By CONOR NICHOLL & CHET KUPLEN
Sports In Kansas continues with its look at top players from each position. Next up: Offensive Linemen. All scoring offense ranks from Conor Nicholl, Sports In Kansas, along with databases from Kansas Pregame/Prep Power Index and KPreps.
While several of the recent past offensive line groups have enjoyed top players from across the state, the 2022 offensive line group is significantly headed by the Kansas City metro area.
This list is not ranked or in any specific order. If your a player interested in a premium player evaluation for the 2022 season contact Chet Kuplen at [email protected], we’ve helped hundreds of athletes across the state over the last 10 years in football.
Four of the top-five Sunflower League first team all-conference selections return: Olathe West senior Dylan Birge, Free State senior Calvin Clements, Mill Valley junior Blake Neis, and Olathe West senior Cooper Zwart. Plus, on the second team returns two seniors: Olathe Northwest’s Lucas Conover and Shawnee Mission’s Spencer Davis.
Calvin Clements, Lawrence Free State
Calvin Clements recently committed to Baylor. He stands at 6-7, 275 and is the eighth-ranked recruit in Kansas, per 24/7 database. After a winless 2020 significantly influenced by COVID-19, Free State moved to 8-3 and finished No. 11 in 6A with 33.1 points per game.
Blake Neis, Mill Valley
Mill Valley won its third consecutive 5A state title and posted a 12-1 season. MV finished seventh in 5A with 35.4 points a contest. Neis was part of a superb Mill Valley unit that had a significant number of first-year starters last season. Neis has committed to Wichita State baseball. Neis is 6-0, 190 and plays third base/pitcher.
Last season, five-time state champion Mill Valley coach Joel Applebee told SIK that Neis started at right guard. Neis was a starting linebacker in 2020 on the freshman team and mostly linebacker in middle school. Applebee said Neis “really played well for us” and is a “powerful sophomore.” Applebee said Neis was “right up there” with Mill Valley’s juniors and seniors. Last season, Ryan Fulcher was the lone senior offensive line starter.
Dylan Birge/Cooper Zwart, Olathe West
One of the best duos in the state on the offensive line. Olathe West finished 7-3 and finished eighth in 6A with 35.5 points a game. Birge is 6-2, 275 with a 5.4 40-yard dash and 285-pound bench. Birge was first team all-conference and first team all-league Simone for being among the top KC players. Zwart is 6-4, 290 with a 77-inch wingspan. He has a 5.1 second in the 40-yard dash. He has offers from Missouri State, Southeast Missouri State, Central Missouri, Missouri Western, Benedictine and Mid-America Nazarene, among others.
Spencer Davis, Shawnee Mission North
Shawnee Mission North’s Spencer Davis is 6-4, 265. He has offers from Eastern Michigan, Lindenwood and New Mexico State, per 24/7. Davis was second team all-league in a loaded SFL. Davis was a non-senior pick from SIK last season and is a very under the radar prospect.
Camden Beebe, KC Piper; Cameron Rogers, KC Piper
Camden Beebe was a first team all league, 4A all-state and non-senior from Sports in Kansas and has committed to Kansas State. The 6-3, 315 Beebe is ranked as the No. 10 Kansas prospect and is projected as an interior lineman in college. Beebe, the youngest of four boys, follows in the footsteps of his family, including other brothers that played at Minnesota and Kansas State, respectively. Piper finished 7-4 and was No. 11 in 4A with 28.9 points per game. Piper is an under-the-radar team as QB Logan Ladish returns from injury. Although all the headlines belong to Beebe as they should, Senior Cameron Rogers is also a key lineman returning as well and should be one of the top offensive lineman in the league.
EKL: Who will step up next in the loaded league?
