Sports in Kansas has compiled its list of 25 Quarterbacks to Watch for the upcoming 2017 season. List is alphabetical by last name and is not a recruiting list. Our intention is also to try to cover every classification and every part of the state to make it a true overall list to watch in the state. Every year Chet Kuplen and Ben Mitchum compile lists to project who the states top players will be at the beginning of the season which is based on last years performance/stats, input from coaches/media, and recruiting/video highlights. Special thanks to Rack Performance for powering this list.
Austin Anderson, Wichita Northwest, 5-11 185 Sr.
Anderson looked great in his first year as a starter for Northwest on his way to passing for over 2,200 yards and 26 touchdowns. The offense has had no problems producing but if Northwest wants to be a contender in 6A they will have to buckle down their defense. Luckily they came out on top in some of those shootouts to have a 6-4 mark in 2016. Anderson is one of the top returning playmakers in Wichita for 2017.
Levi Archer, Goodland, 6-4 205 Sr.
Goodland hasn’t had the best years recently but Archer is certainly one of the better Western Kansas quarterbacks. He threw for 2,150 yards as a sophomore with 16 touchdowns. He didnt put up huge stats in 2017 but we expect a bounce back year for Archer who has the size and arm to play at th next level. Archer enters his third year as the Cowboys starter in 2017. Archer is a big bodied quarterback with a strong arm and has nice speed in the 4.7 range.
K’Vonte Baker, Wichita Heights, 5-9 160 Jr.
Baker enjoyed a breakout sophomore campaign in which he rushed for over 1,400 yards out of the Heights rushing attack. Several key pieces come back in 2017 which could have the Falcons as a contender in 5A. Baker is basically a RB at the QB position and should be one of the top juniors in all of Kansas.
Jack Caudle, Maur Hill, 6-3 170 Soph.
It’s not often a sophomore makes a list but Caudle could be a guy to circle over the next few seasons. He had 1,535 yards passing and 19 touchdowns as a freshman varsity starter last year. If the name Caudle sounds familiar, that’s because his dad Todd was a Top 11 player back in the 80s that led Midway-Denton to four state titles and went on to sign at Air Force.
Chase Curtis, Pittsburg, 6-5 175 Sr.
Curtis got his feet wet as a first-year starter last season and is ready to lead the Dragons again in 2017. He has gotten bigger, faster and stronger this off-season. Curtis is a dual-threat quarterback with 4.6 speed in a run-heavy system but really shines when he throws the football downfield with a big arm. He completed 60-percent of his passes last season for just under 1,000 yards. There is no off-season for the senior Purple Dragon, as he is an all-league player in basketball and baseball. If the Dragons have success this year it will be because of the backfield of Curtis and Jhalani Long. Curtis could have scholarship offers in both football and baseball this coming season.
Will Eldridge, BV Southwest, 6-0 165 Sr.
Some people just don’t understand how good you have to be to compete in the EKL unless you play in it. Eldridge proved he could hang in the league as he was a second team all-league pick in the state’s best league last season as a sophomore. BV Southwest showed flashes of being a team that could beat anyone last year and they proved that with a win over Aquinas. If Southwest makes a run this year it will be because of a big year by Eldridge.
Brody Flaming, Mill Valley, 6-2 205 Sr.
Flaming emerged as one of the state’s best as a first-time starting QB as a junior last fall for the eventual 5A state champion Jaguars. He had big shoes to fill in replacing Logan Koch, but did so rather easily, throwing for 2,700 yards and rushing for 1,297 more with 39 combined touchdowns. Back are key receivers Evan Rice and Logan Talley, along with preseason all-state running back Cameron Young. Can MV 3-peat in 5A? Their league will certainly help prepare them.
Trey Gilbert, Holcomb, 6-2 165 Sr.
Gilbert shined in his first year as a starter last fall after replacing Trey Teeter who quarterbacked the Longhorns to a state title the year before. He threw for 1,800 yards in his first year as a starter for Holcomb with 24 touchdowns. He also added nearly 500 more on the ground. Holcomb loses several key pieces but Gilbert should be one of the top playmakers in Western Kansas this season.
Federico Harvey, Campus, 6-2 165 Sr.
Harvey is a speedster and may be one of the fastest amongst this list. He has 4.49 speed in the 40 and proved his speed last year in track and field with sub 11 100-meter speed. He was a second team All AVTCL-I pick last year at QB. He also features a vertical jump of 35 inches. He should be one of the exciting playmakers to watch in Wichita this season.
