Commentary

Potential high school record breakers

Updated: August 26, 2009, 11:39 AM ET
By Mark Tennis, Doug Huff and Paul Muyskens | ESPNRISE.com

Some high school football standouts are on the minds of every college coach in the country. Some top recruits happen to post eye-opening statistics as well. There are many more players, however, who have crazy statistics even if they're not rated high in any recruiting ranking.

The following players were selected mostly on past numbers but also with an eye on players we expect to be among the stat leaders in their various states.

ALABAMA
Nolen Smith (Oneonta). He isn't a big-time recruit like Julio Jones from two seasons ago, but statistically in state history there's been few wide receivers as productive as Smith. He set a state record last season with 102 catches and turned those into 1,528 yards and 23 touchdowns.

ALASKA
Albert Gerke (Barrow). His right arm led the Whalers to the state semifinals as he set a single-season passing record for Alaska's small schools by passing for 1,806 yards. While those numbers don't initially jump out as huge numbers the school is the state's only varsity football team north of the Arctic Circle causing weather far more suitable to running the ball than passing.

ARIZONA
Kevin Pantastico (Desert Ridge, Mesa). You could say he was "fantastico" last season as he passed for 2,861 yards and 30 touchdowns while earning himself a spot in the state's record book. With nearly 11 minutes left in a game against Red Mountain, he broke the previous single game passing record, He finished with 595 yards in a 43-40 loss while also tying the record for most touchdown passes in a game with six.

ARKANSAS
Michael Dyer (Little Rock Christian). He was the EA SPORTS National Sophomore of the Year two seasons ago. He didn't put up quite the numbers last year as he did in 2007, but he still rushed for 1,984 yards and 19 touchdowns to show why he's regarded as one of the top Class of 2010 running backs in the nation. With his senior season upcoming, he has rushed for nearly 5,600 yards with 53 rushing touchdowns in his first three years of high school.

CALIFORNIA
Robert Woods (Serra, Gardena). The wideout/defensive back is without question one of the top players nationally. His numbers may go down a bit this season due to some talented teammates that may cause the ball to be spread around a bit more often. Last season, Woods latched on to 81 receptions for 1,378 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also had eight interceptions on defense.

COLORADO
Zach Thenell (Bear Creek, Lakewood). The son of the team's head coach, Tom Thenell, has more than 6,000 yards passing and 68 TDs with still one more year to go.

CONNECTICUT
Jordan Burandt (Brookfield). As a junior last season, Burandt fired away for 2,557 yards through the air and had 28 touchdown passes. He led Brookfield past Ledyard, 16-14, in the Class M state championship.

DELAWARE
Jamaal Jackson (Hodgson Vo-Tech, Newark). Jackson, who has offers from Big East and ACC programs, enters his senior season with just over 3,500 career rushing yards.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (D.C.)
Ricardo Young (H.D. Woodson, Washington, D.C.). Young, who has verbally committed to Virginia Tech, passed for 3,089 yards and 31 touchdowns last season as Woodson won the DCIAA championship.

FLORIDA
C.J. Bennett (Alonso, Tampa). In just 11 games last season, Bennett aired it out 411 times with 251 completions for 3,017 yards and 29 TDs. He recently committed to Wyoming where new Cowboys coach Dave Christensen could use him like Chase Daniel, the QB Christensen coached as a coordinator at Missouri.

GEORGIA
Kyle Karempelis (Wesleyan, Norcross). He will be the state's top returning rusher with 1,902 yards and 25 touchdowns last season as a sophomore. During a state championship season for the Wolves, Karempelis gained 189 all-purpose yards and blocked a punt in the state finals. He also caught 35 passes for almost 500 yards and five touchdowns.

HAWAII
Andrew Manley (Leilehua, Wahiawa). A starter at the quarterback position since his sophomore year, the 6-3, 215-pounder nearly led the Mighty Mules to a second straight Division I state championship as they had their repeat hopes ended in the final by Punahou. Last season, the signal caller passed for 3,665 yards and 31 touchdowns with a 62 percent completion percentage and has slowly been gaining college recruiting attention.

