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Sports in Kansas: 25 Defensive Backs to Watch for 2019

Jordan Finnesy is looking for a huge year for 1A Plainville (photo: Nick McQueen)
By: Sports in Kansas - Chet Kuplen
Sep 3, 2019

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Several defensive backs 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 Defensive Backs (CB, FS, SS) To Watch for 2019



Trevion Mitchell, Maize South, Sr.; Tysaac Noland, Maize South, Sr.

Mitchell has 4.4-4.5 handheld speed in the 40-yard dash and is a returning All-5A selection at defensive back for the Mavericks. He could be the top returning defensive back in all of Kansas. Much of the headlines have went to Mitchell but Tysaac Noland had a huge junior year in which he earned second team all-league honors.

Trey Krause, Olathe West, Jr.

Krause had 118 tackles last year in leading Olathe West to their first ever semifinal appearance in their first ever year of varsity football. Krause was a second team non-senior pick from Sports in Kansas and also earned Team MVP honors on defense as a sophomore.

Adrian Mannie, Andover, Sr.; Bridger Warrington, Andover Central, Sr.

Mannie has nice nice speed in the 4.5-4.6 hand-held range for the Trojans as he returns after earning second team all-league honors one season ago. He should be one of the top corners in Wichita for 2019. Warrington is back after earning second-team all-league honors last season for the Jaguars.

Scotti Easter, Andale, Sr.; Easton Hunter, Andale, Sr.

Easter had 96 tackles last year for the Indians who lost to Pratt in the state semifinals as he went on to earn all-state honors in 3A. Easter has 4.5-4.6 range speed and is looking for a huge year for the Indians. Hunter, who doubles as the quarterback, is also a very solid defensive back earning second team all-league honors last season. Although more known as a basketball player you should expect a big year out of him on both sides of the ball.

Malik Berry, Free State, Sr.

Berry has the size to be either linebacker or strong safety/free safety positions. He’s an athlete that is a hybrid on the defensive side of the ball in addition to being a quarterback. He will be one of the top players in 6A this season and has offers at the FBS level.

Dallas Williams, DeSoto, Sr.; Shane Watts, DeSoto, Sr.

Williams earned second team Non-Senior honors last season from Sports in Kansas while Watts is a hard hitting safety that can play FS or SS that had 68 stops and three interceptions last year.

Jordan Finnesy, Plainville, Sr.

Although more 1A picks are listed below Finnesy is one of the top two-way players in the state doubling as an all-state quarterback. He was an all-state all-classes non-senior pick from Sports in Kansas one year ago and is also a returning state wrestling champion.  Finnesy picked off eight passes last season for the Cardinals.

Davonte Pritchard, Gardner Edgerton, Jr.; Tayzahn Crough, Gardner Edgerton, Sr.

Pritchard should be a junior to look for in Kansas this season as the Blazers return players all over the place. Depdning on where Crough plays he could also shine as a defensive back and the same can be said for Athlete Teven McKelvey if used on defense. Gardner has some dudes and several more are listed below on the others to watch. 

Dalton Miller, Great Bend, Sr.

Miller may be asked to do some on offense this year as well but has been one of the best defensive backs in 5A over the last two football seasons earning all-state honors in each of the last two seasons. He is also a two-time All-WAC pick.

Kendall Brewer, Schlagle, Sr.

Brewer finished fourth in the state in the 100 meters last year and had five interceptions returned for touchdeowns last season. He will be a highlight reel once again for F.L. Schlagle.

Beau Palmer, Blue Valley, Sr.; Caden McCumber, Blue Valley, Sr.

Palmer has the size to be a linebacker at 6-3 210 at the next level and could fit into schemes at linebacker again this season although earned all-state honors at defensive back last season. He is a hybrid type that can play all of the linebacker or defensive back positions if needed. McCumber is back after an all-league honorable mention campaign in the defensive backfield for the Tigers in 2018.

Hezekiah Newman, Olathe East, Sr.

Newman is a 6-foot-1 and 175-pound senior that earned all-league honors one season ago for the Hawks. He should be one of the top defensive backs in Kansas City for 2019.

Justin Powell, Bishop Carroll, Sr.; Dalton Nichols, Bishop Carroll, Sr.

