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Sports in Kansas: 25 Defensive Backs to Watch for 2020

Tyson Struber looking for a huge junior year. (Tina McMannis)
By: Sports in Kansas - Chet Kuplen
Aug 16, 2020

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Several DB's (FS, SS, CB) 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 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 nine football seasons. 

Sports in Kansas: 25 Defensive Backs (FS, CB, SS) 


Dasan McCullough, BV North, Jr. DB, Daeh McCullough, BV North, Soph. DB

Dasan McCullough is one of the top defensive backs in the country. Quite the football family as his oldest brother is at Miami (OH), has a younger brother also on this list (Daeh) and father is the running backs coach for the Chiefs. BV North has some big-time talent. One of the highest recruited Kansas players we’ve ever had at defensive back. While Dasan plays safety and has size off the charts (6’4.5” 220), Daeh will be a corner back with 6-foot-0 and 170-pound size. He has 16 offers according to 247 sports while Dasan has 43 offers.

Tyson Struber, Canton-Galva, Jr. DB

Struber, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 185 pounds, earned SIK 8M-I DPOY as a sophomore last fall. He is also one of the best receivers at any level in Kansas. Struber has offers from Kansas and Kansas State. Look for a huge junior season for him in 2020 for the defending 8M-I champions.

Darrel Jones, Coffeyville-Field Kindley, Sr. DB

One of the most under the radar players to blowing up here as of recent. Jones who features sub 4.4 handheld speed has committed to play cornerback for the Kansas State Wildcats. He is also a big-time receiver. He’s not just a speedster, he also gets it done in the weight room with a 225-bench 11-times. He also has a 40.7 inch vertical. Jones is the real deal.

Wetu Kolomu, Wichita Northwest, Sr. DB, Todric McGee, Wichita Northwest, Sr. DB

Kolumu is one of the top players in the state with multiple FBS offers. He had eight interceptions last year for the Grizzlies. McGee was a first team SIK Non-Senior pick last year and has multiple offers at the Division I level. One of the best, if not the best, defensive backfields in Kansas.

Andrew Bradley, BV West, Sr. DB

Bradley, who has over a 40-inch vertical, is a big-time talent in the EKL this season. He was a first team Non-Senior pick at Sports in Kansas last fall.

Trey Krause, Olathe West, Sr. DB

Krause, who features sub 4.5 speed, is a big-time playmaker that has been part of back to back Non-Senior teams at Sports in Kansas. He will be one of the best defenders in Kansas this fall.

Davonte Prichard, Gardner Edgerton, Sr. DB/LB/ATH

Prichard, who can play multiple spots, is a hybrid type player so was also on our linebackers list. He is a KSU commit looking for a big senior season after earning first team SIK All-Non senior last year.

Tyler Gerety, Nemaha Central, Sr. DB, Noah Nonnast, Sabetha, Sr. DB, Thad Metcalfe, Perry Lecompton, Sr., Bray Davies, Riverside, Sr. DB

Gerety can figure into multiple spots on each side of the ball and helped NC to a first ever state title in 2A last season. The KU baseball commit also was a second team SIK Non-Senior last fall. Nonnast and Metcalfe were the onlys other junior besides Gerety to earn first team all-league honors as a defensive back as a junior last fall. Expect a big year for him as Sabetha will rely on him and Drew Schmelzle to led the defense. Metcalfe is part of a loaded Perry Lecompton squad that features some of the best team speed in 3A football. Davies transferred from Troy after his sophomore season and sat out due to transfer last fall. He had nine interceptions as a sophomore in 2018.

Henry Burns, Sedgwick, Sr. DB, Cameron Beardsley, Valley Heights, Sr. DB

A couple of 1A players we expect to have big years. Burns is looking for a big season after earning second team non-senior honors last season. He had over 90 tackles for the Cardinals. They should be a team to watch once again in 1A. Cameron Beardsley had a breakout junior season on both sides of the football as VH looks to be a team to beat in 1A. He was an all-league selection on both sides of the ball.