The league graduated all of its first team selections last year but one returns in Easton Wasinger who is listed on this list. We know some of the best lineman in the state will emerge in this league and its not rare for a one year starter to become an all-league selection in the states #1 league. Joel Deppe also earned second team all league for BVNW and Jeremy Schleicher of Bishop Miege earned second time. Honorable mention all league selections in the league last year include Aidan Behmyer (BVNW, a rising FBS recruit), Will Golomski (SJA), Logan Heisdorfer (Blue Valley), Thomas Ippolito (BVSW), John Michael Pujado (BV West), Cooper Reed (BV North), Brett Sawaya (BVSW), SPencher Schuetz (SJA), Gage Spachman (BV North), all which are listed in some type on this list.
Levi Cooley, Basehor-Linwood; Sam Lough, Basehor-Linwood
Of the five first team all-league United Kansas Conference offensive line selections, Cooley was the lone non-senior. Cooley stands at 6-4, 315. He is a three-time all-conference and two-time all-state selection. Cooley picked up all Simone as a top Kansas City area player. Cooley has Kansas State interest. He has offers from Fort Hays, Missouri Western, Emporia State, and Iowa Western. B-L also has junior offensive lineman Sam Lough (6-4, 265). Lough anchored right tackle and was second team all-league. Plus, senior Logan Gall returns after starting eight games. Cooley has squatted more than 500 pounds. Last season, B-L’s line paved the way for running back Zack Sisemore, the United Kansas Conference offensive player of the year. Sisemore set school records for rushing yards (1,690) and touchdowns (21). Basehor finished 9-1 and led 4A with 40 points a game.
Grady Seyfert/Brody Widrig, Beloit/NCAA
Last season, Beloit had its highly publicized line and delivered a 2A state runner-up to Rossville. Standout Grady Seyfert – a Division I talent – was 2A Defensive Player of the Year. He and junior Brody Widrig were first team all-conference.
In addition to the Beloit duo, Ellsworth junior Jordan Rodriguez and Republic County’s Ryan Beavers are decorated players. Seyfert and Rodriguez were both first team all-league offensive linemen. Widrig and Republic County’s Ryan Beavers were second team all-conference selections.
Seyfert is 6-2, 275 and picked up an Emporia State offer in June. Beloit finished 9-4 and ranked No. 16 out of 48 2A teams with 28.3 points a contest. He is one of the most underrated players in the state when it comes to recruiting.
Jack Bauer, Olathe South; Lucas Conover, Olathe Northwest; Braden Hales, Olathe North; Brett Carroll, Olathe East
Four Olathe products that are a bit underrated in addition to the Olathe West players already mentioned. Bauer is a little under the radar but could be a rising prospect this season at 6’4” 290 pounds for Olathe South. Olathe South also features one of the top defensive players in the state in DE Jordan Allen who also doubles as a tight end. Conover was a second team all-league pick last season as a center and is a two-time state placer in wrestling. He should figure to also be one of the best lineman in the Sunflower League this season. Hales is 6’5” 290 pounds in the class of 2024 and should really standout this season after a solid sophomore campaign. Carroll is 6’4” and 295 pounds. He was the state wrestling runner up at 285 last season in 6A as a sophomore for Olathe East.
Derby? AVTCL-I Lineman?
Derby graduated one of the best lines in 6A history in Alex Key, Dylan Conn and Jonas Vickers. They may have not won the title in 2021 but its hard to fault what this unit did all season long for the last several years led by Alex Key. Wyatt Jackson returns after an all league honorable mention season last year. All first team all-league selections in the AVCTL-I have graduated so its time for new players to make a name for themselves in 2022. Max Masem of Newton was the lone selection as a junior on either first or second team last season, earning second team honors. We feel like Mason Thrush (listed in his own heading on this list) will also be one of the top returnees in 5A and AVCTL-I.
Joe Otting, Topeka Hayden, Ben Evans, Topeka Hayden
Otting is the No. 5 Kansas recruit and tops among offensive lineman. He has committed to Notre Dame. The 6-4, 275-pound Otting is the No. 21 player at his position in the country. Hayden went 8-2 in 3A and delivered 34.5 points a game, No. 9 in 3A. Otting has incredible athletic ability as a 275 pound lineman displayed as an all-state pick in basketball from Sports in Kansas in his classification. While Otting gets the much deserved headlines, Ben Evans is also a standout lineman for the Wildcats and should figure to be one of the top lineman in 3A this season after starting each of the last two seasons.
