Sports in Kansas: 25 Quarterbacks to Watch for 2019

Quinn Buessing of Axtell is looking for a huge year in 2019. (photo: Amy Smith)
By: Sports in Kansas - Chet Kuplen
Aug 13, 2019

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Several quarterbacks return after having big seasons in 2018. Check out who to watch in 2019. This lists main purpose is to represent the entire state from nearly every class. Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we will do this position by position. Chet Kuplen, CEO/Founder of Sports in Kansas, evaluates players every year based on performance from prior year, our all-state lists from last year and events (camps/combines) he sees players across the state with input from several coaches and media members. 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, Nex-Tech Wireless, American Implement and Kansas Turf. Be on the lookout for our postseason honors after the 2019 season on who will be the Top 100 seniors in Kansas and who will make the Sports in Kansas All Non-Senior Team. While its impossible for us to check out every player in the state, we have a pretty good track record at going into detail like no other outlet in the state. If you ever have a player that you think we should take a look at be sure to DM @sportsinkansas or sportsinkansas@gmail.com as tips coming in can always help out on who we should check out! If you are interested in a player evaluation contact Chet Kuplen by TEXT at 620-719-0283 or email sportsinkansas@gmail.com. Several player evaluations landed major offers over the last eight football seasons. 

25 Quarterbacks To Watch for 2019

(LIST IS NOT RANKED) 

Reagan Jones, Wichita Northwest, 6-1 185 Sr.

Jones is likely the top returning quarterback in the state and helped the Grizzlies to a runner-up finish a year ago. His stats were off the chart as a true dual threat quarterback. Expect some more video game numbers in 2019 for the Missouri Western commit that has 4.4-4.5 range speed.

Malik Berry, Free State, 6-3 215 Sr.

Berry who has multiple Division I offers as an athlete is also a standout quarterback for the Firebirds. He will look to make them a serious contender in 6A. It also doesn’t hurt when you have one of the top lineman in the country up front blocking for you in Nebraska commit Turner Corcoran.

Quinn Buessing, Axtell, 6-1 175 Sr.

Buessing is looking to go down as one of the best 8-man quarterbacks of all-time. He has 93 touchdown passes entering his senior season including 51 last season to only three interceptions. He’s also an all-state cross country, basketball and track athlete. There’s not much the 8M-II player can’t do. Axtell is also a serious threat for a deep 8M-II run.

Grant Adler, Derby, 6-3 185 Sr.

Derby has been the best program in Kansas over the last seven football seasons and it looks to be no different for 2019. Adler and Hunter Igo have both been the quarterback over the last couple of seasons but now it should look to be Adler’s spot. He returns with Tre Washington in the backfield and Alex Conn up front to make the Panthers a serious contender once again in 2019.

Gabe Garber, Sabetha, 5-10 175 Sr.

All he does is win is the simple way to put it. Is he a true quarterback, likely not but he doesn’t have to be to be one of the best signal callers in 3A for the back-to-back state champion Bluejays. He rushed for over 1,110 yards last season. Garber doubles as an all-state linebacker and was the Sports in Kansas 3A baseball player of the year as a sophomore. Sabetha has won back to back in football, baseball and golf. Garber was a huge part in two of those.

Jack Moellers, St. James Academy, 6-1 205 Sr.

He was limited to injury last season but Moellers is an athletic quarterback with nice legs and an arm. He passed for over 1,500 yards last season while rushing for around 500 more. The Thunder have some pieces back for 2019.  Moellers is also an all-state selection in 5A basketball.

Garrett Harmison, Riley County, 6-0 170 Sr.

Harmison will be one of the top quarterbacks in 2A this season after leading Riley County to a state runner-up finish in 2018. He passed for 1,930 yards and 23 touchdowns last season.

Da’Vonshai Harden, Topeka, 6-4 205 Sr.

Harden will double with Ky Thomas to be one of the best backfields in Kansas this year for Walt Alexander’s Topeka High Trojans. Harden a Kansas commit is a dual threat with freak athleticism at the position.

Jackson Kavanagh, Salina Central, 6-1 185 Sr.

Kavanagh helped put Salina Central back on the map in 2018. He is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in 5A and will look to take the Mustangs on a run in 2019. Kavanagh is the son of former Kansas State quarterback Brian Kavanagh. Quinton Stewart also returns on both sides of the football and is one of the top recruits in Kansas.