IDAHO
Tanner Mangum (Timberline, Boise). When he took the opening snap of the season last year he did so as a 14-year old freshman who had to take a bus every day from a middle school to Timberline High just for practice. Mangum still led the state in passing with 2,865 yards and 29 touchdowns in just nine games. He passed for 335 yards and four touchdowns in his first game.

ILLINOIS
John Whitelaw (Hinsdale Central, Hinsdale). In a 41-21 loss to Maine South in the Class 8A state final, Whitelaw had 262 yards passing plus 139 more rushing. He ended up with 3,559 total yards, with 2,246 through the air. He's also going to be a three-year starter and has perfect grades.

INDIANA
Jackson Kirtley (Heritage Christian, Indianapolis). The 6-foot-2, 185-pound quarterback led his 14-1 record team to a state Class 2A title while completing 251 of 378 passes for 3,615 yards and 46 touchdowns last season. The Eagles prevailed, 17-14, in the state finals over Cass as Kirtley was 18 of 27 for 218 yards and two scores.

IOWA
Andre Dawson (Washington, Cedar Rapids). The 6-foot-1, 210-pound running back earned second team all-state honors as a junior when he rushed 271 times for 1,485 yards and 27 touchdowns. The touted college prospect also landed 30 passes for 293 yards.

KANSAS
Blake Bell (Bishop Carroll, Wichita). He's one of the top college prospects from the state in many years and recently became the first quarterback from Kansas to be selected for the Elite 11 Quarterback Camp. Bell also has put up some eye-opening totals. The 6-6, 215-pounder headed to Oklahoma passed for 2,871 yards and 34 TDs as a junior. He also rushed for 327 yards and 12 more scores.

KENTUCKY
Miles Simpson (Simon Kenton, Independence). He led the state last year in rushing with 2,309 yards and touchdowns with 41 while also playing defensive back and intercepting three passes to lead the Pioneers to the Class 6-A state championship game. His 264 points was good enough to tie him for 10th place in the state's single-season record book.

LOUISIANA
Jermauria Rasco (Evangel Christian, Shreveport). If there was one guy in the state that quarterbacks aren't looking forward to meeting it is this junior defensive end. He had 26 sacks last season as a sophomore and already has 33 for his career. Rasco also is already considered one of the top prospects in the country for 2011.

MAINE
Steve Trask (Thornton Academy, Saco). After missing his sophomore year due to injury, the quarterback bounced back with an impressive junior campaign. Trask rolled up 1,800 yards of total offense and accounted for 23 touchdowns.

MARYLAND
Billy Cosh (Arundel, Gambrills). Cosh, the son of Kansas State defensive coordinator Chris Cosh, set eight public school state records last season while guiding Arundel to the Class 4A state semifinals. The most noteworthy of Cosh's state records was his 3,909 passing yards and 56 touchdowns. He also had a game where he completed 39 of 64 passes, both marks that were state records.

MASSACHUSETTS
Ryan Izzo (Walpole). Izzo is already the Boston-area Division 2 player of the year in back-to-back seasons. Last year, the running back scored 38 touchdowns and scored a state-record 177 points.

MICHIGAN
Chris Robinson (Ovid-Elsie, Elsie). The Marauders aren't a big-time football school known for churning out college prospects, but Robinson led the state in rushing last year by almost 800 yards over his nearest competitor as he ran for 2,840 yards in 14 games and scored 41 rushing touchdowns. His 41 touchdowns more than doubled the school record, which he tied last season, of 17 touchdowns in a season. He also averaged over 200 yards per game on the ground.

MINNESOTA
Mark Alt (Cretin-Derham Hall, St. Paul). The 6-foot-4, 185-pound quarterback accounted for 2,712 total offense yards and 38 touchdowns in 13 games last season. He completed 152 of 242 passes for 2,353 yards and 27 scores and rushed 73 times for 359 yards and 11 touchdowns.

MISSISSIPPI
Nicholas Parker (South Panola, Batesville). The 6-foot-2, 210-pound all-state running back was a workhorse for the 14-1 record Tigers, which had an 89-game win streak ended by Meridian, 26-20 in overtime, while seeking their sixth straight state Class 5A title. Overall, Parker rushed 357 times for 2,500 yards and 26 touchdowns. In a 21-14 state quarterfinal win over Northwest Rankin, he carried 58 times for 373 yards and three TDs.

