Several DEs, DTs, NGs return after having big seasons in 2019. Check out who to watch in 2020 from the most complete list in Kansas by the most trusted source in sports information in Kansas. 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, 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 Sign Brothers, Nex-Tech Wireless, American Implement and Mammoth Sports Consturction. Be on the lookout for our postseason honors after the 2020 season on who will be the Top 100 seniors in Kansas and who will make the Sports in Kansas All Non-Senior Team, Player of the Year honors etc. 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 and don't rank players just to sell a subsription to an online service that cost, WE ARE FREE and a trusted source. If you ever have a player that you think we should take a look at be sure to DM @sportsinkansas or email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Several player evaluations landed major offers over the last nine football seasons.
Sports in Kansas: 25 Defensive Lineman (DT, NG, DE) to Watch for 2020
(LIST IS NOT RANKED OR IN ANY ORDER)
Damian Illalio, Manhattan, Sr. DL
Illalio is one of the states best players as he returns after earning Non-Senior First Team honors last season. He was also the Centennial League Defensive Player of the Year. Ilallio has committed to Kansas State. He’s a big-time talent.
Landon Dean, Frontenac, Jr. DE & the Frontenac Defensive Line
Dean who stands 6-foot-4 and a half along with 230-pounds is one of the top returning defensive ends in the state for the Class of 2022. He has offers from Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Eastern Michigan. Dean isn’t the only one to make the list here from FHS though. Frontenac started four sophomores last fall and all are impact players. Cruz Blair doubles as an all-state offensive lineman and defensive lineman. Lane Franklin is expecting a huge junior season and has really added great size in the last year and a half. To round out the list, the Raiders best two-way player this year may be Colin McCartney who was an all-league defensive end last season although could make the move to a linebacker or defensive back as he will also be the Raiders quarterback. In our opinion, Frontenac has the best returning 3A defensive line in Kansas. The most special thing about this group is they are unselfish.
Gaven Haselhorst, Hays, Sr. DE, Trey Adams, Hays, Sr. DE
Haselorst blew up this summer as he landed an offer to Kansas State where he committed. He is one of the most powerful players in the state. Adams has size off the page at 6-foot-6 and 230-pounds. Expect Hays to have one of the best defenses in 5A along with Gavin Meyers at linebacker, Jaren Kanak as an ATH and Tucker Veach at DB.
Collin Williams, Bishop Miege, Jr. DE, Angel Franco, Bishop Miege, Jr. DL
Williams was a first team non-senior pick from Sport in Kansas last fall. He will look to lead a Stag defense that has won the last six state titles in 4A. He has great size at 6-foot-4 and 230-pounds. Franco is very underrated and will be another nice piece to go on the Miege line after earning honorable mention all-league last season in the states best league.
Javyn Hill, McPherson, Jr. DE/DT
Hill, who we just got word on this week, arrived in McPherson after moving from an Air Force Base in Germany. You lose Cody Stufflebean to KSU and you gain a 6’4” 245-pound transfer who will be just a junior. He is also a TE and could see time at multiple spots on the defensive. We know Mac is expecting big things.
Sterling Smithson, Blue Valley, Sr. DL, Clayton Power, Blue Valley, Sr. DL, Avion Jones, Blue Valley, Jr. DL
Smithson and Power will be a big-time duo this season in the Eastern Kansas League. Blue Valley has a lot of pieces back that make them a legitimate contender in 6A for 2020. Jones was an honorable mention all-league pick last season as a junior and is expecting a big senior year.
Ethan Kremer, Mill Valley, Sr. DL, Cole Knappen, Mill Valley, Sr. DE
Kremer is likely the best two-way lineman in the state. He has been an all-state player on both sides of the ball since his freshman year. He is also a two-time state wrestling champion. He may not have the elite size recruiters look for but he’s going to make whatever college recruiter that takes him a smart guy. He reminds us a lot of Will Geary (Topeka/KSU) in high school. Kremer is very-good. While Knapper doesn’t have the headlines as Kremer does we are still expecting a big year for him as one of the top defenders to play in the Sunflower League this season. He has 6-foot-2 and 245-pound size at DE.
