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TopSports.news' 2022 Shawnee County football players to watch

By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

TrentonBarkerTrenton Barker

Trenton Barker, Rossville

Barker, a senior running back/ linebacker, is one of four returning starters on defense for Rossville, which is coming off a second straight 13-0 season and a second straight Class 2A state championship. Barker earned All-Mid-East League honorable mention on offense as a junior.

EliBarnesEli Barnes

Eli Barnes, Silver Lake

A junior wide receiver/defensive back, Barnes is part of a strong returning nucleus for Silver Lake, which is coming off a 9-3 record and a Class 2A semifinal berth in the 2021 season.

FavqaXfXkAE69igCallen Barta

Callen Barta, Seaman

A 6-foot, 160 junior, Barta saw extensive action for Seaman as a sophomore, helping the Vikings post a 6-4 record. Barta earned TopSports.news honorable mention last fall as well as All-Centennial League honorable mention on defense.

MalachiBergnewmugMalachi Berg

Malachi Berg, Topeka West

Berg, a 6-2, 190 senior is starting his fourth season as Topeka West's starting quarterback. Berg received TSN All-Shawnee County Second 22 recognition and All-Centennial League honorable mention last season. Barg  has also helped Topeka West to back-to-back Class 5A state tournament berths in basketball.

FawhpplXEAI4SC2Packson Bettis

Packson Bettis, Washburn Rural

Bettis, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound junior defensive end, was named the TSN All-Shawnee County defensive newcomer of the year last season and earned Second 22 all-county honors after helping lead the Junior Blues to an 8-2 record and a share of the Centennial League title. Bettis received All-Centennial League honorable mention.

JachinBonuraJachin Bonura

Jachin Bonura, Cair Paravel Latin

Bonura, a senior wide receiver/returner/defensive back, helped lead Cair Paravel to a perfect 11-0 record and the Kansas Christian Athletic Association state title last fall. Bonura earned TopSports.news All-Shawnee County Second 22 recognition and KCAA first-team honors as a receiver and kick returner and a second-team spot as a defensive back.

IanBrianIan Brian

Ian Brian, Cair Paravel Latin

A senior, Brian was a first-team KCAA selection as an offensive lineman and linebacker last season after helping lead Cair Paravel to a perfect 11-0 season and the KCAA state championship. Brian earned TSN All-Shawnee County honorable mention.

BJ CanadyBJ Canady

BJ Canady, Topeka High

Canady, a 6-5, 240 junior, is a returning starter on both sides of the ball for Topeka High, which is coming off a 2-7 record last fall. Canady has seen action at tight end and quarterback on offense and defensive end on defense for the Trojans. Also a standout basketball player, Canady received All-Shawnee County and All-Centennial Leaue honorable mention in 2021.

JacobCarverJacob Carver

Jacob Carver, Rossville

The 6-2, 290 Rossville junior lineman has been a key perfomer for Bulldawg teams that have gone a perfect 26-0 with a pair of Class 2A state championships over the past two seasons. A three-year starter, Carver was a TSN All-Shawnee County Top 22 pick as well as a first-team All-Mid-East League pick on offense. Carver is also a star wrestler, placing second in 3A-1A at 285 pounds a year ago.

FawiLahXkAA0Eq1Wyatt Conklin

Wyatt Conklin, Washburn Rural

Conklin, a 6-1, 190 junior outside linebacker, is returning defensive starter for a Washburn Rural team that is coming off an 8-2 record and a share of the Centennial League championship. Conklin received TSN All-Shawnee County and All-Centennial League honorable mention as a sophomore.

FavrsICXwAInlxuJC Cummings

JC Cummings, Hayden

A 5-11, 210 senior, Cummings is a returning starter on offense and defense for the Wildcats at fullback and inside linebacker, helping Hayden post an 8-2 record in 2021. Cummings received TSN All-Shawnee County honorable mention as a junior.

Fawjt9kWQAAtUxsBranton DeWeese

Branton DeWeese, Washburn Rural

DeWeese, a 6-0, 185 junior quarterback, turned in a huge sophomore season for the Junior Blues, earning TSN All-Shawnee County Top 22 recognition while also being named the county offensive newcomer of the year. DeWeese was named to the All-Centennial League first team after completing 132 of 205 pass attempts for 1,650 yards and 21 touchdowns while throwing just three interceptions.

AlexDittmanAlex Dittman

Alex Dittman, Shawnee Heights

A 6-0, 170 junior linebacker, Dittman received second-team TSN All-United Kansas Conference honors last fall after helping the T-Birds post a 5-5 record. Dittmann was credited with 52 tackles as a sophomore, including six tackles for loss and an interception.

AYdren Drew GregoryAYdren Drew Gregory

A'Ydren Drew-Gregory, Highland Park

Drew-Gregory, a 6-2, 165 senior, could contribute in a variety of positions for Highland Park, which is hoping to make huge steps forward in its first season in the Meadowlark Conference. Drew-Gregory could see action as a wide receiver, running back and defensive back for the Scots, who will be looking for their first win since 2014.

FawgP96XEAEWs4RBen Evans

Ben Evans, Hayden

Evans, a 6-3, 270 senior offensive tackle/defensive tackle, was a standout a year ago for a Hayden team that posted an 8-2 record and advanced to the second round of the 3A playoffs. Evans received All-Shawnee County honorable mention last season.

ChristianGonzalesChristian Gonzales

Christian Gonzales, Shawnee Heights

A 6-1, 260 junior noseguard, Gonzales received All-United Kansas Conference honorable mention last season after helping Shawnee Heights post a 5-5 record in 2021. Gonzales was in on 56 tackles last season with six tackles for loss and three sacks. 