Easton Wasinger/Joel Deppe, Blue Valley Northwest
Blue Valley Northwest enjoyed the biggest 6A turnaround among 6A state champions in Kansas history. Northwest collected won the first state title in school annals. Wasinger was the only non-senior named first team all-EKL.
The 6-foot-2 Wasinger is a senior left-handed pitcher and first baseman. Wasinger has committed to Division I St. Louis University baseball. Deppe is 6-3, 240 with a 4.3 GPA and a varsity wrestler. Northwest went 12-1 and was second in 6A with 43.8 points a contest.
The City league of Wichita graduated all of its first team all league selections from last season. Jacob Lamb (Wichita NW) and Hank Purvis (Carroll) are the top two returnees on paper both earning second team all-league last season as junior and sophomore. Several new names will emerge from one of the better 5A/6A leagues in the state.
No player returns on the offensive line that earned any type of all-league honor (1st team or honorable mention) from the Western Athletic Conference. Who will be the next players to step up for Liberal, Great Bend, Hays, Dodge City and Garden City. Sebastian Lopez could be a guy to headline this list for Garden City as he was the state wrestling champion in 6A 285 pounds last season.
Kaedin Massey, Lyndon
Massey is 6-8, 255 with a 5.1-second in the 40-yard dash. He has a 260 bench, 325 clean and 375 squat with a 4.0 GPA. Massey picked up a Highland offer June 30. Lyndon was 6-4 and finished second in 1A with 31.8 points a game. Massey is raw and has a ways to go but he has a very high ceiling with his size. He’s worth the look in the small school ranks this season.
Aidan Behymer, Blue Valley Northwest
The 6-5, 225-pound Behymer is a great leader and can play OL/TE/DE. Behymer has a 4.0 GPA and 4.6 in the 40-yard dash. He projects as a tight end for college. Behymer has multiple offers, including Brown and Cornell. Blue Valley Northwest won the 6A state title, went 12-1 and was second in 6A with 43.8 points a game. We feel like a huge year is emerging for Behymer. BVNW coach Clint Rider earned a bevy of coaching honors, including SIK all classes honors.
Augustus Thuston, Chanute /Southeast Kansas
Chanute finished second in 4A with 38.5 points a contest and posted an 8-2 mark. Chanute is a highly intriguing team this fall with plenty of talent, speed and experience back. A junior, Augustus Thuston stands at 6-5, 280. Thuston, Labette County senior Kendall Bebb and Coffeyville junior Kainen White were first team all-SEK teams. The CNC league is a bit more unknown with several all-state lineman graduating last season including Cruz Blair, Kody Schalk, Landon Dean etc. Koby Myers is another player to look at was unanimous all-CNC. Galena was No. 15 out of 48 teams in 3A with 30.9 points a game. Myers is 6-1, 240 with a 300 bench and 415 squat. Tyler Little, ATH of Galena, can play multiple spots but is projected as TE/DE/LB at the next level and could serve on the offensive line if needed. Little is one of the best athletes in the state. Isaiah Dunaway also returns for the Bulldogs. Little is one of the best tight ends in the state for Galena but can be utilized in many positions, its what makes him so valuable as a recruit.
Jeremy Schleicher, Bishop Miege/Dominic Werner, Bishop Miege
A junior, Bishop Miege’s Jeremy Schleicher is 6-3, 255 and was first team all-state 4A. He earned second team all-Eastern Kansas League. He’s had interest from Iowa and Kansas State, among others. Miege finished 5-7, made the 4A state semifinals and delivered 27.4 points a game, No. 15 in 4A. Werner is just a junior and has great size at 6’6” and 295 pounds.