Dylan Gillispie, Lawrence, Sr. DL, Alec Younggren, Olathe South
These two were the only two juniors named to the coaches all-league list last season on the first team as defensive lineman. Gillipsie was a first team All-Sunflower pick last season and is expecting a big senior season. Younggren is expecting a big senior season for the Falcons.
Sa’O Siavi’l, Aquinas, Soph., Caiden Reeves, Aquinas, Sr., Jalen Marshall, Aquinas, Jr.
All three of these players are talented recruits and all-state caliber entering this season. Siavi’l was a non-senior pick last season as a freshman as was Reeves as a junior. Marshall has multiple FBS offers entering his junior year as a 6-foot-4 and 260-pound junior.
Kyle Haas, Maize, Sr. DL
Haas, who can play multiple spots on defense, is pound-for-pound the toughest player in the state. Nationally ranked as a wrestler that has committed to Oklahoma state he has 6-foot-2 and 230-pound size at the position, when not in wrestling weight. Expect a huge year for a very physical player.
Zach Daher, Wichita Northwest, Sr. DE, Nate Carter, Wichita Nortwest, Jr. DT
Daher has great sizt at 6-foot-4 and 235-pounds as he enters as one of the best defensive ends in the state. He has over 20 offers from the FCS or FBS levels. Power 5 schools didn’t get the opportunity to see him this summer otherwise you may see multiple Big 12 offers. This kid is the real deal. Carter has started at Northwest on either offense or defense since he was a freshman. He is one of the strongest players in the state with over a 400-pound bench. Expect a big junior season.
Hunter Engle, Madison, Sr.
Engle is the top returning defensive lineman in the 8-man ranks this season. He also doubles as a running back. He may not have the size (5’11” 200) recruiters love at the position but he could also play linebacker or fullback in college if needed. He has a 330 clean and 415 squat. He’s a very explosive player in 8-man football. Expect a huge year for him and his team as a heavy contender in 8M-I. Chase Harrison, who is also an all-state basketball player from SIK, is also back at the other defensive end spot for Madison.
Treydon Talley, Centralia, Jr. , Kolby Talbot, Axtell, Sr. , Jarik Weiche, Clifton-Clyde, Sr.
Talley, who is 6-foot-3 and 245-pounds, earned all-state honors as a sophomore last season as the Panthers captured the 1A state title. Expect a big year for him in 2020 after earning Non-Senior honors from Sports in Kansas in 2019. Not too far away from Centralia, Axtell senior Kolby Talbot is looking for a big year after earning all-state honors as a junior for his state runner-up team last fall. Talbot has 237 tackles at nose guard the last two seasons. Weiche is another 8-man player like Talbot that is one of the best retuning defensive lineman in his classification.
Logan Brown, Iola, Sr. DL, Brayden Dillow, Chanute, Sr. DL
Brown is likely the most under the radar defensive lineman in the state that a lot of people don’t know about. He has 4.8 speed at 260-pound and 6-foot-1. He is also the 285-pound wrestling champ in 4A last season. He is a very, very talented individual. Dillow, like Brown, is also a state wrestling champion from nearby Chanute. He is one of the top two-way players in Southeast Kansas for 2020. Although undersized at the position he is one of the toughest players in the state.
Hagan Booi, Colby, Sr. DE, Oz Perez Holcomb, Sr. DL, Gabe Bowers, Scott City, Sr. DL.
GWAC is solid once again. It seems like Booi has been around for a long time due to his success in both wrestling and football. He was a first team all-conference pick last season and is expecting a huge year for the Eagles in 2020. Perez doubles as a preseason to watch player for Holcomb on both the offensive and defensive line. Bowers also doubles as a preseason to watch pick on both sides. This league is no joke and has some very talented players back in 2020.
Tavian Mack, Ark City, Jr. DL
Mack was a first team all-state selection in 4A football last season as a sophomore. He also earned Non-Senior all-state honors from Sports in Kansas.
Danny Saili, Jefferson West, Jr. DL
Saili weighs 365 pounds and is 6-foot-4. He returns as one of the best interior junior lineman in the state. Gone is his older brother, Kauli, off last years team but back is his other older brother Pene, last seasons SIK 3A DPOY. Good luck blocking those two this season.
Sterling Harp, SE Saline, Sr. DL, Dane Whalen, Osage City, Sr. DL
Just like the offensive line list these two stud wrestlers are also weight room warriors and returning all-state picks in the 2A classification. Expect a big year for the both of them.