Mitchell Henry, Nemaha Central, 6-0 170 Sr.
Nemaha Central may be the favorite in 3A this season and came up short last year. They will have a new signal caller this year, replacing Ryah Hasenkamp, Henry’s a definite athlete. Henry will be in his first season at QB after doing a little bit of everything last year at RB, rushing for 625 yards and racking up 637 more receiving. He however did complete 8-of-11 passes last year. There’s not much he can’t do. He was also a first team all-3A pick in basketball. We expect him to have a big year managing the Thunder offense. Henry was also an all-state pick at defensive back last season.
Braden Howell, Bishop Carroll, 6-2 195 Sr.
Howell is an all-state caliber quarterback headed into 2017 after he threw for over 2,000 yards as a junior last fall. Carroll should have a bounce back year in 2017 and could be the team to beat on 5A West, however other contenders Wichita Heights and Goddard could have something to say about that.
Hunter Igo, Derby, 5-10 150 Sr.
We don’t know much on Igo because he was a sophomore last fall and wasn’t the starter. We however know that he’s the Derby quarterback. So what does that mean? Production and that he has to be good to be the Derby QB1. There was a point in time that we didn’t know who Dan Dawdy or Brady Rust were either. That will change fast. Igo is both a passer and a runner with equal strengths. He has exceptional speed at the QB position as well. Expect another big year for the Panthers in 6A as they look to reload. Derby is going for their fourth state title in five years in 6A.
Wyatt Lange, Valley Center, 6-1 180 Sr.
Lange was a big reason Valley Center had a huge turnaround last season and went 9-2. He passed for over 1,600 with 17 TD to go along with over 500 more on the ground with eight touchdowns.
Cody McNerney, Wichita Collegiate, 6-1 205 Sr.
McNerney had a breakout season last year for the Spartans and is one of the better multiple-sport athletes in Kansas. He was an All-3A pick in basketball last year as well as an all-state pick in football. Collegiate will be a team to contend on 4A-II West in 2017. He passed for over 2,200 yards and 25 touchdowns while rushing for over 600 more. Mac Copeland, a KU commit at offensive line, returns to protect McNerney. McNerney may be one of the most undderrated multiple sport athletes in the state.
Graham Mertz, BV North, 6-4 215 Jr.
How does Mertz get on the list without a high school start? Well he was sitting behind the KS Gatorade Player of the Year and could have very well been in the same position if he was the starter. Putz and Mertz were two of the best QB’s in the state on the same team. Mertz wanted opportunity so he left for BV North where he figures to make the Mustangs a contender in 6A this season. He has an offer from KU without starting a high school varsity football game. There’s a ton of hype on Mertz headed into this season so look for big things for the junior QB in 2017. He will get an opportunity to prove himself against some of the best defenses in Kansas week in and week out, including games against Aquinas, Blue Valley and Miege within the first four weeks. Look for a big year for the 2019 product.
Jayden Price, Mulvane, 6-1 180 Sr.
Price is perhaps the fastest QB in this bunch with 10.7 FAT 100-meter dash speed and has impressed at camps all summer, earning him a few FCS offers. He has accounted for 69 touchdowns the last two seasons as a starter and over 5,500 combined yards. The Mulvane dual-threat will look for another big season in 2017 and could be one of the best athletes in the Wichita area for 2017-2018. Don’t be surprised if a FBS offer generates this season for Price as an ATH or WR position.
Carter Putz, Bishop Miege, 6-0 180 Sr.
What more can be said about Putz that already hasn’t? Well if you don’t know him, he is the reigning Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year and has won the last two 4A-I state titles as a starting QB as the Stags look for their fourth consecutive in 4A-I. He is just seven touchdown passes away from beating the all-time mark of 92 in a career by Shannon Kruger of Silver Lake. He has passed for 6,492 yards in his career with 86 touchdowns and could also become the state’s all-time passing leader this season as well. It does help when you have guys like Jafar Armstrong in the past but not bad for a guy who was in a quarterback battle at this time two seasons ago. Putz has committed to play baseball at Notre Dame.
Jace Ruder, Norton, 6-3 205 Sr.
Ruder is the most recruited QB we have seen in Kansas in quite some time, maybe since the days of Blake Bell (Bishop Carroll/Oklahoma). The senior is still looking for that big time all-state caliber of season and this could be the year. There’s no question he looks the part and can perform at a very high level. He is a North Carolina commit after being recruited and offered by nearly every conference in the country. He has 4.45 speed in the 40 and is the defending state champion in the 300 hurdles. How explosive of a kid is Ruder? He is a high school QB with around a 160-foot toss in the discus, which got him second in 3A in 2017. He can get it done with his legs or his arm and will look to make Norton a contender in 3A.
