeast along with the others mentioned. Matt Campbell is a 6-foot-5, 210-pound senior that makes the transition from tight end to quarterback for his senior season. Campbell, who plays for his father Bob, has a chance to be one of the better playmakers in 4A this season and is also an all-state baseball player. Adam Albertini of St. Paul is listed on our RB list but its likely he could be at the quarterback and a playmaker you’re reading a lot about in the 8-man ranks of Southeast Kansas in 2018.

Travis Theis, QB/RB, 5-9 193-pounds (Pratt) Sr.

Of course, we have to list Travis Theis, also on our running back list, but he figures to be the QB for Pratt this year. He is arguably one of the best running backs in the state but makes the move to QB, but we all know he’s really a RB. Theis has 3,500 combined rushing yards over the last two seasons and is pound for pound one of the strongest and fastest players in Kansas.

Tyler Trudo, QB, (Eisenhower) Sr.

Trudo rushed for 1,400 yards and rushed for 500 plus more with 26 total touchdowns last year. He has been banged up with an injury in the off-season so it is still unknown to see where he will be at in 2018. However, Parker Wenzel also returns after being injured last year and should be one of the best backs in the Wichita market. They also return all-state lineman Stuart Habbert who will be one of the best in 5A this season.

The Unknown. Izek Jackson (Chapman), Sam Pedrotti (Miege), Jake Moellers (St. James Academy), Tate Raboin (Aquinas), Malik Berry (Free State), Jordan Preston (Mill Valley), Gabe Garber (Sabetha), Travis Theis (Pratt), Isaiah Childs (Manhattan), Whoever the Bishop Carroll QB will be

This should be called the Unknown combo pick of players we don’t know a lot about at the position yet but expect big seasons for. These guys have waited for a chance to shine at the position and 2018 could be their breakout year. Jackson is a recruit on the rise with 6-foot-5 size. Pedrotti will take over All-Everything Carter Putz for Miege. Moellers has a solid cast of players who return for SJA and was named the top QB at the NDSU camp this summer. Raboin will be the STA quarterback with a loaded cast of players and we expect him to shine. Berry is an ATH that will get the shot to make some noise on offense as well for Free State. Preston transferred from Free State to Mill Valley where he figures to take over for Brody Flaming who had an outstanding two year run as the MV QB. Garber was one of the top linebackers in 3A last season and fills in for Brandon Brownlee who graduated in 2018. Childs is a nice looking prospect that has played multiple spots but he has the size and speed at 6-foot-3 and 190-pounds to be a force as a junior for Manhattan. And lastly whoever seems to be the Carroll QB is going to see production, heck we've seen a third stringer have success there. Cade Becker may figure into being the quarterback for the BC program in 2018.

Others to Watch:

Tanner Schrag – Nickerson, Zach Wance – Wellsville, Cade Addis – Cherryvale, Matthew Lodbell – Horton, David Anderson – Sacred Heart, Kody Mead – Macksville, Braden Neilson – Solomon, Timothy Gillen – Ingalls, Kaden McKee – Pleasanton, Trevor Rooks – South Barber, Corbin Rice – Caldwell, Hunter Thomas – Olathe East, Kolby Stein – Spearville, Jake Burke – Chaparral, Brogen Richardson – Salina Central, Jace Stewart – Emporia, John Pfannenstiel – Ness City, Montana Giffin – Burlingame, Zach Krause – Olathe North, Kobe Jones – Seaman, Hudson Gray – Beloit, Hunter Morgan – La Crosse, Kipp Jasper – Troy, Trevor Rhoades – Hutchinson, Rooster Adams – Junction City, Evan Foster – Olathe South, Zach Bush – SM North, Jordan White – Washburn Rural, Zion Parks – Wichita West, Colton Davis – Newton, Jack Hacking – Kapaun, Ty Bowman – Chanute, Corbett Kimberlin – Chanute, Noah Villareal – Bonner Springs, Kyler Semrad – Goddard, Dalton White – Piper, Madden Rutherford – Louisburg, Brennen Feeback – Spring Hill, Devin Walker – Ulysses, Peyton Ortner – Holcomb, Ethan Baalman – Andale, Easton Hunter – Andale, Dyelan Reed – Concordia, Tyler Brockhoff – Hiawatha, Cade Ross – Jefferson West, Parker Gooden – Scott City, Ty Cooper – Wamego, Nate Adler – Wichita Trinity, Bo Gooch – Belle Plaine, Matt Pauly – Garden Plain, Matthew Lodbell – Horton, Dagen Goodner – Humboldt, Kaleb Hammeke – Hutch Trinity, Kamble Haverkamp – Centralia, Chase Stringer – Marion, Colby Hoelting – Olpe, Chayde Snyder – South Central, William Silvey – West Elk, Jared Kennedy – Hoxie, Isaac Salmans – Hodgeman County, Graham Stephens – Little River, Nate Burdette – Maranatha, Garrett Burden – Medicine Lodge, Austin Jantz – South Gray, Brady Dinkel – St. Francis, Cooper Windholz – Victoria, Nick Stutsman – Northern Valley, Blair Hoffman – Dighton, Trevor Rooks – South Barber, Samuel Livingston – Pretty Prairie