Charlie Timmons, Smith Center, Sr. DL
Timmons was an all-state pick and all-league pick last season for the state runner-up Redmen. It’s never a complete list it seems unless someone from Smith Center is on it.
Lance Bassett, Piper, Soph. DE
Bassett was a second team all-league pick in the Frontier last season as a freshman, a very rare feat. He is also now 6-foot-4 and 250-pounds. Also expect a big year for Tony Cobbs who is a state powerlifting champion.
Sean Urban, Perry Lecompton, Sr. DL, Konner Tannahill, Holton, Sr. DL
Urban earned all-state honors as a junior last season for PL who was the 3A state runner-up. The majority of last years team is back so expect big things for the Kaws. Urban has 6-foot-2 and 275-pound size. Tannahill, who plays in the same league, is also looking for a huge year after earning all-state honors on the defensive line for Holton as a junior last fall.
Cayden Winter, Andale, Sr. DL
Winter, a standout wrestler that also made the offensive line list, is a returning all-state selection in 3A. Expect a big year for him once again in 2020.
Kenny Fehrman, Wellington, Sr. DL
Fehrman is one of the strongest players in the state with a 500 squat, 405 bench and a 40 time in the 4.9-5.0 range. He’s also a very good wrestler and very physical football player. He is close to 6-foot-3 and 255-pounds. He is still under the radar but there’s a lot of potential here as he’s college-senior strong.
Christien Hawks, Norton, Sr. DL
Hawks is a dominating lineman in the state on both sides, maybe one of the most dominating in all-classes. There’s a reason the Jayhawks have him committed. He has great size at almost 6-foot-5 and 262-pounds. He helped lead his team to a runner-up finish in 2A last season.
Kody Schalk, Columbus, Jr. DT, Tyler Little, Galena, Soph. DE
We hyped up the Frontenac defensive line for good reason but it’s not just them in the CNC that have talent. Schalk, who also made the offensive line list, is 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds as he enters his junior year. Little, an all-state basketball player, is expecting to be one of the best two-way football players in Southeast Kansas this year as just a sophomore. He has great size at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds.
Braden Rucker, Eureka, Sr. DL
Rucker is an under the radar player for 2A Eureka. He has great size at 6-foot-3 and 245-pounds with a 315 bench, 410 squat, and 280 clean. Very powerful and should turn heads this season in the smaller classes.
Dallas Bond, Tonganoxie, Sr. DE
Bond, who also made the TE list, is a returning all-state selection in 4A football. He is looking for a repeat selection this fall as one of the top two-way players returning.
Tai Newhouse, Free State, Jr. DT, Taegen Flynn, Lawrence, Sr. DE
These are two under the radar players in Lawrence that weren’t first team all-league picks last year that we think are very good players. Newhouse started every game as a sophomore for the Firebirds last season. He has great size at 6-foot-3 and 285-pounds. Very physical player. Flynn was a player we evaluated last season and we think has big upside. Lawrence has a very solid cast of players on both offensive and defensive lines. A lot of juniors played significant roles last year for the Chesty Lions.
Trey Nuzum, Garden City, Sr., Terrell Elliott, Garden City, Jr., Santonio Turner, Dodge City, Jr. , Aldo Avilas, Liberal, Jr. DL
Nuzum is likely the best defensive lineman in Western Kansas and has a Akron offer along with several offers from lower levels. He also made the offensive line list. His teammate Terrell Elliott has started since he was a freshman and just now a junior. Expect a big year for the both of them. Santonio Turner is a returning first team all-league selection last year as a sophomore as was Aldo Avilas of Liberal. The WAC has some talent in addition to all the talk on Hays.
Karsen Loader, Abilene, Sr. DL, Kale Hauserman, Clay Center, Sr. DL, Titus Tuiasasopo, Wamego, Sr. DL,
Loader and Hauserman both earned all-league first team honors in the NCKL last season and should expect big years. Both are very good two-way players. Tuiasasopo could also be a breakout player on the defensive line if needed with his 6-foot-2 and 280-pound size but is more known for being an all-league selection on offense.
