State’s top players worth some buzz

mfields@herald-leader.comAugust 23, 2013 

Nacarius Fant already has had a fabulous high school career. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound receiver has been a star playmaker for Bowling Green's back-to-back undefeated Class 5A champions.

Fant has 144 career receptions for 2,774 yards (that's almost 20 yards per catch) and 28 touchdowns. The two-time all-stater also has 1,278 yards and nine TDs as a kickoff and punt returner.

Fant has committed to his hometown WKU Hilltoppers.

With all he has accomplished going into his senior year, Fant deserves to be touted as a leading candidate for Mr. Football.

So where's the buzz about the Bowling Green star?

It's being drowned out by the hype about Conner quarterback Drew Barker, who has committed to Kentucky, and John Hardin defensive tackle Matt Elam, who will pick from among Alabama, UK, Louisville, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Tennessee.

Bowling Green Coach Kevin Wallace understands why Barker and Elam are getting more attention than Fant.

"The promotion of high school players has become all about who's the best recruit," Wallace said. "And the best recruits are the tallest, fastest, biggest guys.

"Our kids don't fit the computer model of what a big-time recruit is supposed to look like, and sometimes our guys get frustrated because of that.

"I like my guys. Colleges might not like 'em, but I do. I wouldn't trade them for anybody on Friday night."

Fant hopes Bowling Green gets a chance to face Barker and Elam in the playoffs. The Purples could meet John Hardin in the semifinals and Conner in the finals.

"Hopefully me and my teammates would perform well and we'd win another championship, and that'd speak for itself," Fant said.

Trinity quarterback Reggie Bonnafon, who has committed to Louisville, and South Warren defensive lineman Adrian Middleton, a UK commit, are among the other top seniors in the state.

Scott County Coach Jim McKee thinks his senior receiver/safety Scott Daniel deserves mention, too.

Daniel helped Scott County reach the 6A state finals as a sophomore, and he starred on both sides of the ball last fall when the Cards lost a 21-14 heartbreaker to Trinity in the state semifinals.

Daniel, who has a scholarship offer from Wofford, averaged only seven touches a game last year but had more than 2,000 all-purpose yards and 21 TDs.

"He has such a huge impact on a game," McKee said.

Like Fant, Daniel doesn't get the media attention that Barker and Elam enjoy. Wallace said that's just the way the system works now, with social media helping to fuel the hype.

"It's all about who the big colleges want, and those guys are instantly tagged the best players," Wallace said.

That's already happening with the Class of 2015. Juniors Damien Harris of Madison Southern, Elijah Sindelar of Caldwell County, Reese Ryan of Lexington Catholic, and Eli Brown of Warren East already have national profiles.

Harris, who has committed to Michigan, is rated among the top running backs in the nation. Sindelar, who has an offer from UK, and Ryan, who has an offer from Louisville, are rated as top quarterback prospects. Brown, who's committed to Vanderbilt, is a highly rated linebacker.

50 of the top players

PlayerSchoolHt.Wt.ClassPos.
Austin AskinSt. Xavier6-7270Sr.OL
Drew BarkerConner6-4215Sr.QB
Elijah BellHenry Clay5-9180Sr.RB
Logan BlueOwensboro6-4218Sr.LB/TE
Reggie BonnafonTrinity6-2185Sr.QB
Eli BrownWarren East6-2195Jr.LB
Sam BurchellCovington Catholic6-2225Sr.LB
Will BushBallard6-1200Sr.WR
Ross CoxAnderson County6-3205Sr.WR/DB
Scott DanielScott County6-1170Sr.WR/S
Kyle DowningMayfield6-5220Sr.OL/DE
Dajzon DukesDoss6-2210Sr.WR/S
Ryan DuvallApollo6-5215Sr.LB
Matt ElamJohn Hardin6-6355Sr.DL
Nacarius FantBowling Green5-10175Sr.WR
DeAndre FarrisCollins5-9175Sr.RB/WR/DB
Phillip FrancisCentral5-9195Sr.LB
Mac FranzenNewport Catholic6-3205Sr.QB/S
Jake GuhyMayfield5-11170Sr.QB
Damien HarrisMadison Southern5-11198Jr.RB
Joe HawkinsFranklin-Simpson6-3240Sr.DE/TE
Devin HayesBowling Green6-2177Sr.QB
Joel IyiegbuniweSouth Warren6-3215Sr.LB
Seth HopeHighlands6-3220Sr.DE
Robert JonesValley5-10180Sr.QB
Cody McPeekFairview6-4314Jr.OL/DL
Adrian MiddletonSouthWarren6-4265Sr.DL
Kylan NelsonLafayette5-11170Sr.WR/RB/DB
Michael NelsonNorthLaurel5-11170Sr.Ath.
Cole OusleyMcCrackenCounty6-3175Sr.QB
Derik OverstreetPaducahTilghman6-3230Sr.DE
Lawson PageCollins6-2200Sr.QB
Chris Porter-Bunton WarrenCentral6-4200Sr.WR
Lincoln QuickBowlingGreen6-2224Sr.LB
Chris RobertsFranklinCounty6-3260Sr.RB/LB
Reese RyanLexingtonCatholic6-2175Jr.QB
Elijah SindelarCaldwellCounty6-5200Jr.QB
Aaron SmithPulaskiCounty6-1200Sr.OLB/RB
Donald StylesCentral5-10160Sr.LB
Devin TaylorWestJessamine5-10210Sr.RB
R.J. TaylorTatesCreek6-1210Sr.LB/TE
Blue TisdaleBowlingGreen6-1190Sr.RB
Nick TrueHighlands6-5240Sr.OL
Lloyd TubmanSeneca6-3230Sr.DL
Charles WalkerSt.Xavier5-11175Sr.RB/WR
Sani WarrenBelfry5-9190Sr.QB/DB
Masai WhyteCollins6-1210Sr.LB/RB
Carson WhiteheadHarlanCounty6-1215Sr.FB/LB
Cole WilsonHarlanCounty6-3190Sr.WR/DE
Christon WoodsOwensboro6-1230Sr.OL/DE

(Based on survey of coaches)

Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com.

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