FawjKzJX0AI8QP0Lukas Hanks

Lukas Hanks, Washburn Rural

Hanks, a 6-4, 240 senior tight end, is one of six returning offensive starters for the Junior Blues, who went 8-2 and earned a share of the Centennial League title last fall. Hanks received first-team All-Centennial League and TSN All-Shawnee County Second 22 honors as a junior.

FawiqSqX0AQIPzaJC Heim

JC Heim, Washburn Rural

A 6-2, 210 junior running back/linebacker, Heim is a returning starter for the Junior Blues, who posted an 8-2 record last season and earned a share of the Centennial League championship. Heim earned a spot on the TSN All-Shawnee County Second 22 last season and received All-Centennial League honorable mention.

TroyHeimanTroy Heiman

Troy Heiman, Silver Lake

Heiman, a senior wide receiver, is a top returning player for Silver Lake, helping the Eagles go 9-3 and reach the Class 2A semifinals as a junior. Heiman received All-Mid-East League honorable mention as a junior.

BraidenHensleyBraiden Hensley

Braiden Hensley, Rossville

A senior, Hensley is a returning offensive starter at running back for two-time defending Class 2A state champion Rossville, which is coming off a second straight 13-0 season.

 FawscFnWAAI3EyNKei'Juan Johnson

Kei'Juan Johnson, Highland Park

A 6-2, 200 senior quarterback/defensive back, Johnson is a top returner for Highland Park, which is looking to make noise in its first season in the Meadowlawk Conference. Also a standout hurdler, Johnson earned All-Shawnee County first-team track and field honors as a junior and was a Class 5A state medalist.

BarrettLietzBarrett Lietz

Barrett Lietz, Rossville

Lietz, a junior offensive and defensive lineman, is a returning starter on both sides of the ball for two-time defending Class 2A state champion Rossville. Lietz earned TSN All-Shawnee County and All-Mid-East League honorable mention as a sophomore.

JacobMalcomJacob Malcom

Jacob Malcolm. Shawnee Heights

Malcom, a 5-11, 175 junior, received All-United Kansas Conference second-team honors at receiver last season while also receiving TSN All-Shawnee County honorable mention. Malcom caught 31 passes for 315 yards and four touchdowns last season while adding 97 rushing yards and a touchdown on 15 carries and also throwing for a TD.

TannerMartinTanner Martin

Tanner Martin, Silver Lake

A junior quarterback, Martin will be counted on to be a leader for a Silver Lake team that is coming off of a 9-3 season and advanced to the Class 2A state semifinals in 2021.

Favq4 uWYAEpqn3Sean Miller

Sean Miller, Seaman

Miller, a senior offensive and defensive lineman, helped the Vikings post a 6-4 record in 2021. Miller earned second-team All-Centennial League recognition as an offensive lineman and received TSN All-Shawnee County honorable mention as a junior.

FaXK VtWIAA0sa Joe Otting

Joe Otting, Hayden

Otting, a 6-4, 275 offensive guard and defensive end, helped lead Hayden to the second round of the Class 3A playoffs and an 8-2 record last fall, earning TSN All-Shawnee County Top 22 recognition. Also an All-Shawnee County first-team basketball honoree and a state track qualifier for the Wildcats, Otting has made an oral commitment to play football at Notre Dame.

KadePerineKade Perine

Kade Perine, Rossville

Perine, a senior wide receiver/defensive back, received All-Mid-East League and TSN All-Shawnee County honorable mention last fall after helping Rossville earn its second straight Class 2A state championship with a second straight 13-0 season.

BlakeRedmondBlake Redmond

Blake Redmond, Silver Lake

 A junior running back/defensive back, Redmond is a top returner for a Silver Lake team that posted a 9-3 record and advanced to the Class 2A state semifinals last season.

TreRichardsonnewmugTre Richardson

Tre Richardson, Highland Park

 A 5-11, 175 senior wide receiver and returner, Richardson is regarded as one of the state's most dynamic players. Also a standout in basketball and the reigning Class 5A state 200-meter dash champon, Richardson earned TSN All-Shawnee County Top 22 honors as a junior as well as first-team All-Centennial League recognition at returner and second-team honors at receiver. Richardson, who has made an oral commitment to New Mexico State, caught 32 passes for 523 yards, carried the ball 38 times for 674 yards and was one of the state's top returners. 

KyreceRobinsonKyrece Robinson

Kyrece Robinson, Topeka West

Robinson, a 6-2, 245 junior offensive and defensive lineman, will be counted on to provide leadership for the Chargers in the trenches this season. Robinson earned TSN All-Shawnee County and All-Centennial League honorable mention as a sophomore.

Favp0MxXgAAEi2HBryson Vawter

Bryson Vawter, Seaman

Vawter, a 6-0 200 senior tight end/linebacker, helped Seaman post a 6-4 record last season. Vawter earned second-team All-Centennial League honors at linebacker and received TSN All-Shawnee County honorable mention. Vawter is also a baseball standout for the Vikings, earning All-Shawnee County first-team honors as a junior.

FawhDaIXgAEgIEfBen Weber

Ty Weber, Washburn Rural

Weber, a 6-3, 235 senior outsie linebacker, was named the TSN County defensive player of the year after helping lead the Junior Blues to an 8-2 record and a share of the Centennial League title. Weber was named to the All-Centennial League first team after recording 106 total tackles (63 solo) and a single-game high of 17 stops. Weber had seven tackles for loss and forced two fumbles. 

PeytonWheatPeyton Wheat

Peyton Wheat, Topeka High

A 6-0, 195 senior, Wheat took over as Topeka High's starting quarterback last season after transferring from Free State and will be counted on to provide leadership for the Trojans, 2-7 last season, in his second year in the program.

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