Sports in Kansas: Quarterbacks to Watch for 2023

Gunnar Gross of Salina Central. Photo: Bethany Bowman

Sports In Kansas starts its 2023 positional breakdown with top Quarterbacks returning for 2023. This is a strong class of signal callers, although like past years of high level recruits like Avery Johnson, a top-300 player nationally and Kansas State commit, its wide open to see who the best QB may be in the state this fall. Plus, Wamego’s Hayden Oviatt is now at Army West Point. Wichita Collegiate’s Wesley Fair is at Kansas State as an Athlete but a key transfer will really open up the eyes of 3A. Eight- and six-man are also loaded. Mac Armstrong graduates from Miege after earning 4A POY honors.

Conor Nicholl and Chet Kuplen will handle the watch lists for 2023 as Bethany Bowman will continue to highlight several of these athletes on interviews. Research is based off of our all-state selections last season, all-league lists, camps/combines, and evaluations from Chet Kuplen of Sports in Kansas. Chet Kuplen of Sports in Kansas also offers premium player film evaluations year-round for football athletes looking to play at the next level. Parents/Athletes: For a player evaluation: [email protected]

Who are the QBs to watch for 2023?

This list is not ranked and in no specific order. This is also not a recruiting list.

Gunnar Gross, Salina Central, Sr.

Gross passed for over 1,600 yards last season (14 TD/3 INT) along with 894 rushing yards (19 TD) to make him one of the top returning dual-threat QBs in the state of Kansas for 2023. The senior earned first team non-senior honors from SIK last fall.

Dylan Dunn, Blue Valley Southwest, Sr.

Dunn earned SIK non-senior honors last season as a junior as he passed for 2,784 yards for the Timberwolves in 5A. He completed 61 percent of his passes for 28 TD/8 INT.

Willie Dorsey, Wellsville, Sr.

We feel that Dorsey has a ton of potential but will need to continue to put on weight. The 6’2” 170-pound senior is one of the most talented QBs in the state as he threw for over 1,800 yards last season on his way to non-senior honors from SIK. He had 25 TDs to just six interceptions along with completing 61 percent of his passes. Dorsey was one of the best 2024 QBs we evaluated this off-season.

Daeonte Mitchell, Wichita East, Sr.

Mitchell has passed for 5,992 yards (66 career passing TDs) in his high school career as a three year starter for the Blue Aces. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior is looking to be one of the top players in the entire state this season after seeing constant production over the last three falls. He was a non-senior first team pick last season from Sports in Kansas.

Jayce Glasper, Wichita Northwest, Sr.

Glasper returns for Steve Martin’s Grizzlies as he threw for 1,646 last season as a junior along with rushing for nearly 700 more (9 TD). Expect him to be one of the best dual threats in the Wichita metro for 2023.

Bryce Noernberg, Olathe South, Sr.

Noernberg was one of the most electric players to watch in the Sunflower League last season. Noernberg’s signature performance last season was when he passed for four touchdowns and rused for one more in the 37-36 thrilling victory over eventual state runner-up Gardner Edgerton last October 20th. He was an All-Non Senior pick from Sports in Kansas last season.

Brady VanDonge, Basehor Linwood, Sr.

VanDonge had a solid junior outing in which he passed for over 1,600 yards (16 TD) to go along with 190 more on the grouns (4 TD). The Bobcats have been very consistent under Rod Stallbaumer and will look to build off a 6-3 campaign in 2022.

Hudson Ferralez, Wichita Collegiate, Sr.

Ferralez will play his senior season at Wichita Collegiate after playing at Hesston the last three seasons in which he passed for 5,198 yards (51 TD) over 21 games in becoming the school’s all-time passing leader. The 6’1”, 205-pound, senior, is one of the more underrated prospects in the state. He has one of the better deep arms in the state with great awareness and accuracy. We evaluated Ferralez this off-season and were very impressed with everything we saw.

Josh Burdick, Cheney, Jr.

Burdick is one of the top sophomores we evaluated this last season. He passed for 2,226 yards (23 TD) along with a 63.5 completion percentage. We expect a big-time year once again as he returns one of the best recievers in the state in New Mexico State FBS commit Jack Voth. Cheney continues to produce top notch QBs in the state of Kansas and will have Burdick for the next two seasons.

Tate McNew, Maize South, Jr.

McNew is looking for a big junior season after passing for 2,420 yards (19 TD, 59%) for the Mavericks last fall. He set single game records in passing yards (448) and season yardage (2,420) last season. The junior has great size at 6’1” and 186 pounds to go along with his 4.15 GPA.

Tanner Heckel, Lyndon, Sr.

Best athlete on this list? It’s very likely. The transfer from Inman had a dominating junior year in 2A/1A sports last school year but will play his senior season at 8M-I Lyndon who looks to be loaded in the classification. Heckel has a 42-inch vertical, 24’ long jump, 45’7” triple jump, broad jumps 10’ and runs a 10.96 in the 100. He was an all-state pick in three sports last season and helped Inman to a runner-up finish in 1A football. Measurements don’t lie, whether its 8-man or 6A.