Powell is back for state power Carroll after earning first team all-league honors in the city at cornerback one year ago. Expect a big senior season. Nichols is back for Carroll after earning all-league honors as a safety in 2018.

Kordon Harris, Aquinas, Sr.; Terrence Collins, Aquinas, Sr.

Harris was a first team non-senior from Sports in Kansas in 2018 after intercepting three passes last year for the 5A state champion Saints. He was also All-EKL first team. Collins is also primed for a big senior year after earning honorable mention honors in the states best league a season ago.

Jakob Feil, McPherson, Sr.; Kaleb Hoppes, McPherson, Sr.

Feil is a gamer whether that is on special teams or a hard-hitting defensive back that had five interceptions one yar ago. He may not pass the eye test on size but flip on his HUDL and see what the kid can do. He could also be expected to carry the ball on offense in 2019. Hoppes is a returning second team all-league choice that is looking for a breakout senior year and gets it done in the weight room. Although hit by graduation there are several pieces back that will once again make McPherson a contender in 4A.

Gage Girk, South Central, Sr.; Nassun Wasson Madison, Jr.; Landon Everett, Canton Galva, Sr.; Tyson Struber, Canton Galva Soph.; Brady Dinkel, St. Francis Sr.; Brock West, Maranatha Christian, Sr.; Adam Albertini, St. Paul, Sr., Rylee Welchel, Rock Hills, Sr; Darrien Holloway, Osborne, Sr.

Girk is more known as one of the best kickers in the state but had a breakout year last season with over 90 tackles and 11 interceptions in the 8-man ranks. Wasson picked off five passes last season for Madison. Madison is a major contender this season in 8M-I. Everett and Struber are two of the top two-way players returning in the 8M-I classification and each had 10 interceptions in 2018. Dinkel is back for his fourth year as a starter at St. Francis and will be one of the best two-way players in the 8-man ranks. West is one of the top 8-man receivers in the state but also doubles as a solid defender as he picked off five passes a year ago for Maranatha. Albertini is a lockdown corner that can play most spots on the defensive side of the ball but more known as one of the best 8-man offensive players in the state. Whelchel is an athletic hybrid that could play linebacker or defensive back and looking for a huge year for Rock Hills. Holloway is one of the best running backs back in the classification but could get college looks in the secondary. He is also a four time state champion hurdler heading into his senior year. 

Andrew Lomshek, Colgan, Sr.; Kamble Haverkamp, Centralia Sr.; Luke Parks, Ell-Saline, Sr.

1A has some solid defensive backs back for 2019. Lomshek had a breakout junior campaign in which he led the team in interceptions with four. He earned second team all-area honors in Southeast Kansas one season ago. Haverkamp, who doubles as the quarterback at Centralia, was one of the states top defensive backs in the classification one year ago and will look to be one of the best two-way players in 1A. Parks is back after a first team all-league season for Ell-Saline and is the only returning all-league defensive back in the Heart of America that earned first team honors. Sawyer Kramer and Treyton Peterson are also back for Ell-Saline.

Jamar Martin, Wichita Northwest Sr.; Tavi Agnew, Wichita East, Sr.

Martin is back after a first team all-league season last year as the Grizzlies took second in 5A. He also returns with Jared Givens and Malcom Bell who could have big years for the Grizzlies defense now led by Marc Marinelli who was the head coach at Eisenhower. Agnew earned all-league honors last year and could be a breakout player to watch for in the City League this season.  

Cael Johnson, Burlington, Sr.; Durbie McReynolds, Girard, Sr.; Dariq Williams, Parsons, Sr.; Vincent Palen, Beloit Sr.; Riley Petz, Cheney, Sr.

3A has some solid players back this season that could emerge and here are some of them. These are also some multiple sport kids whether that be all-state caliber wrestlers or all-state basketball players. Johnson had over 70 tackles and four interceptions last year for the Wildcats and is also one of the top returning wrestlers in the state of Kansas in his classification. McReynolds has great size (6’2” 180 pounds), and athleticism to play any defensive back spot and could even be recruited as a linebacker with his length. He is a lockdown corner for the Trojans and should be one of the best defensive backs in 3A this season. Williams would be a combo pick with teammate Daquan Johnson but Johnson is out for the season with an injury this summer and was likely the top returning 4A/3A multiple sport athlete in the state. However, Dariq is the real deal and should expect a huge season for him on both sides of the football with his athleticism. He’s also an elite return man. Palen, an all-state basketball player, could emerge as an all-state caliber player at either receiver or corner this season. He returns for his third year as a starter. Petz should emerge as one of the best two-way players in the class this season and had four interceptions one year ago. 