MISSOURI
Cameron Coffman (Raymore-Peculiar, Peculiar). As a sophomore in 2008, the son of former NFL tight end Paul Coffman and younger brother of Cincinnati Bengals rookie Chase Coffman (a third-round draft pick last April) passed for 2,369 yards and 23 TDs. Coffman also served as a ball boy at the recent Elite 11 Quarterback Camp, which means at the minimum he'll be one of the leading candidates to be chosen for next summer's camp.

MONTANA
Shay Smithwick-Hann (Glacier, Kalispell). With the departure of Brock Osweiler to Arizona State, this 6-foot-4 senior is the top returning passer in Class AA in the state after throwing for 2,335 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. Despite winning just two games last season, the Wolfpack, who have had Smithwick-Hann behind center since the school's first varsity football game in 2007, have playoff hopes on their mind.

NEBRASKA
Rylan Cotton (Southeast, Lincoln). A versatile three-sport athlete, Cotton passed for 1,459 yards and rushed for 888 more yards as a junior quarterback. He also had 16 touchdowns rushing with 10 more passing.

NEVADA
Stephen Nixon (Cimarron Memorial, Las Vegas). Showing the speed that made him so successful in track and field, he was one of the leading rushers in the state last year falling just shy of 2,000 yards with 1,954 yards to go with 23 touchdowns in his junior year.

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Kevin Brady (Inter-Lakes, Meredith). Brady rushed for 1,200 yards last season and is one of two 1,000-yard backs returning in New Hampshire this season. Brady was a first-team Division IV all-state selection. He also helped a team of New Hampshire players place third at a 7-on-7 passing tournament in New Jersey in April.

NEW JERSEY
Gregory Moore (Paterson Catholic). He finished his junior season among the top five in the state in rushing with 1,693 yards and 17 touchdowns as the Cougars captured the Non-Public Group I championship for the fifth time since 1999. In the season finale, Moore scored two touchdowns, including a game-clinching interception return for a score in the final quarter.

NEW YORK
Jeff Mack (Iona Prep, New Rochelle). The 5-foot-8, 160-pound all-state running back led the Gaels to an 11-0 record last season while rushing 243 times for 1,953 yards and 25 scores plus 30 pass receptions for 284 yards and a TD.

NEW MEXICO
Brycson King (Aztec). Last year as a sophomore he nearly led the Fighting Tigers to a 4A state championship. King did lead the state in passing and earned All-State honors. Running the spread offense, he helped Aztec average more than 45 points per game for the second straight year as he passed for more than 4,200 yards with 52 touchdowns.

NORTH CAROLINA
Marquise Williams (Mallard Creek). Williams is a 6-4, 218-pounder who still has his junior and senior season left. As a sophomore, the big-time college prospect passed for more than 1,800 yards, rushed for nearly 1,000 more yards and had 34 total touchdowns.

NORTH DAKOTA
Jason Hagen (Oakes). The Tomadoes' running back-defensive back-kick returner-punter posted big nine-man numbers last season. In 11 games, he rushed 231 times for 2,077 yards and landed 14 passes for 250 yards. He also scored 45 touchdowns and had 24 conversions for 304 points.

OHIO
Maty Mauk (Kenton). The kid brother of former University of Cincinnati quarterback Ben Mauk is already on a record pace. As a 6-1, 175-pound freshman last fall, Mauk averaged 330.9 yards of passing per game in 10 outings and threw 36 touchdown passes. If the team goes further in the playoffs in the next three seasons, Maty may approach 4,000 yards passing for each season and would get well over 15,000 for his career. The Kenton head coach is Mike Mauk, father of both Ben and Maty.

OKLAHOMA
L.T. Pfaff (Atoka). He was one of the state's leading passers last year as a sophomore as he passed for 3,349 yards and 38 touchdowns while setting a state record for most passing yards in a game. That came with 569 yards and seven touchdowns in a win over Kingston but he was even better several weeks later as he passed for 629 yards and eight touchdowns in a 52-39 win over Marietta.