Kole Manley, Eudora, Jr.

Manley had a big junior year for Eudora in earning second team All-Frontier honors. He passed for 739 yards (14 TD) along with 476 rushing yards (6 TD). Eudora was a legit contender last season in 4A and returns key pieces.

Dalton Jorgensen, Lansing, Sr.

Jorgensen threw for over 2,000 yards last fall along with 24 TD as a junior. His leading receiver Lexton Grafke also returns for 2023 after hauling in 1,148 receiving yards and 17 scores.

Damon Mesa, Holcomb, Sr.

Mesa will look to lead the Longhorns in Trey Teeter’s first season as the head coach after taking over for his father, Kent, who won two state titles with the program. He’s the right guy to lead the charge as he has some of the best speed in the state at the position, running sub 4.5 (HH) in the 40 at 205 pounds. Mesa rushed for over 1,000 yards last season along with 13 touchdowns. Holcomb also returns all-state lineman Kooper Tichenor to lead the way up front.

Declan Battle, Louisburg, Sr.

Battle was a first team All-Frontier pick last season for the Wildcats and also earned non-senior honors at ATH from Sports in Kansas last season. Battle is a very strong quarterback with a squat of 465 pounds, weighing 185 pounds. HE rushed for 709 last season (18 TD) along with passing for 1,027 more. We didn’t know a ton about Battle until we evaluated him this off-season and were overly impressed with his athleticism at the position.

Jordey Pierce, Ark City, Soph.

The future could be very promising for Ark City sophomore Jordy Pierce who passed for over 1,100 yards (10 TD/3 INT)last season in stepping in for the injured Gabe Welch. Pierce was also an all-state honorable mention pick as a baseball player this spring from Sports in Kansas as a freshman.

Harvey Zimmerman, Wichita Trinity, Sr.

Zimmerman has Donald Collier back who had the most yards in the state as a receiver last season. The senior threw for 2,595 yards last season along with 28 TD/7 Int, while completing 60 percent of his passes.

Aiden Amrein, Hill City, Sr.

Amrein is the top QB returning in the 8-man ranks (Tanner Heckel joins him although hasn’t played 8-man football yet) as he has had an incredible career up to this point. The senior to be has rushed for 2,500 plus and passed for 3,300 plus in his career with 92 combined TDs. Amrein was also a state wrestling champion this past season in 3-2-1A. If you’re looking for a competitor, this is the guy.

8-Man. Caden Morgan, La Crosse, Sr. , Briggs Jewell, South Barber, Sr., Eli Lang, Minneola, Sr., Spencer Coup, Solomon, Sr., Carson Shimer, Dighton, Sr.

Morgan passed for 1,703 yards and 25 TDs last season. He also earned all-state honorable mention in baseball this spring for Larned/La Crosse and is a standout in basketball. Jewell passed for 1,685 yards (28 TD) along with 576 yards rushing last season (9 TD) as a junior. Coup passed for over 1,400 yards last season along with 22 TD/9 INT. He also added an individual state title in golf this spring. Shimer is back for Dighton after a big season last year. A multiple sport standout, he also averaged 17 ppg in basketball this last season.

Corey Crumrine, Sedgwick, Jr.

Sedgwick always puts up big passing numbers so we expect a big-time statistical season for Crumrine. He passed for 1,658 yards along with 18 TD/2 INT last season as a sophomore. The receiving corps back is also very solid.

Wyatt Wurtz, Wabaunsee, Sr.

Wurtz is one of the best athletes on the list that you may have never heard of. He has ran sub 4.5 HH 40 in the offseason and will look to be one of the best 1A QBs in the state this season. HE passed for 1,458 (19 TD) and rushed for 594 (13 TD) last fall.

Max Huston, Seaman, Jr.

Huston, a KSU baseball commit, passed for 1,248 yards as a sophomore last fall for the Vikings. He completed 60 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns.

Jackson King, Bishop Carroll, Sr.

King has a lot of upside and will be one of the best in the state this season. The 6’3”, 190-pound, senior, carries a 4.11 GPA and has a 4.56HH 40-yard dash. He passed for 1,280 yards last season along with 952 rushing yards (15 TD). Expect a big-time senior season. He has Division I FBS offers from Air Force and Navy.

Ace Monihen, Council Grove, Jr.

A big reason for the turnaround at CG has been because of the quarterback play of Monihen who has passed for 2,214 yards (25 TD) along with 692 rushing (11 TD) over the last two seasons combined. He is an explosive athlete with a clean of 320, 280 bench, squat of 475 along with taking 4th at 3-2-1A wrestling (190 lbs).

Camden Horak, Rossville, Sr.