A.J. Johnson, Salina South, Sr. DB, Que Hill, Salina South, Sr. DB, Jaxson Gebhardt, SE Saline, Sr. DB

Salina has some talent in 2020. Johnson, who is 6-foot-3 and 185-pounds, is long and athletic. He is a second team non-senior pick last season at Sports in Kansas. Hill, who not many know about because he’s not had much on field time, is a rising prospect with how he tested this past weekend in Salina. He had a 4.45 and 4.49 HH time in the 40 as well as a 38” vertical and 10’ in the broad jump. This should be a duo to circle for 2020 as South looks to be improved.

L.J. Butcher, Pittsburg, Sr. DB

Butcher has 4.5-4.6 range speed and will be a key player in multiple spots for the Dragons. The lockdown corner has great size at 6’0” and 180-pounds. His brother, Jerek, was a Sports in Kansas Finalist for 4A DPOY two seasons ago.

Tanner Knox, Derby, Sr. DB, Corey Akins, Derby, Jr. DB

Knox was a second team all-non senior pick at SIK last season and is expecting another big year. Derby returns a solid cast of defenders for 2020 and has arguably been the states best program over the last 10 years. Akins has generated some hype in the offseason with a 4.54 40 and 36” vertical entering his junior year. Expect a bigger role for him after having 23 tackles and an interception last season.

Freshman 8-man players showed out last season, plus more 8-man picks. Jett Vincent, Wheatland/Grinnell, Soph., Isaac Detweiler, Axtell, Soph., Devan McEwen, Lebo, Sr. DB, SHeldon Whalen, Wichita County, Sr. DB, Edwin Rodriguez, Ness City, Sr., Jayden Garrison, Little River, Sr. FS 

Not often a sophomore or sophomore’s would get on a list like this, especially one from the 8-man level. If you get 13 or 7 interceptions in a season, you’re going to make the list and that’s exactly what Vincent (13) and Detweiler (7) did as freshman last fall. Detweiler will also double as the signal caller for Axtell replacing the great Quinn Buessing. One of the states top small school basketball players is also one of the top 8-man football players. He had six interceptions last season from his free safety spot. He is also projected to be one of the top playmakers on offense at the 8-man level. Whalen had six interceptions last season on the way to leading his team to the 8M-I semis at Wichita County. Rodriguez missed all of last year with an injury but was one of the best 8-man defensive backs in the state as a sophomore in 2018 earning unanimous All-CPL which features some of the best players in the state. Garrison is one of the best multiple sport athletes in the state at the 8M and 1A level. We expect him to be an all-state candidate in 8M-I on both sides of the ball. With Garrison and Graham Stephens back it could be a big year for Little River. 

Lakin Farmer, Halstead, Sr. DB

Farmer, a free safety, is looking for a big senior season as he picked up seven interceptions as a junior last season. He could also move to running back and has played quarterback in the past. Farmer is a very versatile player and some key pieces with him, Doug Grider and Cole Herman return for 2020.

Nic Allen, Riley County, Sr. DB, Trey Harmison, Riley County, Sr. DB, Layne Hurla, Rossville, Sr., Torrey Horak, Rossville, Jr., Bo Reeves, Rossville, Sr., Dawson Schultz, Wabaunsee, Sr. DB, Lane Musselman, Clay Center, Jr. DB, Caden Brinegar, Marysville, Sr. DB

Mid-East League and NCK League always product small school talent. Allen who missed last season with injury is expected to be one of the top playmakers in 3A on defense this season. Expect a big year for Allen, who has 4.6 speed and a 32-inch vertical, on both sides of the football. Riley County has been a big-time factor in 2A the last two seasons as they go up a class and move to the west bracket. Hurla was a first team all Mid-East league selection at defensive back, the lone junior on last years squad. Horak had six interceptions last year and may be more known as a quarterback but also had 80 plus tackles. Bo Reeves could also standout on the defensive secondary and is one of the top receivers in 2A. Schultz is looking to be a breakout player this season after earning 1A honorable mention honors last season for Alma-Wabaunsee. With Avrey Brokenicky and Kyler Kaniper graduating the league is looking for some more breakout players at the position.. Musselman is the lone returner in the NCK League that earned first team all-league and did so as a sophomore. Bringer has 4.5 range speed handheld with a 32 inch vertical and will be looked upon heavily on both sides of the football for a Marysville program that has had a lot of success recently under head coach Dustin Heuer.

