Kentucky high school football: 2013 Class of the Commonwealth

mfields@herald-leader.comDecember 21, 2013 

UK commit Drew Barker (7) had 16 rushes for 111 yards for Conner against Anderson County Friday, Nov. 15, 2013.

MARK MAHAN — Herald-Leader Buy Photo

  • 2012 Class of the Commonwealth: Where they went to college

    Blake Bir, Covington Catholic, QB, Dayton

    Hunter Bivin, Apollo, OL/DL, Notre Dame

    Joey Bloomfield, Ballard, OL/DL, Kansas

    Kyle Bolin, Lexington Catholic, QB, Louisville

    Nick Britt, Russell County, RB, Campbellsville

    Domonick Brown, John Hardin, LB, EKU

    Jeffrey Canady, Knox Central, RB/WR/DB, EKU

    Dalyn Dawkins, Trinity, RB, Purdue

    Jason Hatcher, Trinity, LB, Kentucky

    Kentayvus Hopkins, Bourbon County, RB/DB, EKU

    Aaron Jackson, Frankfort, WR, WKU

    Jonathan Jackson, Mayfield, RB/LB, Murray State

    Donovan McCoy, Highlands, QB/WR, Louisville (not playing football)

    Tony Messer, Belfry, TE/DE, EKU

    Dennis Oxendine, Tates Creek, RB/DB, Illinois State

    Austin Pray, Perry Central, QB/WR/DB, Centre

    James Quick, Trinity, WR, Louisville

    Ryan Timmons, Franklin County, WR, Kentucky

    Richard Trent, Breathitt County, QB/DB, n/a

    Ryan White, Trinity, DB/KR, Vanderbilt

    Logan Woodside, Franklin County, QB/DB, Toledo

    Travis Wright, Trinity, QB, Fla. International

Winning a state title is the crowning achievement for a high school football player, and half of this year’s Class of the Commonwealth celebrated at least one championship during their careers.

This is the Herald-Leader’s 22nd Class of the Commonwealth, our way of recognizing 22 outstanding seniors. Only a few are blue-chip prospects, but all of them distinguished themselves individually and contributed to their team’s success.

Bowling Green receiver Nacarius Fant helped the Purples to three consecutive undefeated Class 5A titles. Devin Hayes quarterbacked Bowling Green to the last two of those championships.

Collins, 4A runner-up last year, upset Highlands to win the 4A title this year thanks to the stellar play of quarterback Lawson Page, running back DeAndre Farris and linebacker Masai Whyte.

The other Class of the Commonwealth players who had a state championship experience: Reggie Bonnafon of Trinity, Dylan Byrd of DeSales, Scott Daniel of Scott County, Jake Guhy of Mayfield, Nick True of Highlands and Sani Warren of Belfry.

The highest-profile honorees are Conner quarterback Drew Barker, who has committed tosigned with Kentucky, and John Hardin defensive lineman Matt Elam, who has scholarship offers from UK and Alabama among others.

Here's the entire list (read more about each player below):

  • Drew Barker, QB, Conner
  • Elijah Bell, RB, Henry Clay
  • Reggie Bonnafon, QB
  • WR, Trinity
  • Dylan Byrd, RB, DeSales
  • Ross Cox, WR/DB, Anderson Co.
  • Scott Daniel, WR/DB, Scott Co.
  • Matt Elam, DL, John Hardin
  • Nacarius Fant, WR, Bowling Green
  • DeAndre Farris, RB/DB, Collins
  • Jake Guhy, QB, Mayfield
  • Houston Hartz, QB, Owensboro Catholic
  • Devin Hayes, QB, Bowling Green
  • Brenan Kuntz, QB, Simon Kenton
  • Lawson Page, QB, Collins
  • Chris Roberts, RB/LB, Franklin Co.
  • Devin Taylor, RB, West Jessamine
  • Nick True, TE/OL, Highlands
  • Sani Warren, DB/QB, Belfry
  • Carson Whitehead, RB/LB, Harlan Co.
  • Masai Whyte, LB, Collins