Horak passed for 1,260 yards last fall (14 TD/4 INT) along with rushing for 844 more yards (10 TD). Traditional 2A/3A power Rossville will look for improvement this fall after going 5-5 in 2022.

Tucker Harrell, Colgan, Sr.

Harrell is pound for pound one of the strongest players in the state with a clean of over 300 pounds at 175 pounds. While he may be a better prospect as an Athlete/Defensive back he will be looked upon for a huge senior season on offense. He recently ran 4.5 HH 40 yard dash  and  has a 4.0 GPA in the classroom.

Brooks Kappelman, Liberal, Sr.

The 6’2”, 200-pound, senior is one of the top multiple sport athletes in Western Kansas, earning all-state honors in baseball this spring from Sports in Kansas. He is also a talented quarterback and will have impact WR Zayden Martinez back to form one of the best QB/WR duos in Western Kansas in 2023.

6-Man. Logan McCarty, Cheylin, Sr., Luke McGuire, Cunningham, Sr.

McCarty will look to be one of the top players in 6-man football this fall. He had 43 combined TDs last season for the Cougars. He also rushed for over 1,100 and passed for over 1,400 more. Standout teammate Pablo Bermudez is also back for Cheylin. McGuire can play in a variety of spots as he is one of the top returning players in 6-man football for 2023. He passed for over 600, rushed for over 500 and had 153 yards receiving.

Jett Wahlmeier, Hayden, Jr.

Wahlmeier, in a run-heavy offense, passed for 1,381 yards (16 TD) last season for head coach Bill Arnold. He will look to be a force in 3A after a 10-2 mark last fall.

Bravin Powell, Gardner Edgerton, Jr.

Powell led GE to a state runner-up finish last season after taking over as the starter in week six and throughout the playoffs.

Ben Wheeler, St. James, Sr.

Wheeler has offers at the FBS level as an athlete and will look to be one of the best in the EKL this season at QB for the Thunder. You know the program will have production in the passing game.

Carson Spoonts, Valley Heights, Sr.

Spoonts makes the move to Valley Heights from Eureka after his dad was hired as an administrator in the district. While Spoonts can play multiple spots with his size (6’0 205) and speed (4.55 HH 40), we expect him to shine at QB.

Miege, Mill Valley, Maize, McPherson, Wamego. Question Marks?

Miege, Mill Valley, Maize always have solid production at the spot so its just a matter of who’s the next up for those programs after the graduation of Mac Armstrong, Hayden Jay, Hunter Alvord, and Avery Johnson. Wamego has also been pretty spoiled at the spot with Hayden Oviatt and Collin Donahue. So consider whoever the starter will be when the season begins at the program above a quarterback to watch for 2023 fall.

Others to Watch –

Jeffrey Neill – Buhler, Gavin Kiser – Augusta, Kenny Redford – Wellington, Branton DeWeese – Washburn Rural, Tony Moore – Hoisington, Kal Terlip – Frontenac, Aiden Skinner – Aquinas, Isaac Martin – Hugoton, Dylan Hamilton – Kapaun, Karlan Ransom – Wichita South, Aiden Hoopes – Burrton, Hayden Helm – Madison, Eli Jones – Norton, Eli Harmison – Riley County, Will Cravens – Ellsworth, Trey Carter – Atchison, Doak Guttery – Osborne, Tyson Gates – St. Johns/Tipton, Lincoln Shafer – Greeley Co., Hunter Reiling – Burlington, Jace Wunderlich – Central Burden, Trent Haag – West Elk, Kendall Holtzman – Labette Co., Jack Cornell – Olathe East, Wesley Edison – Free State, Trent Long – Clifton Clyde, Wes Anderson – Frankfort, Carson Miller – De Soto, Tyson Grammer – Lawrence, Payton Gaines – Baxter Springs, Britt Grigsby – Ashland, Landen McPhail – Ashland, Carson Shimer – Dighton, Landon Schrieber – Blue Valley, Davin Hamby – Pawnee Hts, Zane Turner – Galena, Tra Mack – Parsons, Kendall Holtzman – Labette Co., Lucas Kirk – Bucklin, Brayden Lawson – Marmaton Valley, Rieken Stallbaumer – Hanover, Maverick Najera – Deerfield, Aiden Millren – Bishop Ward, Landon Putman – Salina South, Talon Langford – Tonganoxie, Kam Staton – Pleasanton, Lucas Raile – St. Francis, Logan Meier – Lincoln, Brayden Berenz – Skyline, Drew Konrade – Lebo, Blake Ellis – Humboldt, Camdon Julian – Independence, Webb Fern – Pittsburg, Tucker Akins – Pittsburg, Landon Wiede – Iola, Tanner Martin – Silver Lake, Stocton Timbrook – Abilene, Banks Bowen – Lawrence, Drake McPherson – Campus, Hank Welu – Valley Center,

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