TyQuez Agnew-Whitten, Bishop Miege; Rishi Rattan, Bishop Miege

Miege is going for their sixth straight state title either in the 4A or 4A-I ranks. Agnew-Whitten might be the most versatile player in the state this season and is a returning all-state selection from last season. He could play in a variety of spots. Rattan is a ball-hawk that led the EKL in interceptions (8) one season ago. Expect a big year for both of them.

Nalell Kapten, Goddard, Sr.; Chance Omli, Goddard Eisenhower, Sr.

The city of Goddard always has playmakers and here are a couple in the defensive backfield. Kapten picked off five passes one year ago for the Lions on their way to a 5A runner-up finish. Kapten is a returning all-state selection as a non-senior last season. Omli is back after earning all-league honors last season for

Brandon Arhart, KC Piper, Jr.; Brandon Snell, KC Piper Jr.

Arhart was a first team All-4A pick a season ago for the Pirates. KC Piper returns a solid cast with players like Arhart and Brandon Martin who led Kansas in tackles last season at linebacker. Snell is a very physical defensive back that is also a nice return man. He is also a medalist in state track and field last season.

Beau Baumgardner, Emporia, Sr.; Nate Hanson, Manhattan, Sr.; Shawn Marquis, Washburn Rural, Sr.

Centennial League will have some talent back for 2019. Baumgardner is a hybrid that can play outside backer or defensive back. He earned All-Centennial League honors last season as he picked off four passes. Hanson earned all-league honors as a second teamer for Manhattan after a nice season in 2018. Marquis also earned second team all-league honors for Washburn Rural.

Torrey Horak, Rossville, Soph.; Ty Sides, Phillipsburg, Jr.; Nic Allen, Riley County, Sr.; Bray Davies, Riverside, Jr.; Tyler Gerety, Nemaha Central, Sr.

2A should have some talent back for 2019. Be on the lookout for the next Horak. He had four interceptions as a freshman one year ago and could be expected to do some big things for the Dawgs this year. Sides had three interceptions last year as a sophomore for the 2A state champion Panthers. With brother Trey gone to Division I basketball Sides will be expected to be one of the leaders as a junior this fall on both sides of the ball. Allen will be expected to do big things this year for Riley County. Shrine Bowl selection Tristan Kulp is gone but Allen was one of the key players last season that will be one of the top safetys in the 2A classification after playing corner in 2018. Davies transferred to Riverside this season after playing at Troy in 2018 where he had nine interceptions on his way to a first team 1A all-state nod a season ago. Gerety had five interceptions last season to lead the Thunder and is looking for a big year in 2019. 

Dasan McCullough, Blue Valley North, Soph.; Mario Sanchez, Olathe North, Jr.; Marco Collins, Blue Valley North; Daeh McCullough, BV North, Fr.

McCullough is a four-star recruit already and has several offers at the next level. His older brother, Deland, is currently a freshman at Miami (OH) while his younger brother Dae, a corner, could also make the list but has not yet played a high school game. Their dad, Deland, is the Kansas City Chiefs running backs coach. They will be two of the younger players in the state to watch for in 2019. Sanchez is expected to have a huge season for Olathe North this year in a very talented group of defensive backs. Marco Collins is a senior that is a rishing talent for the North Mustangs.

Mason Perez, Larned, Sr.; Scott Grider, Halstead, Sr.

The CKL has some experience back in the secondary. Perez is a freak athlete at the free safety position and is one of the most underrated players in Kansas. He has 4.53 speed in the 40 (handheld) and a 35-inch vertical at 6-foot-2 and 180-pounds. Look for a huge season for Perez on both sides of the ball. Scott Grider of Halstead should be one of the better two-way players in the league this season as he doubles as an all-state running back and all-league defensive back.