Ty Black, SM Northwest, 6-1 175 Sr.

The son of head coach Bo Black turned a lot of heads as a sophomore in 2018. He passed for 2,695 yards with 24 touchdowns last year. Look for him to be one of the top playmakers in the KC metro for 2019.

Syris Dunlap, Liberal, 5-9 165 Sr. ATH/QB

Dunlap is likely the fastest player on the list. Is he really a quarterback, probably not but as long as the ball is in his hands he has the ability to score at any time. Dunlap will be one of the best playmakers in the state this season for his father and head coach Jason Dunlap. He features 4.4 speed in the 40 yard dash ran at the Shrine Bowl Sports in Kansas Combine.

Arland Bruce IV, Olathe North, 5-10 180 Jr. ATH/QB

Bruce IV is one of the best playmakers in the state and lit it up as a sophomore last season for the Eagles. He is basically a running back at the position and should be one of the top playmakers in 6A this season. His father played several years professionally and was also an outstanding player at Olathe North in the 1990s.

Eli Fahnestock, Andover, 6-0 180 Jr. Colin Shields, Maize South, 6-0 180 Jr. Kyler Semrad, Goddard, 6-0 185 Jr.

These AVCTL-II quarterbacks are all in the same graduating class and all have a lot of experience already as juniors to be. Fahnestock enters his third season as the starter for the Trojans in 2019. He will look to be one of the better playmakers in Wichita after throwing for over 1,000 yards last season. Shields had a breakout second half of the season last year after a rough 0-3 start in leading the Mavs to six straight victories. He passed for 1,406 yards with only three interceptions as a sophomore. He also completed 64 percent of his passes in the six-game winning streak. Maize South has some dudes back and Shields is one of them. Semrad enters junior season after throwing for over 1,900 yards last season in leading Goddard to a state runner-up finish. He also saw action as a freshman two years ago when Blake Sullivan went down to injury. He will be one of the top signal callers in Wichita for 2019.

Jordan Finnesy, Plainville, 6-1 180 Sr.

Perhaps the toughest player on this list as a state wrestling champion, Finnesy will look to be one of the best two-way players in Kansas this season regardless of classification. He is a dual threat that passed for over 1,500 yards a season ago. Plainville is a serious contender in 1A with the return of Finnesy and all-state linebacker Jared Casey.

Ty Bowman, Chanute, 6-5 210 Sr.

Bowman is one of the best kept secrets in Kansas. He was injured a bit last year but still threw for over 1,400 yards in 2018. He has the size and speed (4.6 40) to generate some FCS interest this season at multiple spots including WR or TE in addition to QB. His brother, Eric, was a Shrine Bowl pick a few years back for the Blue Comets and with a big year Bowman could follow in those footsteps.

Brandon Schroedl, Marysville, 6-0 170 Sr.

Schroedl will look to lead Marysville on another deep run after replacing Jack Blumer after the 2017 season. He fit in nicely passing for over 1,700 yards and 18 scores last season. Schroedl completed 70 percent of his passes. Marysville returns several key pieces to make them a serious contender on the 3A East.

Jack Caudle, Maur Hill, 6-3 200 Sr.

Caudle, a senior lefty, passed for 1,885 yards and 21 touchdowns last year for Maur Hill. He enters his fourth year as a starter and could receive some recruiting interest this season. He has great arm strength and throws one of the hardest balls in Kansas.

Kipp Jasper, Troy, 6-1 165 Sr. , Kamble Haverkamp, Centralia, 6-0 170 Sr.

These two come as a combo pick because they come from the same league and will be rivals once again in 2019. Jasper enters his third year as the starter for his father and head coach Derek Jasper. Troy won it all in 2016 and Jasper had to fill the shoes of then all-state quarterback Reid Greaser and prior to that Tristan Speer. Jasper will look to be one of the top quarterbacks in 1A this season. Haverkamp had a breakout season for the Panthers last year.

Carlos Acosta, Garden City, 5-9 165 Sr. , Beau Foster, Dodge City, 6-0 185 Sr., Great Bend QB?