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Drew Barker

Quarterback, Conner

Height, weight: 6-4, 215

Credentials: A dual-threat quarterback, Barker passed for 2,702 yards and 34 touchdowns, and ran for 849 yards and nine TDs this season. In his career he threw for 6,264 yards and 62 TDs, and ran for 3,931 yards and 51 TDs. He was named Class 6A player of the year by the Kentucky Football Coaches Association. He has signed with UK and will enroll there for the second semester so he can participate in spring practice.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Elijah Bell

Running back, Henry Clay

Height, weight: 5-9, 180

Credentials: A dynamic breakaway threat, Bell set a school record by rushing for 2,121 yards this season, averaging 11 yards per carry. He ran for 1,857 yards as a junior and averaged 10 yards a carry. Over the last two seasons Bell had 5,264 all-purpose yards and 49 TDs. Coach Sam Simpson said if Bell can get his academics in order, UK, WKU and Cincinnati are in the recruiting mix.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Reggie Bonnafon

Quarterback/receiver, Trinity Height, weight: 6-2, 185

Credentials: Bonnafon, who has committed to Louisville, was a wide receiver on Trinity’s 2012 state title team and had 400 yards and five TDs. He moved to quarterback this year and his athleticism was on full display. He passed for 2,606 yards and 16 TDs, and rushed for 895 yards and 18 TDs while playing in the best district in the state and a challenging out-of-state schedule.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dylan Byrd

Running back, DeSales

Height, weight: 5-9, 175

Credentials: A workhorse running back, Byrd led the Colts to the Class 2A state title by rushing for 2,026 yards and 36 TDs this year. He also had 354 yards receiving yards and three TDs. He finished as DeSales’ all-time leading rusher with 4,254 yards and had 77 TDs, including 63 rushing. He is drawing interest from Ball State, Morehead, Georgetown, Franklin, Thomas More and Kentucky Wesleyan.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Ross Cox

Wide receiver/defensive back, Anderson County

Height, weight: 6-3, 205

Credentials: Cox was the Bearcats’ catalyst offensively, defensively and on special teams. After being used primarily as a receiver last year (51 catches, 1,153 yards, 13 TDs), Anderson County found more ways to get him the ball this season. He had 53 catches for 991 yards and 10 TDs, but he also ran 94 times for 665 yards and 10 TDs, and had more than 500 yards and three TDs on kick returns. He also had 13 interceptions over the last three years, and more than 4,000 all-purpose yards. EKU, WKU, Toledo and Kent State are interested. UK wants him to walk on.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Scott Daniel

Wide receiver, defensive back, Scott County

Height, weight: 6-1, 170

Credentials: Daniel didn’t get his hands on the ball much, but when he did he made things happen. He had 34 catches for 484 yards and 13 TDs this season, and had 1,400 all-purpose yards and 20 TDs, including the game-winning score in Scott County’s 21-14 victory over Meade County in the Class 6A finals. He also helped the Cards to a state runner-up finish in 2011. He had a TD catch and a 95-yard kickoff return for a score against Trinity in the finals. In his career Daniel had 4,770 all-purpose yards and 52 TDs. He has committed to EKU.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Matt Elam

Defensive lineman, John Hardin

Height, weight: 6-6, 355

Credentials: The most talked about and sought-after recruit in Kentucky’s Class of 2014, and winner of the Paul Hornung Award as the top senior in the state. Elam’s size, speed and agility has him choosing from among UK, Alabama and Notre Dame. He will announce his college choice during the Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, on Jan. 4. Elam hurt his knee in a win over Bullitt East in the 5A playoffs and sat out the Bulldogs’ near-upset of Bowling Green in the state semifinals.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Nacarius Fant

Wide receiver, Bowling Green

Height, weight: 5-10, 175

Credentials: A key playmaker on Bowling Green’s three consecutive unbeaten state championship teams, Fant was one of the most productive receivers in state history. This season he had 83 catches for 1,699 yards and 24 TDs. He was among the state’s all-time career leaders with 227 catches (tied for fifth most), 4,473 receiving yards (third most) and 52 TD catches (tied for fourth most). Fant had more than 6,550 all-purpose yards and 62 TDs, and averaged 20 yards every time he touched the ball. He has committed to WKU.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