Who will step up in AVTCL-I? Derby defensive backs, A.J. Johnson – Salina South Jr.; Gage Prestor, Salina Central, Sr.

We will make the Derby team a pick here as we don’t know who yet their breakout players will be as they were hit heavy by graduation as they always are. Johnson and Prestor are the only returning first or second team all-league picks from last season plus Tayezahn Crough, a highly recruited athlete who could play defensive back, has transferred from Hutchinson to Gardner Edgerton. We know Derby will have an all-state caliber defensive backfield its just a matter of who it will be as they graduated every player (Hunter Igo, Dax Benway etc.) that earned all-state honors at the position from a year ago. The same could be said about the Derby linebacking crew. Brecken Kooser and Tanner Knox are players that have some experience and should shine in 2019.

Two-Way Players if Needed?

Ky Thomas – Topeka, Tayezahn Crough – Gardner Edgerton, Teven McKelvey – Gardner Edgerton, Syris Dunlap – Liberal, Hayden Brown – Hays. These guys could end up on this side of the ball in college if needed but it depends on how their school will use them in 2019. If they do play both ways there’s no question they would be on the list.

Others Top Defensive Backs to Watch:

A.J. Johnson – South, Bridger Warrington – Andover Central, Gage Presster – Salina Central,  Jared Givens -Wichita Northwest, Malcom Bell – Wichita Northwest, Hunter Yager – Scott City, Peyton Winter – Conway Springs, Kaleb Baudura – Rossville, Cameron Beardsley – Valley Heights, Larry Cherry – Wichita Southeast, Jairus Kennedy – Kapaun, J’Qwon Johnson – Wichita West, Janus Gilber – Wichita West, Michael Shelton – Wichita South, Nickendre Stiger – Wichita East, Jaron Tolefree – Heights, Trevor Whiteman – Udall, Sheldon Whalen – Leoti Wichita Co., Mario Sanchez – Olathe North, Rolis Loya – Golden Plains, Reece Jacobs – SE Cherokee, Steele Wolters – Osborne, Devin Whitworth – Leavenworth, Dameion Hatten – Sedan, Jack Caudle – Maur Hill, Quinn Buessing – Axtell, Conor Haviland – Humboldt, Trenton Colby – Smith Center, Griffin Kugler – Smith Center, Sam Roark – Pittsburg (DB/LB), Wes Clark – SM West, Nate Burdette – Maranatha, Ellis Slack – Oakley, Ethan Abell – Oakley, Ethan Jameson – Labette County, Devonte Lock – KC Harmon, Myles Nash – Olathe South,  Treyton Shepherd – Buhler, Jacob Chugg – Collegiate, Caleb Mader – Mulvane, Seth Teague – Cheney, Riley Petz – Cheney, Noah Salazar – Nickerson, Sawyer Kramer – Ell Saline, Treyton Peterson, Qayden Shepherd – Sedgwick, Caleb Lambert – Central Christian, Grant Fussell – Bishop Miege, Caden McCumber – Blue Valley, Khalil Allen – Blue Valley North, Marco Collins – Blue Valley North, Jake Cummings – BV West, Beau Grable – St. James, Drew Cassida – Gardner Edgerton, Dayvin Johnson – Gardner Edgerton, Ethan Reynolds – Gardner Edgerton, Cole Mondi – Lawrence, Grant Hall – Olathe Northwest, Zach Neher – SM South, Conner Hasz – Paola, Dejon Delgado – Dodge City, Cedric Rosales – Dodge City, Joey Blakesley – Washburn Rural, Connor Hoyt – Emporia, Tanner Barcus – Parsons, Lakin Farmer – Halstead, Justin Fountain Jr. – Miege, Ryan Erickson – Wamego, Austin Rosetta – De Soto, Bo Dilliner – Anderson County, Brecken Kooser - Derby, Tanner Knox - Derby, Dominic Berry - Topeka, Donyell Evans - Topeka, Grant Frost - Mill Valley, Jack McGuire - MIll Valley, Tanner Cash - Clearwater, Andrew Peters - Smoky Valley, Javon Allen - Bennington, Lawson Oeser - Central Plains, Lance Teal - Oswego, Jace Wilson - Oswego, 

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