Acosta is a dual-threat that should be one of the best QB’s in Western Kansas for 2019. He passed for 1,174 last year while also rushing for 414 more for GC. He also returns a couple of very solid offensive lineman in Refujio Chairez and Trey Nuzum to clear the way up front. Foster, the son of head coach Dave Foster, will be one of the better dual threats in Western Kansas this season. Acosta and Foster will go head to head in one one the states best rivalries once again. Syris Dunlap also made the list as the WAC looks pretty deep at QB. Great Bend has had huge success at the quarterback position and depending on who that will be maybe they can make a name for themselves. We’ve heard talk that all-state defensive back Dalton Miller may be called upon to fill that role in 2019 and he would be an immediate playmaker at the spot.

Timothy Dorsey, Miege, Jr.; Henry Martin, BV North Soph.; Jake Wolff, Blue Valley Jr., Blake Anderson, Aquinas Jr.; Cooper Marsh, Mill Valley, Jr.

A lot of the key names are gone from the state’s best league so it’s time for new ones. Dorsey is the Miege quarterback so you should expect some big things as a first year starting junior in 2018. Not to set unrealistic expectations but it has worked in pretty nicely for all the signal callers at Miege over the last 10 plus years (Shortell, Cozart, Willis, Putz, Pedrotti). Sam Pedrotti was an unknown name this time last year and threw for 2,600 yards last season in his lone year as the starter after replacing Carter Putz. He returns national level recruits Daniel Jackson and Phillipe Wesley to help make his job a little easier to step in as the starter as they go for their sixth straight state title. Martin who started a game last season as a freshman in place of the injured Graham Mertz will be one of the top sophomores in Kansas. He’s also one of the top young javelin throwers in the country and will be a future QB recruit. Wolff will replace Walker Kinney at Blue Valley and will look to get the Tigers back on the map in 6A. Both expected to have big time seasons. Anderson will be the starter at Aquinas this season as they look to defend their Class 5A state title. He has nice speed that will help direct the flexbone attack of the Saints. He’s also a very solid baseball player for STA. The EKL is loaded full of quarterbacks so its not uncommon for a Player of the Year type candidate to happen as a first year starter. Cooper Marsh is a junior to be for Mill Valley and Coach Applebee is very excited in what he may have with Marsh. Mill Valley has been one of the best programs in Kansas over the last five seasons and don’t expect that to change. Logan Koch, Brody Flaming and Jordan Preston have all filled the role nicely so don’t expect Marsh to back down from the challenge that awaits him.

Greg Riddle, BV West, 5-11 165 Sr.

Riddle had a great season last year for the Jaguars in the best conference in Kansas headlined by state championship schools in 6A, 5A and 4A each and every year. He returns his top target in David Brown so expect some big numbers again in 2019.

CJ Callaghan, SM West, 6-4 215 Sr.

Callaghan passes the eye test with his size and arm. He will look for a big improvement of the SMW team this season as they let some tight ballgames slip away in 2018.

Madden Rutherford, Louisburg, 6-4 205 Sr.

Rutherford helped Louisburg to an undefeated Frontier League title in 2018 as a junior quarterback. He is one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the state and possesses the size to play at the next level. Gone is Austin Moore but the Wildcats do return Brayden White to lead the way up front. Rutherford is also an all-state punter.

Adam Albertini, St. Paul, 5-8 165 Sr. ATH/QB

Although he isn’t really a quarterback that’s where he lines up and he will be one of the best playmakers in Kansas after having 60 combined touchdowns as a junior last season. Albertini has 4.5 40 speed and will help St. Paul be a major contender in 8M-II.

Teven McKelvey, Gardner Edgerton, 6-1 190 Sr. ATH/QB

Might be the best athlete on the list as he can play nearly every spot on the football field including QB, WR, CB or FS. McKelvey had 1,200 all prupose yards last season in helping Gardner to a 10-1 record one year after not winning a game. They return seven on offense and eight on defense for 2019. GE will be a force in 6A this year. He has several FCS and FBS offers but has committed to South Dakota. McKelvey is also one of the best track and field athletes in the state starring in the horizontal jumps.

Kade Melvin, Norton, 6-0 170 Sr., Hudson Gray, Beloit, 6-1 200 Sr., Tanner Cash, Clearwater, 6-2 180 Jr., Quinn Neunswander, Jefferson West, 6-2 180 Sr., Jaxson Gebhardt, SE Saline, 5-11 165 Jr., Easton Hunter, Andale, 6-3 190 Sr., Parker Gooden, Scott City, 6-1 185 Sr.