DeAndre Farris

Running back/defensive back, Collins

Height, weight: 5-9, 175

Credentials: Farris was a 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver as a junior in helping Collins to a state runner-up finish. He was also a catalyst for the Titans’ state title run this season. He had 67 catches for 1,051 yards and 16 TDs, ran for 682 yards and 15 TDs, and was a threat with his 4.4 speed as a kick returner, too. Farris, who has committed to WKU, finished his career with 2,670 rushing yards and 40 TDs, and 2,256 receiving yards and 30 TDs.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Jake Guhy

Quarterback, Mayfield

Height, weight: 5-11, 170

Credentials: Guhy led the Cardinals to three consecutive state finals and to state titles the last two years. He was a model of consistency, with 164, 166 and 161 completions the last three seasons and more than 2,200 passing yards each year. Guhy, whose brother Luke quarterbacked Mayfield to the 2010 state title, finished his career with 8,202 passing yards and 94 TDs. A 4.0 student, Guhy plans to attend Louisville but not play football.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Houston Hartz

Quarterback, Owensboro Catholic

Height, weight: 6-2, 200

Credentials: Hartz put up more passes this season than any quarterback in state history, and he did it in relative anonymity. He set a single-game state record with 77 pass attempts (40 completions) in the Aces’ second-round playoff loss to Murray. On the season Hartz had a state-record 522 pass attempts, and his 322 completions were second most in the record book. He threw for 3,664 yards and 43 TDs. In his career he passed for 6,468 yards and 78 TDs. Murray State, Morehead, Centre, Georgetown, Kentucky Wesleyan are among colleges showing interest.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Devin Hayes

Quarterback, Bowling Green

Height, weight: 6-2, 175

Credentials: The triggerman of Bowling Green’s high-powered offense the last two undefeated state championship teams, Hayes got the ball to his playmakers. He had a terrific senior season, completing 70 percent of his passes for 3,304 yards and 43 TDs. In his career he threw for 6,493 yards and 87 TDs. Hayes, a star in the classroom too, has Penn, Davidson and Centre as his top colleges, but that could change as other schools are showing interest. Kevin Wallace considers Hayes “the most under-recruited player I have ever coached.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Brenan Kuntz

Quarterback, Simon Kenton

Height, weight: 6-3, 195

Credentials: Overshadowed in Northern Kentucky by Drew Barker, Kuntz proved to be a stellar dual-threat quarterback, too. He led Simon Kenton to an unbeaten regular season (including a win over Barker’s Conner team). He passed for 2,461 points and 31 TDs while getting intercepted only once. He ran for 1,010 yards and 15 TDs. In his career he threw for 5,633 yards and 54 TDs, and rushed for 1,509 yards and 19 TDs. Kent State, Grand Valley State and WKU are showing interest.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Derik Overstreet

Defensive end, Paducah Tilghman

Height, weight: 6-3, 230

Credentials: Overstreet was among Tilghman’s leading tacklers over the past three seasons, using his athletic ability to track down the ball. Overstreet has committed to WKU, and Tilghman Coach Randy Wyatt thinks the Hilltoppers “got a steal. This kids has a motor. He plays full speed. He can play linebacker or rush end.” Overstreet also plays offensive tackle for the Blue Tornado.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Adrian Middleton

Defensive lineman, South Warren

Height, weight: 6-4, 265

Credentials: Middleton, who has committed to UK, was one reason South Warren led the state in scoring defense this season. The Spartans didn’t allow a TD through their first eight games, and surrendered only seven all season (13 games). Middleton had 67 tackles, 27 for losses, and forced three fumbles. Coach Mark Nelson said Middleton has the “size, speed, aggressiveness” and the understanding of what it takes to be a great player. “Adrian’s potential is limitless and he’ll work and compete at a very high level to help UK in anyway he can.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Lawson Page