Braden Polifka, Quinter
Quinter’s Braden Polifka helped the Bulldogs enjoy a turnaround and reach the Eight-Man, Division II quarterfinals. Polifka helped Quinter have success despite senior QB Jaden Boone missing more than half the year with injury. Polifka helped Quinter post an 8-2 record and deliver 43.2 points a game, No. 10 in Division II. The 6-1, 250-pound Polifka has a Bethel College offer. Polifka is expected to be one of eight-man’s best players, regardless of position.
Tanis Brungardt, Victoria
Victoria’s Tanis Brungardt has enjoyed back-to-back strong seasons for the Knights and longtime coach Doug Oberle. Longtime eight-man power Victoria finished 10-2, was a state semifinal squad and finished second in Division II with 50.4 points scored a game. In 2020, Brungardt had a strong season, including the state quarterfinal win against Wheatland-Grinnell. Before 2021, Oberle told SIK that Brungardt “kind of came out of nowhere” in ’20. Last season, Brungardt enjoyed another big season en route to all-state honors. Like Polifka, Brungardt is expected to be one of eight-man’s top players.
Owen Strathman, Axtell, Grant Buessing, Axtell, Sawyer Deters, Axtell
Axtell has zero seniors in key roles, finished 13-0 and won the Eight-Man, Division II state championship. Axtell paced Division II with 54.2 points a contest. QB Isaac Detweiler is the reigning D2 Offensive Player of the Year. However, the line play was exceptional, too.
Axtell returns all three linemen: sophomore center Grant Buessing, sophomore guard Sawyer Deters (6-1, 240) and the 6-foot-4 Strathman.
Jacob Carver, Rossville
Jacob Carver, a senior, was first team all-Mid East League. Carver helped Rossville finish 13-0 and deliver 47.1 points a game, easily the best in 2A. Only four other 2A teams scored above 36.2 points per contest. Carver stands at 6-2, 290 with a 300 bench and 525 squat. We feel like Carver is one of the most underrated players in Kansas, a very physical player that should be one 2As best once again.
All these players are returning second team all-league players: Junction City sophomore Petren Bartolome, Topeka Seaman senior Logan Cox, Washburn Rural senior Zach Franco, Topeka Seaman senior Sean Miller. All should be headline players in the league and could compete for all-state type of honors in their classification.
Junction City finished 8-2 and delivered 31.8 points a game, No. 12 in 6A.
Topeka Seaman was 6-4 and scored 36.7 points per contest, No. 6 in 5A.
Washburn Rural was 8-2 and delivered 35.1 points a game, No. 10 in 6A.
The Mid-Continent League
The MCL is arguably the state’s best small-school football conference. The MCL returns multiple standout linemen. Every MCL game won at least three games last season. The conference went 28-23 in non-league games. Smith Center finished 9-2, TMP was 8-3 and Plainville was 6-4.
All the MCL linemen below enjoyed some version of all-league honors:
Cauy Haresnape/Kaid Sasse, Smith Center
Smith Center has plenty of talent back for a 9-2 squad that delivered 37.1 points a game, fifth-best in 1A. Haresnape was first team all-Mid-Continent League. Haresnape was the only one of the five first team all-league offensive line selections returning for 2022. He is 6-1, 260 with a 3.9 GPA.
Kolton Hagans/Kendall Walker/Michael Hale, TMP
TMP has enjoyed a 15-5 record the last two seasons, including a district championship and 2A state quarterfinal showing last fall, the Monarchs’ best showing since 2002. TMP has three linemen back, all whom collected Mid-Continent League honors at some level. All three were strong defensive players, and Walker was a SIK 2A Defensive Player of the Year finalist. TMP went 8-3 and delivered 29.6 points a game, No. 13 in the 48-team classification.
Hagans and Walker both started as freshmen. Walker was first team all-league defensive line. Otter and Hagans were each second team all-league selections.