OREGON
Anthony LaCoste (West Albany). He led the state in rushing last year with 2,631 yards and 34 touchdowns as the Bulldogs went 14-0 and won the Class 5A state championship for the second straight year. In the last two years he has rushed for over 4,500 yards with 58 touchdowns as he looks to add to his impressive career totals on the way to a possible third straight undefeated state championship season.

PENNSYLVANIA
Kyle Smith (Lancaster Catholic). With a state-best 3,192 passing yards last season, he has set himself up to break the state career passing record during his senior season. Smith so far has 5,807 yards in two years with the record at 8,109. Last season, he also passed for 42 touchdowns, improving his career total to 69.

RHODE ISLAND
Michael Read (Barrington). The 5-8, 180-pounder was among the state rushing leaders as a junior with 1,300 yards. He also scored 21 touchdowns and in track and field ran anchor on a state-title winning 4x200 relay team.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Justin Worley (Northwestern, Rock Hill). Last season's leading passer in the state was just a sophomore as he passed for more than 3,600 yards with 50 touchdowns and is well on his way to becoming one of the top signal callers in the nation for the Class of 2011. He led the Trojans to the 4A Division II state championship game where they were defeated, 35-14, by South Pointe.

SOUTH DAKOTA
Cory Jacobson (Viborg). The junior quarterback-linebacker led the nine-man Vikings in offense (191 yards a game) and defense (16 tackles a game). He amassed 1,722 total offense yards and 26 touchdowns in nine games.

TENNESSEE
Orleans Darkwa (Ensworth, Nashville). He teamed with state DII-AA Mr. Football Tavarres Jefferson to form one of the state's most dynamic rushing backfields last season. The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder rushed for 1,952 yards (9.1 yards a carry) and 21 touchdowns for the 11-1 record team.

TEXAS
D.J. Jones (Denison). There are a few running backs in the state with higher recruiting rankings, but Jones put up the most impressive numbers last season. He rushed for 2,646 yards and scored a whopping 38 touchdowns. Included was a 432-yard, eight-touchdown explosion against McKinney. Jones has gained offers from Arkansas, Florida and Texas Tech, among others.

UTAH
Chandler Allen (Copper Hills, West Jordan). He is a 6-3, 220-pound wide receiver who might switch to tight end in college. As a junior, Allen shined with 58 catches for 831 yards and seven touchdowns.

VERMONT
Max Librizzi (Essex). One team with a good shot at knocking off defending state champ Hartford is Essex, which was a semifinalist last season and will be led once again by Librizzi. As a junior quarterback, Librizzi set a school record with 2,151 yards passing and 21 touchdowns. He also broke the school's single-game record with an outing of 392 yards.

VIRGINIA
Phillip Sims (Oscar Smith, Chesapeake). The quarterback for the state's top team is a no brainer pick. He set a state title game record with six touchdown passes when the Tigers swamped Osbourn, 54-24, in their final game last December. He finished with 3,167 yards and 38 TDs. As a sophomore, Sims had a state record 470 yards in his last game and ended with 3,100 yards and 33 scores.

WEST VIRGINIA
Allan Wasonga (Parkersburg). He was a first team Class AA all-state running back as a sophomore last season at Point Pleasant High before transferring to the Class AAA school. The 5-foot-9, 190-pounder rushed for 1,937 yards and scored 25 touchdowns for a 7-4 record Point Pleasant team.

WASHINGTON
Jake Heaps (Skyline, Samammish). As a junior, the highly-regarded quarterback led the Spartans to an unbeaten record and state title with 2,910 yards passing with 38 TD passes and just four interceptions. For the last two seasons combined, he has 5,843 yards passing with 66 TDs and 10 interceptions. Heaps also has led his teams to a 28-0 record. He's the Garrett Gilbert of this season: a super recruit with super stats and top-notch grades.

WISCONSIN
Trey Demler (Oshkosh West, Oshkosh). The quarterback completed 226 of 357 passes in 11 games for 3,051 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also rushed for 295 yards.

WYOMING
Austin Woodward (Sheridan). He was the Class 5A offensive player of the year last season and should again put up big numbers as the Broncs are considered one of the state's top teams this year.. Multiple Ivy League schools along with Colorado and others are interested. Woodward also was an all-league selection in basketball and at the state track meet he finished 12th in the long jump and fourth in the 100 meters.

Sheldon Shealer contributed to this report.