Quarterback, Collins

Height, weight: 6-2, 200

Credentials: Page led Collins to back-to-back state championship games, including the Titans’ stunning upset of Highlands in this year’s Class 4A finals. He had passed for 178 yards and ran for 108 in the title game. On the season Page threw for 3,214 yards and 38 TDs, and ran for 556 yards and one TD. He pushed his career totals to 7,728 passing yards and 96 TDs, and 1,498 rushing yards and eight TDs. EKU, Morehead State, Murray State, UT-Martin and the state’s smaller schools are showing interest.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Chris Roberts

Running back, linebacker Franklin County

Height, weight: 6-3, 260

Credentials: A beast on both sides of the ball, Roberts rushed for 1,336 yards and 24 TDs, and had 267 receiving yards and three TDs this season, and he was the team’s third-leading tackler. In his career he had 4,296 all-purpose yards and had 59 TDs. Coach Chris Tracy said Roberts has talked about walking on at UK. Toledo and EKU are among schools showing interest.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Devin Taylor

Running back, West Jessamine

Height, weight: 5-10, 210

Credentials: The elusive Taylor led the state in rushing yards the past two years. He ran for 2,442 yards and 23 TDs as a junior, and followed with 2,664 yards and 29 TDs this season. He had a school-record 388 yards against Woodford County. His 222 yards per-game average this season is seventh best in state history. In his career Taylor ran for 5,544 yards and 56 TDs. He has offers from some Division II schools and junior colleges. Illinois State, Central Michigan, Morehead State and WKU are also interested and awaiting his qualifying academic scores.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Nick True

Tight end/offensive lineman, Highlands

Height, weight: 6-5, 240

Credentials: True epitomized Highlands’ football as a physical player who did whatever he could to help his team win. He was a tight end on the Bluebirds’ state title teams in 2011 and 2012, excelling as a blocker, and also catching 19 passes for 243 yards and five TDs. He moved to offensive tackle this season because he was needed there, and was a standout in providing protection and opening holes in Highlands’ high-powered offense that carried the team to a state runner-up finish. True has committed to WKU.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sani Warren

Quarterback/defensive back, Belfry

Height, weight: 5-9, 190

Credentials: How many players can say they started in four consecutive state championship games? Warren started at defensive back on Belfry’s state runner-up teams to Central in 2010 and 2011, started at quarterback and defensive back when the Pirates lost to Central in the 2012 finals, and he started on both sides of the ball in Belfry’s title game victory over Wayne County this year. Warren efficiently managed Belfry’s run-first offense. Over the past two seasons he totaled 2,657 yards and 38 TDs passing and running. He also led the defense with eight interceptions. Coach Philip Haywood praised Warren’s leadership, poise and energy. EKU is looking at Warren, and several small Kentucky colleges are interested.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Carson Whitehead

Running back/linebacker, Harlan County

Height, weight: 6-1, 215

Credentials: Whitehead qualified as a grizzly bear for the Black Bears on defense. He led them in tackles each of the last three years, and was among their leaders as a freshman. He was in on more than 550 tackles in four years. He also assumed the role of star running back this year, rushing for 1,277 yards and 15 TDs. Whitehead, a 4-0 student who scored a 26 on the ACT, has offers from smaller in-state schools, which puzzles Coach Tom Larkey. “He’s got the whole works. He’s a heck of a blocking back, a great running back and great linebacker. He’s a dedicated kid, too, and he’d like to play at a bigger school.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Masai Whyte

Linebacker, Collins

Height, weight: 6-1, 210

Credentials: Jerry Lucas said Whyte was “as good a linebacker and athlete as I’ve coached in 20-plus years.” Lucas said Whyte could’ve been the team’s best running back if he’d used him there. But defense is where Whyte shone, helping Collins to a state runner-up finish in 2012 and a state title this year. He finished his career with 466 tackles, including 154 solo and 123 first hits. He also forced nine fumbles and had four interceptions. Whyte is committed to WKU.

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

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service