Jefferson Otter, Norton
Norton finished 4-5 and delivered 20.2 points a game. Otter qualified for the 3-2-1A state wrestling tournament at 220 pounds and won a state match. Norton also has a ton of talent year in and year out on the line and Otter should be that next guy this season.
Ivan Jirak, Oakley
Oakley went 4-6 and had 25.6 points a game. Jirak is 5-10, 260, participates in wrestling and track and can also play five instruments. He should be one of the better lineman in the MCL and 1A this season.
The Big 7 has multiple standouts. NC junior Holden Bass is a returning first team all-league player and was a 2A Defensive Player of the Year finalist, he should double as one of the best offensive lineman in the state. Plus, Hiawatha senior Peter Campbell was a first team all-league conference pick. The Big 7 also returns Nemaha Central senior Connor Deters, Sabetha junior Josh Grimm and Holton junior Dalton Roush. Bass is 6-4, 276 and attended several camps this summer, including KU, Oklahoma and Kansas State.
Hank Purvis, Bishop Carroll
Purvis can play in multiple spots on the line and shined at times as a sophomore last fall. He is 6’5” and 300 pounds. Carroll consistently produces some of the top lineman in the state and this could be a breakout year for the Wichita product.
Jack Kraus, Andale
Kraus is one of the strongest players in the state and one of the top shot put throwers in Kansas. Andale is the heavy favorite to once again repeat in 3A and is loaded across the board. Don’t be surprised if the Indians have multiple all-state picks on the lines on both sides of the ball this season. It’s just a matter of who steps up next. We felt last year Andale was one of the top five teams in Kansas regardless of classification and a big reason has been their dominance on the line. Beau Kerschen and Garrett McCaskill both graduated after all-league and all-state seasons a year ago and now its Kraus’ turn to lead the charge up front.
Mason Thrush, Maize
Thrush will be one of the top QB protectors in the AVTCL-I this year and has to be because he has the top QB in the state on his team in Avery Johnson. He has great size at 6’3” 286 pounds and features a 4.04 GPA
Austin Bailey, Lebo
Bailey was an all-state pick last season and is back after being a two-way first team all-league player for Lebo this season. Some of the best 8-man players in the state regularly come from the Lyon County League. Bailey isn’t the tallest lineman out there at 5’9″ but he has a lot of power at 245 pounds. He will be one of the best in 8-man for 2022.
Two first team all-state selections return:
Northern Valley senior blocker/receiver Kai Cox; Cunningham junior Lane Halderson
Cox is a great leader for NV, which delivered 54.8 points per game, second-best in 6-Man. NV was a final four team. Cunningham was the state runner-up to Natoma and finished fourth with 53.2 points a contest. NV finished 7-3, and Cunningham was 9-1. Halderson was a 6M Defensive Player of the Year finalist.
Three Rivers League duo
Colony-Crest senior Ty Chambers and Yates Center senior Jayston Rice were both first team all-league selections. YC enjoyed a breakout season with a 6-3 record and 42.4 points a game. Yates Center was No. 18 out of 48 teams in Division I.
Rice started on both lines and can play middle linebacker. Rice was one of several juniors alongside the YC offensive line last season.
“He is first team all-state material as a junior,” YC coach Ryan Panko told SIK last season. “So next year as a senior, I can’t imagine how good he is going to be. But that kid has been a beast for us the last couple of years, anchoring down that defensive line. He’s kind of a man amongst boys out there. There’s not too many teams that he would not be able to play for in the eight-man, 1A type teams.”
Zane Zoglmann, Conway Springs
Although a smaller lineman last season at 6’0” and 190-pounds, he got it done as a first team all-state pick in 1A for the Cardinals.
Other key linemen:
Max Masem, Newton – second team all-league AVCTL
Andrew Tinn, Circle. Nice size at 6’3.5” and 270 pounds. Also a 4.0 GPA student.
Hoisington duo of Cardinal senior Cole Gilliland and junior Caiden Hoffman. Hoisington, long known for its running game, finished 8-2 and averaged 29.3 points a game. Gilliland finished fifth at the 3-2-1A state championship.
