By Jordan Burton (@thejordanburton)
Who are some of the top football receivers to watch heading into this season? Find our top nine below. We have watch lists for quarterbacks, running backs, linemen and defensive players. A player who plays multiple positions may be on another list.
This list also appears in the O-Zone Fall Preview Magazine featuring more names. The magazine is available at all area Casey’s General Stores. CLICK HERE FOR A FULL LIST OF ADVERTISER LOCATIONS WHERE THE MAGAZINE IS AVAILABLE.
*This list is in alphabetical order.
Cam Flood, Republic, Senior
Flood has all the big-play ability you could possibly want from a receiver. He averaged more than 23 yards per catch as a junior, finishing the season with 719 yards and seven touchdowns on just 31 grabs. He also ran back a pair of kicks. He’s sensational when he catches the ball in space, via a catch or a kick. With everyone being more comfortable in Coach Dustin Baldwin’s system, his 2018 will be even more productive.
Andrew Holden, MV-BT Liberty, Senior
Holden is a sneaky D-I prospect at tight end. Standing 6-foot-5, 200lbs, he has great ball skills and tremendous hands. His 2017 numbers were impressive (46 catches, 665 yards, 8 TD), making him the Travis Kelce of southwest Missouri. But, a full offseason of growth with his young quarterback Jaris Acklin, will only make both more productive. This is a name to keep an eye on.
Blaize Klossner, Rolla, Senior
If you like guys who do a lot of things, then Klossner is your man. It’ll be hard to repeat his production from last year, mostly because he recorded 103 receptions for 1,196 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also rushed for 424 yards and five more scores. And, the two-way star finished with 96 tackles and 4 interceptions. Klossner is one of few players to have a touchdown pass, touchdown run and a touchdown reception in the same game. He could exceed 200 touches this season.
Jayden Morgan, Carthage, Senior
Carthage graduated all-everything receiver Arkell Smith, who accounted for 65 catches for 1,201 yards and nine touchdowns last year. Jayden Morgan will be tasked with stepping into that role as Carthage’s top receiver this year. He hauled in 21 catches for 409 yards last year. He will see a much-increased workload this year. The senior also is strong on defense coming off a 59-tackle, four-interception season. He showed off his speed on the track this past spring by qualifying for the state track meet in the 400-meter dash.
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Winston Quinn, Glendale, Senior
He made a name as a basketball player first, but college football programs are starting to notice Quinn. The 6-foot-3 receiver hauled in 62 passes for 740 yards and eight touchdowns in 2017. He was sensational in his last six games with 43 receptions, 586 yards and four scores. He’ll be Glendale’s go-to guy this fall, which could mean a record-breaking season for Quinn.
Ryker Strong, Rogersville, Senior
Strong is one of the area’s better athletes as evidenced by his ability to high jump 6’6” and earn all-state honors. That skill-set transfers well to the football field as there are few better at going up and getting a ball better than Strong. Last season, he earned first-team all-conference honors thanks to hauling in 34 catches for 525 yards and five touchdowns.
Zach Westmoreland, Joplin, Junior
You can make a strong case that Westmoreland is the most-dynamic player in the Ozarks with the ball in his hands. A coach last year compared him to Dorial Green-Beckham, but not even DGB had 11 rushing touchdowns as a sophomore. In all, Westmoreland totaled 1,517 all-purpose yards with 18 touchdowns. He tallied at least 100 yards from scrimmage in eight of his 10 games, with six 100-yard receiving games. He was the only sophomore Class 6 all-state selection at a skill position.
Elijah Young & Cole Gilpin, Fair Grove
This is arguably the most productive perimeter duo in the Ozarks. Young totaled 1,300 yards from scrimmage, splitting his time between the backfield and being split out wide. Gilpin, a 6-foot-4 junior is one of the most potent deep threats in the area, racking up 930 yards and eight touchdowns on 64 receptions. With Rhett Hill taking over at quarterback, their production should again be high this fall.