Griffin Kugler, Smith Center, Sr. DB, Ty Sides Phillipsburg, Sr. DB, Ethan Abell, Oakley, Sr. DB, Jonah Ruder, Norton, Sr. SS

You can’t have a complete statewide list without likely the best 2A/1A league in Kansas on it in the MCL. Kugler is one of the top 1A players returning in the state and had a breakout season on offense last year. He also added three interceptions from his cornerback spot. Sides was a first team All-MCL pick last season and has played since his freshman year. Although a down season for P-burg last year, he is expecting a big senior year. Abell is one of the fastest players in the state, he has sub 4.5 speed over the last three football seasons. He will be a key player in the MCL this season as a senior on both sides. Although Ruder is more known as a receiver we feel he will be a standout two-way player this season in 2A and the MCL. He features a vertical of 38-inches along with 4.6 40 speed.

Isaiah Maikori, Andover, Sr. DB, Braeylyn Jay, Haysville Campus, Jr.

A couple of under the radar player in the Wichita are here. A senior safety that earned All-AVCTL II honors last season as a junior is looking for a big senior season for the Trojans. Has great length at 6-foot-2 and 180-pounds. Should be one of the best defenders in the Wichita area for 2020. Jay was a second team all-league pick in the AVTCL-I last season and had three interceptions last season. He led all defensive backs on his team in tackles.

Jayton Alexander, McPherson, Sr. DB

Alexander a returning all-league selection in the AVTCL-III was part of a very-talented Mac defense last season. Gone are some key playmakers like Stufflebean and Thrash but Brycen Labertew and Jayton Alexander should lead the way for another big season.

Tobi Osunsanmi, Wichita East, Jr. DB, Rian Green, Wichita West, Sr. DB

We found out more about these two at a combine recently from East and West. Both ran very well at the Sharp Combine this past weekend with sub 4.5 handheld. Tobi will be a factor on both sides of the ball for the Blue Aces. Green will also be a big-time factor defensively in the city for the Pioneers.

Ethan Stuhlsatz, Kapaun, Sr. DB

He has great size and speed. He is one of the more under the radar players in 5A and in Wichita. Expect a big year for the 6-4.5 205-pound senior. He could figure into a safety or outside backer position in college.

Will Gavin, Aquinas Jr., Elias Carson, Aquinas Jr., Dajni Brooks, Aquinas Jr.

Always known for big-time performers on their defense and secondary we expect no different this year with the Saints. Gone are Isaiah Gavin, Terrance Collins and Korden Harris but expect a big year for this unit defensively.

Miege secondary?

We know that it’s going to be good but it was hit heavy by graduation with Rishi Rattan and Tq’Quez Agnew-Whitten gone. Grant Fussell was also a defensive back that got all league honorable mention that is gone.  Could be time for Carson Key to be a playmaker for the Stags in the secondary and that’s why he makes the list. Expect a big year for him and some new faces. Key is very athletic with a nearly 45-foot triple jump, taking second in the 2019 meet. He also did a 60’ one step box jump earlier this winter. He returned the opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown last November in the state title game.

Noah Palmer, Olathe North, Jr. DB, Corbin Oberzan, Lawrence, Sr. DB, Cade Eldred, SM East, Sr., Jet Dineen, Free State Soph., A.J. Williams, Free State, Jr. 

We expect big years from these players out of the Sunflower League who earned some type of all-league honors last season. Oberzan and Eldred were second team all-league picks while Palmer and Dineen were a couple of the rare sophomores to earn honorable mention honors. Williams could be a lock down corner with great size at 6-foot-0 and 189-pounds. 

Adam Peterson, Basehor Linwood, Sr. DB, Zach Willis, De Soto, Sr. DB, Garrett Williams, Paola, Sr. DB, Heston Robbins, Tonganoxie, Sr. DB, Silas Etter, Eudora, Jr. DB

Frontier and United Kansas play some solid football despite not getting that statewide credit like the EKL and SFL does. Peterson and Willis are the lone first team all-league defensive backs returning as first team selections in the United Kansas Conference. There are several big-time playmakers on both sides of the ball in the UKC. Peterson has great size at 6’3” 185 pounds and a 35 inch vertical. Williams is one of the best two-way players returning in the Frontier League and in Class 4A this season. Expect a big year for him at quarterback and defensive back. Robbins was a utility first team all-league pick last season and has great size at 6-foot-4 and 195-pounds. Tongie lost key pieces but some are back. Although Etter is known to be a breakout receiver he has the potential to be a breakout player on both sides with great size at 6-foot-3 and 200-pounds as a junior. 