Hooper Schroeder, Sedgwick, 6-0 155 Jr.
Schroeder had a big sophomore campaign in which he threw for over 1,800 yards in 10 games last season. They return several key pieces for 2017 so Schroeder should be able to match if not go beyond his numbers from a season ago with the return of Brayden Francis. He is the top returnee by passing yardage in 2-1A from 2016.
Will Swanson, Aquinas, 5-10 175 Sr.
Swanson rushed for 774 yards and 15 touchdowns while throwing for 1,423 more with 13 scores. He will need to get his TD/INT (13/8) ratio down but Swanson could be a dual-threat to watch for in 2017 as Aquinas will look for their first ever state title. The EKL is loaded in 2017 but so are the Saints.
Spencer Stewart, SM Northwest, 5-9 165 Sr.
Stewart had a breakout season as a sophomore and eclipsed the 2,000 yard mark last season in just nine games. The junior gunslinger should be one of the top playmakers in the Sunflower League this season. He’s little but he can sling it all over the place.
Dalton Sporing, Burlingame, 5-10 165 Sr.
You can’t have a complete list in Kansas unless you involved all ranks and Sporing gets the nod from the 8-man ranks. Sporing had 64 touchdowns last season and 2,500 combined yards. He has 69 career passing touchdowns and 48 career rushing touchdowns. He has 3,485 career passing with another 1,985 on the ground. He also has 31 2-point conversion scores in his career, there’s not much Sporing can’t do. He is recovering from injury at the moment but should be geared up and ready to go after the first couple weeks of the season.
Blake Sullivan, Goddard, 6-0 185 Sr.
Sullivan led the Lions to the 5A state title game last season, losing in double OT to Mill Valley in Pittsburg last November. Then a junior, he rushed for over 1,400 yards and threw for over 1,600 more on the way to 45 combined touchdowns. We feel like Sullivan has the ability to lead Goddard on another deep run and return some nice key pieces up front from 2016.
Colton Terhune, Conway Springs, 5-11 175 Sr.
Terhune is not the biggest guy on this list but he is definitely one of the strongest. He put up 19 reps of 185 at a combine last spring and also looked great in passing drills. Conway Springs is run heavy but Terhune has the ability to get it done with his feet and through the air. Last season he rushed for 823 yards with 16 touchdowns, while passing for 537 more with five more scores. Terhune has added about two inches and 15 pounds since the beginning of the 2016 season.
Dawson Williams, Dodge City, 6-4 205 Sr.
Williams got it done on the ground last season with over 1,600 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns. Dodge went 5-4 last season and will look to contend in the WAC in 2017.
Others to Watch:
Sheldon Hubert (Rossville), Jacob Salmans (Hodgeman Co.), Skylur Merritt (Wakefield), Koy Brack (Great Bend), Mason Griffin (Silver Lake), Caden Kinderknecht (Northern Valley), Devante Hammer (Pike Valley), Nate Henneha (Central Christian), Brady Beogher (Stockton), Haden Gibson (Winfield), Trevor Pierce (Argonia-Attica), Collin Kisner (Victoria), Trey Sides (Phillipsburg), Jack Schneider (Marion), Jack Blumer (Marysville), Landen Struder (Pratt), Ridge Smith (Columbus), Trey White (Baxter Springs), Tanner Schrag (Nickerson), Zach Hart (Colby), Sam Hardin (Wichita Trinity), Zac Schneider (Ellsworth), Andrew Clark (Chaparral), Kaden Kleiner (Hillsboro), Chance Whitehad (Augusta), Bryce Mohl (DeSoto), Dylan Mussett (Basehor Linwood), Jaelon Harley (KC Turner), Colton Oakes (Bonner Springs), Cade Miller (West Elk), Alex Howard (KC Washington), Austin Jantz (South Gray), Cade Addis (Cherryvale), Kolby Stein (Spearville), Quinn Buessing (Axtell), Ty Bowman (Chanute), Tristen Haynes (Minneola), Casey Lanoue (Salina South), Darius Russell (Wichita North), Tarik Adkins (Wichita SE), Devin Ryan (Central Plains), Myles Menges (Central Plains), Lane Coulter (Circle), Easton Dean (Labette County), Micah Grover (Cheney), Tucker Kimball (Osage City), Jaxon Webb (Oskaloosa), Anderson Maddox (SM East)