By Jordan Burton (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
There are many talented receivers across our coverage area that features more than 60 teams. Below are some of the top receivers to watch this season. This list is in alphabetical order.
Quarterbacks to Watch – CLICK HERE
Running Backs to Watch – CLICK HERE
Offensive/Defensive Linemen to Watch – CLICK HERE
Linebackers/Defensive Backs to Watch – CLICK HERE
Breakout Players to Watch – CLICK HERE
NOTE: Some worthy players may appear on one of our other five football watch lists. A player can only appear on one list.
Jaytin Defreece, Skyline Senior
Skyline had one of the area’s most exciting shows on the gridiron, and Defreece is the bigger part of an extremely effective 1-2 punch. At 6-foot-3 he’s a big target and his 72 receptions for 1,066 yards and seven touchdowns made him one of the most productive guys in the Ozarks. It’s also the reason he was an All-State selection.
Mason Denning, Strafford Senior
He’s the local version of Marshall Faulk the way he’s used in Strafford’s offense. His junior year saw him turn 88 carries into 528 yards and 40 receptions in 536 yards with 12 total touchdowns. Denning in space is a problem for whoever is across from him and the Indians will have no shortage of ways to get him involved. He’s with this group because his target number could be massive; don’t be shocked if he approaches 2,000 yards from scrimmage.
Chris Floyd Jr., Glendale Senior
An injury is the only thing that really slowed down Floyd last year. He still managed to finish with 520 yards on 38 receptions. Keep in mind he posted 90-1,055-11 as a sophomore. His ability to be dynamic after the catch is one of the reasons Coach Mauk believes he’s one of the most talented receivers he’s ever had.
Mason Gastel, Lamar Senior
His one catch in the Class 2 state championship game turned into a game-winning 74-yard touchdown reception, which was reflective of how his season went; almost exclusively of big plays. He finished his junior campaign with 18 receptions for 497 yards and six scores. He accounted for nearly 50% of Lamar’s receiving yards.
Hollen Glenn, Mountain Grove Junior
Part running back, part receiver and a whole lot of playmaker is what you get in Hollen Glenn. His sophomore season saw him accumulate 1,233 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns. He literally lines up all over the field and has to be accounted for or else the play will end in six. His 42-532-7 line should only improve with Tyson Elliott back.
Derek Horton, Glendale Senior
Two receivers in the area exceeded 100 receptions last year. One of them is currently playing at SBU (Cooper Ezard) and the other is Derek Horton. His 118 receptions for 1,116 yards and nine touchdowns is about what you’d expect from a standout receiver in Glendale’s system. Here’s the difference, Horton ran a 4.43 40 back in December and runs great routes. He’s deserving of the D1 interest he’s receiving.
Noah Jester, MV-BT/Liberty Senior
Sometimes Liberty’s best play was to snap the ball and throw it up for Jester. He runs great routes, has great speed and has great ball skills to boot. He finished eighth in the area with 818 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns on 64 receptions. With his quarterback returning he should inch even closer to the 1,000-yard club.
Liam O’Reilly, Catholic Senior
Defenders will give him a 10-yard cushion and somehow he still manages to run past them. The future Missouri State Bear turned 38 receptions into 544 yards and eight touchdowns in just seven games. Much of that came against the top defenses in the Big 8. O’Reilly is a factor in the return game too.
Cameron Portis, Buffalo Senior
Cameron Portis scored once every five touches from scrimmage last year, which is one of the most staggering numbers you’ll see at any level. His 21 receptions yielded 494 yards and nine touchdowns, while his 64 carries turned into 569 yards and eight touchdowns. Players that score once every 10 touches are impressive. No one really knows his position and it doesn’t matter, he’s just a problem for opposing defenses.
Zack Williams, Skyline Senior
Williams was the deep threat for Skyline, turning just 58 receptions into 1,030 yards and 16 touchdowns, earning All-Mid-Lakes and All-State honors along the way. His big play ability softens defenses for everything else Skyline does. His coverage skills also earned him All-Area honors at defensive back.
OTHERS TO WATCH
Connor Ackerson, Seneca Junior
Chris Anderson, Parkview Junior
Levi Malone, McDonald County Senior
Jaydon Mercado, Central Senior
Heston Miller, West Plains Junior
Sam Moreland, Ash Grove Senior
Cody Rasmussen, Rogersville Senior
Drew Vaughan, Mountain Grove Junior
All Wright, Joplin Sophomore