Michael Allen, Blue Valley, Jr., Hayden Essex, Blue Valley Jr.

Gone is hybrid Beau Palmer from last year along with Sam Dezube who earned first team and honorable mention All-EKL honors last season. Blue Valley always has big-time defensive backs so Allen and Essex could be those next guys in line over the next two seasons to do big things after an All-EKL honorable mention season for each of them last year as sophomores. Allen can play either safety or cornerback if needed. He isn't the biggest guy in the world at 5-8 155 but has shown the ability to be a hard hitter and protect the run while also stepping up in pass coverage. Essex is 5-foot-11 and 170-pounds at cornerback. He posted some very solid marks in track and field as a freshman in 2019 with a near 20" mark in the long jump before missing this season due to COVID-19

Geivonni Williams, Topeka, Sr. DB, Ty Jackson, Manhattan, Sr. DB, Desmond Purnell, Topeka Hayden, Sr. DB/ATH

Topeka lost quite a bit of talent on both sides of the ball but a bright spot back is Williams who should double as one of the best players in 6A this season. He earned all-league first team honors on each side of the football last season as a receiver and defensive back. He could see a move to running back on offense as well. Jackson can make that big play and is a little under the radar due to just eight games last season. He had both a kick return and punt return for TD last season. He also had 46 tackles and an interception. We feel he will be another playmaker to watch out for in the Centennial League. Purnell can play safety or outside backer, he’s more of a hybrid when it comes to this list. He is 6’0” and 205-pounds and earned all-state honors last season as a defensive back. He’s also one of the best running backs in 3A football. Centennial League has some serious talent once again.

Eli Rowland, Andale, Sr. DB/ATH

With Cayden Winter leading up front he will need a big year from Eli Rowland in the secondary. Gone is Mac Brand at linebacker and Scotti Easter in the backfield, it could be time for a big year from Rowland who was a star running back in 3A last season. Should be one of the top two-way players in 3A.

Tucker Veach, Hays, Sr. DB, Jaren Kanak, Hays, Jr. ATH/DB/LB Leyton Cure, Goodland, Sr. DB/ATH, Kevin Serrano, Scott City, Sr. DB

Western Kansas always has talent. Gone is Dalton Miller (Great Bend) and Calvin Stapp (Colby) who highlighted each the WAC and GWAC last year. Veach may be the one Hays player you don’t hear a ton about and that’s likely because he doesn’t have FBS offers. Veach is one of the best defensive backs in the WAC and is expecting a huge season for the Indians. The defense featuring Meyers, Haselhorst and Adams in the front seven should be one of the best in 5A. FBS recruit ATH Jaren Kanak could also figure into several spots defensively for the Indians and will be one of the best two-way players in 5A. Cure, who plays in the GWAC, is looking to be one of the top two-way players in Western Kansas this fall. He has great size at 6-foot-3 and 215-pounds. Serrano isn’t the biggest player out there but he’s one of the best small school defensive backs in wWestern Kansas earning All-GWAC first team honors as a junior last fall.

If they let them play both ways, maybe some will if needed?

Just imagine if Lem Wash (Derby), Devin Neal (Lawrence), Arland Bruce IV (Olathe North), Jackson Miller (De Soto), John Randle Jr. (Wichita Heights). Regardless of where you put guys like this they are going to shine. If these guys do get to play on defense then they deserve a spot but many are way too valued for offensive production in a bigger classification of football.  