Chaparral senior Carson Gates – first team all-league. Chaparral enjoyed a big turnaround, went 8-2 and delivered 30.9 points a game, No. 11 in 2A.
Kale Murdock of Paola figures to be one of the top returning lineman in the always very good Frontier league. Paola is no stranger to a powerful running game with top notch lineman over the years.
Carter Helm, Kingman – first team all-league junior. Kingman went 10-2, advanced to the 2A state semifinals for its best season since the ’70s. Kingman was seventh in 2A with 36 points a game.
Meade senior Brady Papay – first team all-league SPIAA. Meade finished 13-0 and averaged 48.9 points a game, No. 10 in the classification.
Kemper Clary, Troy: Clary earned first team all-league for the Twin Valley 11-man. In the 8-man TVL, Clifton-Clyde senior Seth LeClair was first team all-league for both offense and defense.
Will Golomski (6’3” 260) had a nice season as a junior last year for St. James Academy on their way to back to back titles. He should be a solid guy to rely on up front for one of the best 4A teams in Kansas. Can they 3-peat or will Aquinas, Miege or Chanute have something to say about that on the East?
Kooper Tichenor of Holcomb is a player to keep an eye on in the GWAC. The junior to be was all league second team last year as a sophomore and has nice size and strength entering his junior year at 6’2” and 270 pounds.
Maverick Havenstein was a first team all-state selection last season by multiple outlets and will be a four year starter for 1A Wabaunsee who has been a team on the rise under HC Jess Rutledge.
Others to Watch:
Thomas Cromer – Eudora, Dylan Sluesser – Augusta, Conner McVicker – McPherson, Bryan Regier – Buhler, Brett Black – Collegiate, Austin Vanderhoof – Mulvane, Drake Van Scoyoc – Pratt, Logan Heisdorferr – Blue Valley, Spencher Schuetz – St. James Academy, Gage Spachman – BV North, Cooper Reed- BV North, John Michael Pujado – BV West, Thomas Ippoliot- BVSW, Brett Sawaya – BVSW, Jacob Lamb – Wichita NW, Nathan Davis – Wichita NW, Jacob Racine – Bishop Carroll, Jordan Rodriguez – Ellsworth, Ryan Beavers – Republic Co., Keegan Beima – Concordia, Troy Boyd – Chapman, Brayden Lexow – Chapman, Eli Hahn – Lakeside, Matrix Eames – Caldwell, Brady Robline – Argonia, Mason Kemp – Mill Valley, Ty Marsh – Mill Valley, Kaison Bigham – Valley Heights, , Jordan Hartman – Andover, Jess Hancock – Wichita Trinity, Justin Holt – Smoky Valley, Maddox Johnson – Humbolt, River Kaufman – Humboldt, Barrett Lietz – Rossville, Kaleb Scripsick – SW Heights, Julian Butto – Jackson Heights, Byron Fry – Uniontown, Bret Short – Wichita Independent, Rodolfo Vargas – Remington, Aiden Welch – Central Hts, Conner Dinkel – Hill City, Brady Roblin – Attica/Argonia, Gavin Francis – Chase County, Caleb Ward – Moundridge, Ryan Baker – MDCV, Ryan Renner – Minneola, Duncan Baker – Hatford, John McGlothlin – Coffeyville, Rayce Fisher – Onaga, Shane Sexton – Washburn Rural, Christian Landeros – Ulysses, Eythen Moore – Eudora, Chase Phelps Ulysses, Sam Joyce – Maur Hill, Tate Hoover – Manhattan, Rio Gomez – Newton, Terrance Saunders – BV West, Bryan Jackett – Chanute, Baker North – Bishop Miege, Micah Barron – Eudora, Bradley Bond – Goddard, Jacob Hawks – Washburn Rural, Brock Jensen – Campus, Sammy Christians – Hutchinson, Jose Felgurez – Salina South, Kyle Butcher – Campus, Alex McHardie – Shawnee Heights