These are a few small school quarterbacks that have the opportunity to shine this year after showing flashes of success a season ago. Melvin passed for over 1,400 yards last season in replacing Jace Ruder who is now at North Carolina. He also rushed for nearly 600 more. Melvin is the son of head coach Lucas Melvin. Gray is expecting a breakout senior season and was injured a lot of last year. He is a strong arm lefty that has great size and should shine in 3A this season for head coach Brad Gober. Cash was a first team all-league selection a season ago and will look to be one of the better playmakers in the Wichita area for 2019. He has the size and athleticism to be an all-state caliber player in 2019. Neunswander will be a key part of the JW success this year if they go on to have some. Cade Ross has transferred to a school in Florida and Neunswander will move back to quarterback full-time for the Tigers. Several key pieces are back for them to make a run in 3A. Gebhardt had a solid sophomore campaign in throwing for over 1,300 yards last season and rushed for over 500 more for his father, Mitch, who is the head coach. Hunter is more of a basketball player but is the returning starter quarterback for the Indian football team. Andale will be a serious contender in 3A and Hunter will have to be a big part of it if they are. Gooden has great field awareness and will look to be the leader of Scott City this season after the graduation of Wyatt Hayes and Marshall Faurot. Gooden has great speed and size as a dual-threat quarterback.

Landon Everett, Canton Galva, 5-11 180 Sr.,Nate Burdette, Maranatha Christian Academy, 5-10 185 Sr., Caleb Lambert, Hutchinson Central Christian, 5-10 160 Sr., Trevor Rooks, South Barber, 6-0 180 Sr. Brady Dinkel, St. Francis, 6-2 180 Sr., Issac Salmans, Hodgeman County, 6-3 215 Jr., Kayde Rietzke, Wichita County, Soph., Graham Stephens, Little River, 5-10 190 Jr.

8-man has some solid QB’s back and we expect these to be big number guys in 2019. Everett had a breakout year last year for C-G in leading them to a state semifinal. All starters are back and he returns super sophomore Tyson Struber at the receiver position. We expect Burdette to have another big year for his father and head coach Bryan Burdette. Maranatha could also be a contender in the 8-man ranks with the return of Burdette and one of the best player in 8-man in Brock West. Expect some eye-opening numbers between the two. Lambert threw for 1,458 yards last season with 27 touchdowns to five interceptions. Rooks rushed for nearly 900 and threw for nearly 1,500 more last season for South Barber. Dinkel is more known for his legs but will be depended upon heavily with the graduation of running back Jordan Raby. He is a four-year starter and should expect a huge season for him in 8M-I. Salamans had a breakout sophomore season in which he passed for over 1,200 and ran for 900 plus more. He returns with his older brother to make the Longhorns a team worth looking for in the 8-man ranks. Rietzke is back for the Indians after 965 yards passing with 21 touchdowns and another 735 more on the ground with 13 more scores as a sophomore last fall. Stephens is more of a threat on the ground but accumulated over 1,200 yards and 26 scores last season. Little River could be a force this year.

Other Top Quarterbacks to Watch in Kansas from Sports in Kansas:

Jackson Miller – De Soto, Ty Sides – Phillipsburg, Collin Koester – Conway Springs, Jake Beckmann – Frontenac, Aiden Niedens – Bishop Carroll, Cooper Galvan – Clay Center, Trey Richey – Caney Valley, Colby Hoelting – Olpe, Jashun Grant – Wichita South, Tab Creekmore – Mulvane, Darby Roper – Haven, Reed Smith – Olathe South, Andrew Berckefeldt – Santa Fe Trail, Chase Torkelson – Basehor Linwood, Brad Sackrider – Wamego, Patrick Cassidy – Columbus, Tanner Leslie – Campus, Cory Macon – Schlagle, Gunnar Fort – Osage City, Lance Hoffsomer – Sedgwick, Chayde Snyder – South Central,  Terran Galloway – Salina South, Colton McCarty – Cheylin, Isaac Elloitt – Oswego, Tayte Halderman – Sedan, Travis Chvatal – Rawlins County, Tyler Brockhoff – Hiawatha, Dane Aschenbrenner - Manhattan