So who are the top skill players to watch out for this high school football season? Everybody has their own opinion on the subject. Here is my personal list of the top 10 quarterbacks, running backs, kickers and receivers in the SEMO Conference.
Last year Hicks was known more for his defense, but the guy is also a dominant running back. He's a shifty runner with 4.5 speed and has excellent hands as a receiver. He finished with 649 yards on the ground and caught 31 passes for 500 yards in 2001. Considering he is also an all-state defensive back, Hicks should reserve a spot on his mantle for the Carr Trophy.
Burnett's durability overshadows all shortcomings. Need somebody to carry the ball 30 times a game? This is your guy. Burnett averaged 28.6 carries per game last season, finishing with 1,717 yards and 19 TDs. Being only 51 yards shy, he should break Dexter's career rushing record tomorrow night against Poplar Bluff.
Moore set several Hayti receiving records last year as a sophomore, earning second team all-state honors. He finished with 26 catches for 705 yards and had nine touchdowns. This year he returns a little bigger, a little stronger and more experienced. He will be the area's top receiver for the next two seasons.
Stanback rushed for 1,040 yards as Charleston's third option on offense in 2001. Now that Jordy Mixon and Dontay Clark are out of the equation, there's no telling how good Stanback can be. He will definitely get an opportunity to prove himself.
Statistically, Craft is easily the top returning quarterback in the area. He threw for 1,391 yards as a sophomore, throwing eight TDs while running in six. He could turn out to be Cape's offensive MVP.
Multi-sport standout Tony Webb is on the verge of a big year. On a team loaded with talented receivers, Webb caught 21 passes for 403 yards last season. He will be the Mules' main target this year.
If you've got a need, a need for speed, look no further than Goolsby -- the fastest running back in the SEMO Conference. He will be Kennett's make-or-break player as the Indians get back to running the football.
Last year at this time, Morgan was a wide receiver on the junior varsity team. Now, he could arguably be the starting tailback for any varsity squad in the area. Every team on Sikeston's schedule will struggle with his size and speed.
Jackson might be the best running back nobody has ever heard of. Last year he rushed for 1,022 yards, averaging 9.8 yards per carry. And he did it behind Caruthersville's lowly offensive line.
When Rogers is healthy, he can be the most explosive player in the area. In just three games last year, he nabbed seven passes for an average gain of 39 yards. If this guy can keep off the DL, watch out.
OTHER players that just missed the cut are Malden RB John Sutton, Hayti WR Llewellyn Borders, Jackson RB Stuart McIntosh, Malden WB Jamall Kilgore, Dexter WR Willie Dooley, Chaffee WR James Reischman, Portageville QB Lance Penn, East Prairie RB Josh Boyer, Sikeston QB Blake DeWitt and Hayti RB Torrey Nelson.