Jesse Baxter, St. Francis, Adam Krien, St. Francis, Colton Neitzel, St. Francis
This trio is a nightmare for 8-man programs across the state and will be a heavy contender in 8M-II as they move down a Division after a runner-up finish last season. They also return Shadryon Blanka at linebacker making this one heck of a defensive unit.
Cole Herman, Halstead, Sr.
Herman was a two-way all-league selection last year and is expected to be one of the best two-way lineman in 3A this season. Expect a big year for Herman.
James Blick, Buhler, Sr. DT, David Waymire, Hutchinson, Sr. DL
Blick was a first team All-AVCTL-II pick last season as a junior. Buhler loses some key pieces but do return quite a bit as well as they look to be a breakout team in 4A this season. Waymire located in nearby Hutch is also on the radar this season. He is very strong with a 225 bench 22 times. He is looking to be a breakout player in the AVTCL-I this season
Harlan Obioha, Hoxie, Sr.
Obioha, who has several FBS offers, is 7-foot-0 and 300-pounds. He showed his athletic ability with an interception last year. He doubles as an all-state basketball player and is expected to be one of the best lineman in the state this season. He has some potential to get a lot better this season.
Others To Watch
Angel Franco – Maize, Avion Jones – Blue Valley, Amarion Wilkins – Heights, Lincoln Koehn – Wamego, Jarik Weiche – Clifton Clyde, Brennan Flavin – Pike Valley, Quintin Beeson – Republic County, Ethan Benne – Pike Valley, Ian Rosales – Colby, Peyon Wahlmeier – Colby, Colton Crook – Valley Heights, Chase Harrison – Madison, Ethan Janssen – Ottawa, Darrell Higgins – Eudora, Hunter Hess – Perry Lecompton, Lee Marshall – SM East, Tegan Flynn – Lawrence, Preston Greenwood – Lawrence, Dylan Gillispie – Lawrence, Brenden Barley – Wichita East, Tony Cobbs – Piper, Caden Vinduska – Rock Creek, Keyon Baccus – Minneaoplis, Michael Harris – SM Northwest, Caden Fields – Osawatomie, Jack Ryan – Bishop Carroll, Jackson Bradley – Campus, Leon Dixon – Wichita West, Adam Shipp – Wichita South, David Waymire – Hutchinson, Darius O’Connell – Manhattan, Kobe Poindexter – Olathe West, Brayden Wickliffe – Goddard, Will Devader – Hayden, Canon Karn – Holton DL/LB, Nathan Deters – Nemaha Central, Connor Pruyser – Silver Lake, Hunter Renick – Cimarron, Jack White – Riley County, Ben Rudeen – Mission Valley, Taylor Wamego – Jackson Heights, Tyler Henien – Centralia, Todd Palic – Marion, Colby Doyle – Jackson Heights, Dom Bevalacqua – Colgan, Josh Bowman – Medicine Lodge, Jayden Oquendo – Maranatha, Conner Ruff – Hodgeman Co., Jarik Weiche – Clifton Clyde, Ayden Nickelson – Hill City, Riley Schueneman – Doniphan West, Nathan Hale – Wichita Northwest, Adam Shipp – Wichtia South, Doug Bates – Kapaun, George Traglia – Kapaun, Bo Van Bruggen – Buhler, Curtis Landrum – McPherson, Sean Harris – Clearwater, Landon Ayres – Cheney, Dalton Freund – Kingman, Josh Ball – Hoisington, Jesus Calzada – Ell _ Saline, Keaton Pedigo – Hutch Trinity, Cameron Penny – Aquinas, Kobe Poindexter – Olathe West, Armondo De La Torre – Olathe East, Marco Floes – Olathe East, Christian Coggs – SM West, Peyton Rathbun – Plainville, Elias Monroe – Great Bend, Caleb Vandegrift – Scott City, Brayden Abrams – Jefferson West, Jack White – Riley County, Willie Kesinger – Maur Hill, Dalton Kellerman – Anderson County, Eric Schnurr – Washburn Rural, Charles Snyder – Emporia, Dee Wildeman – Girard, Eli Tucker – Girard, Ziwaun White – Shawnee Heights, Jon Johnson - De Soto, Zach White - De Soto, Ian Rosales - Colby, Beau Baker - Lyndon, Preston Greenwood - Lawrence,Connor Koehn - Canton Galva, Garrett Almond - Chanute
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