Utah D1 – Linebacker Preview

Here are the D1 caliber players, that we’ve been able to evaluate in person:

Power 5 – Linebackers

These players are considered to be the cream of the crop in the state, and can play football for any major college football program in America. 

(In alphabetical order according to first name)

Brandt Opheikens, Weber HS, 2019 – Opheikens is one of the biggest kept secrets, that we’ve come across in recent time.  He was one of the top players at the Northern Utah D1 Showcase.  The 6’4″ 215 lbs LB is lightning quick, has an extremely high football IQ, and is a natural at the linebacker position.  He’s the prototypical linebacker height and weight wise, for a major D1 prospect.   Once schools watch this young man play in person, they will start recruiting him like there’s no tomorrow.  He is a Power 5 caliber linebacker.

Junior Tafuna, Bingham HS, 2019 – The Bingham product is one the most talented and technically sound linebackers in the country.  Tafuna has some of the most impressive game film of any recruit in the country.  He plays well beyond his years.  He was one of the main difference makers in Bingham’s 2017 championship run, with his stellar play in the middle.  Tafuna is no doubt a Power 5 caliber LB.

Lolani Langi, Bingham HS, 2019 – Langi could very well be one of the most dangerous defensive players to have ever played in Utah.  Forget just Utah, he’s one the most dangerous linebackers that I have seen in high school football.  He’s quicker off the edge than anyone I’ve seen in Oklahoma or Texas.  Langi runs down plays from the backside like it’s child’s play.  That is one of the most difficult things to do in football, and he makes it look easy.  The main question is this: Can Langi top last season’s stellar year?  We will see, and if he does, his name will go down as one of the great ones.

D1 Watch List – Linebackers

(listed in alphabetical order, according to first name)

Here are the players who should be on every D1 school’s radar, that wants to recruit the state of Utah. 

Alema Tupuola, Davis HS, 2019 – Tupuola had a great showing at Rising Stars.  He was rated a legitimate Division 1 caliber football player.  Expect big things from the Davis product this year.  Our staff is very high on this young man.

Andre Toilolo, East HS, 2019 – Toilolo was a MVP at Utah D1’s – Rising Stars.  He lined up as a receiver, defensive back, and also as a linebacker, and he put together one of the most impressive showings of the summer.  Former Division 1 and NFL position coach, Fred Graves said the following, “That young man (Toilolo) is special.  Whoever ends up with him is getting a player.”

Caden Johnson, Corner Canyon, 2019 – Johnson is an absolute pit bull at the at the LB position.  He might be the hardest hitting linebacker in the state of Utah.  He is that vicious.  He’s also a genius in the  classroom, and will have opportunities to attend Ivy League schools. Johnson is a legitimate Division 1 caliber football player, and should have quite a few opportunities on the D1 level.

Carson Stokes, Northridge HS, 2019 – Stokes absolutely shined at the Central Utah D1 Showcase.  Our staff loves what this young man brings to the table.  He is also one of the top tight ends in the state.  His game film speaks for itself. He is another player who should be on school’s radar.

Drake Fakahua, Cedar City HS, 2019 – Fakahua earned his stripes at the Southern Utah D1 Showcase.  He was considered one of the top performers at the event.  He is a versatile football player that can play on either side of the ball. Expect for him to have a monster year.

Jackson Cotyle, Viewmont HS, 2019 – Coyle will be a 3 year starter for Viewmont.  He surprised us at the Northern Utah D1 Showcase, with his dominating performance.  We knew that he was a talented player, but he has really progressed and worked himself into being a legitimate recruit.

Jake Staheli, Dixie HS, 2019 – Staheli is one of the biggest kept secrets, in the state this year.  He should be getting way more recruiting attention.  He is an absolute stud on the defensive side of the ball.  He has great speed, technique, iq, etc.  He has all of the tools to be a great one.  Staheli dominated the Southern Utah D1 Showcase, and was named MVP.

Jaxon Reyos, Dixie HS, 2019 – Reyos is a player that schools need to keep an eye on.  We were really impressed with his performance at the Southern Utah D1 Showcase. We’re looking forward to evaluating his game film this year.

Kani Taufa, Skyridge HS, 2019 – We had the opportunity to evaluate Taufa last fall against Viewmont.  We had no idea who he was before the game started; we knew exactly he was within the first few plays of the game.  Taufa was everywhere, and it was quite clear, that is a special football player.  He can lineup at a couple of different positions on the defensive end, and cause absolute havoc. Don’t be surprised if Taufa is considered the top linebacker in the state this year.  He has Power 5 potential.

Sam Knudson, Juan Diego HS, 2019 – Knudson had a great performance at the Central Utah D1 Showcase, as well as Rising Stars.  He is a player that we’ll be paying heavy attention to, and highly encourage colleges to do the same.

Top Underclassmen

(listed in alphabetical order, according to first name)

Carter Pearce, Herriman HS, 2020 – Pearce is a talented player, and is following in the lines of Division 1 players in his family.  Pearce is an athlete that can play multiple positions on the field.  Expect a big year from him.

Noah Sewell, Orem HS, 2020 – We haven’t had the opportunity to watch Sewell play in person, and in all honesty that’s irrelevant.  Sewell is one of the top 2020 recruits in the country, so he’s definitely on this list.  We are looking forward to evaluating him in person.

Sam Trusty, Viewmont HS, 2020 – Trusty dominated the Northern Utah D1 Showcase, and also had a stellar performance at Rising Stars.  He has the potential to be one of the top linebackers in the state this year.