Others Top Defensive Backs to Watch in Kansas 

Jonny Robles – South Central, Justice Clark – Hill City, Caden Ratgeber – South Barber, Lance Teal – Oswego, Dalton Regan – Otis Bison, Brandon Ahart – Piper. Layne Mayeske – Fredonia, Mason Rozell – BV Soutwhest,  Brady Deges – South Gray, Scott Price – Bucklin, Kevin ALvarardo – Linn, Brogan Renfro – Silver Lake, Jayden Garrison – Little River, Mitchell Buessing – Axtell, Dawson Williams – Perry Lecompton, Devin Loudermilk – West Elk, Kyun Jackson – Sumner Academy, Zachary Baker – Santa Fe Trail, Carter Hiebert – Halstead, Isaac Badders – Iola, Luke Detwiler – Lyndon, A.J. King – Wichita East, Justin Mitchell – SM Northwest, Drake Harrington – Humboldt, Dhani Brooks – Aquinas, Trey Harmison – Riley County, Dayton Davis – Ellsworth, J’Qwon Johnson – Wichita West, Cade Gatschet – Carroll, Zavion Parks-Clarke – Wichita West, Dakota Hogan – Salina Central, Braelyn Jay – Campus, Hunter Sharp – Valley Center, Dalton Carraway – Goddard, Ely Wilcox – Augusta, Jayden Dukes – McPherson, Braden Ledford – Winfield, Levi Perez – Buhler, Jacob Chugg – Collegiate, Hunter Hess - Perry Lecompton, Nate Voegeli – Collegiate, Eli Wiseman – Belle Plaine, Jack Francis – Chaparral, Cole Schulte – Conway Springs, Jace Doerksen – Inman, Nolan Crumrine – Sedgwick, Corbin Unruh – Moundridge, Hayden Essex – Blue Valley, Cal Kilgore – BV Southwest, Cole Clauder – Mill Valley, Trey Worcester – Mill Valley,  Laython Patillo – Olathe North, Ryley Wheat – Free State, Drew Cassida – Gardner Edgerton, Ethan Reynolds – Gardner Edgerton, Kallum Chitama – Lawrence, David Haikim – Olathe West, Phillip Vesta – SM Northwest, Lucas Bullock – SM West, Nathan Waugh – Leavenworth, Richie Patrick – Lansing, Austin Rosetta – De Soto, Javon George – Junction City, Jordan Irby – Junction City, Brett Sarwinski – Galena, Will Wunderly – Fort Scott, Trent Brock – Labette Co., Jaxson Haraughty – Columbus, Kagen Keeten – Phillipsburg, Michael Rayburn – Madison, Ryan Wolgram – Madison, Jerrod Gillett – Rock Hills, Matthew Evans – Eudora, Sequoia Robinson – Manhattan, Brandon Snell – Piper,  Tre’Sean Jackson – Lawrence, Carson Brading – Jefferson West, Elonnie Fishback – Schlagle, Kameron Daboe – Schlagle, Justin Fountain – Olathe East, Trey Buckbee – McPherson, Ryan Erickson – Wamego, Santiago McLaughlin – Leavenworth, Bryson Raymond – Lansing, Mason Ellis – Mulvane, Hunter Seier – Mulvane, Kenrick Osei – Olathe North, Jaeden Hamilton – Wichita Heights, Elijah Mosley – Wichita Heights, Braelyn Jay – Campus, Cameron Beardsley – Valley Heights, Jack Gossman – St. James Academy, Isaiah Smith – Blue Valley NW, Aidan Janatello – St. James Academy, Garrett Fager – Osage City, Tony Detweiler – Shawnee Heights, Keaton Comer – Pleasant Ridge, Marion Ponds - Valley Center, Braden Neimann - Maize South, McClain Weekley – Santa Fe Trail, Hever Mercado – SW Heights, Noah Meyer – Andale, Owen Bucher – Ark City, Tanner Barcus – Parsons, Gavin Price – Burlington, Walter Ramirez – SW Heights, Gavin Page – Humboldt, Derrick Johnson – Inman, Dillon Boldt – Hillsboro, Caiden Quinlan - Perry Lecompton, Ethan Burns – Hodgeman Co., Justice Clark – Hill City, Dameion Hatten – Sedan, Thomas Sturgeon – Skyline, Tate Davis – Ingalls, Brayden Perez – St. Johns Tipton, Brendon Sammons – Northern Valley, Stratton McGhee – Crest, Amare Ramirez - Derby 

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