1. AJ Harris, Blue Valley, senior. Harris, who is already committed to the University of Missouri, is ranked as the top recruit in the state of Kansas by Rivals.com with four stars. Additionally, they have him as the No. 19 offensive lineman in the entire country. The 6-foot-3, 297-pound tackle helped the Tigers to a 10-3 record last season with the offense averaging 34 points per game.
2. Ryan Willis, Bishop Miege, senior. Willis, who was tabbed as the first-team All-EKL quarterback as a junior, will help lead the Stags as they transition to Kansas Class 4A this season. Last year, he passed for 2,983 yards and 30 touchdowns in nine games. With him under center, the Stags averaged 450 yards of total offense per game. He also had three games with more than 400 yards passing, including one 500-yard game. Willis is already committed to the University of Kansas.
3. Venus Triplett, Olathe North, senior. The Sunflower League’s top rusher returns after recording 1,530 yards and 25 touchdowns during Olathe North’s run to the substate championship. Not only was he scoring often, but he did it in impressive ways. Eleven of his 25 rushing touchdowns came on runs of 30 yards or more. He’s in a good position to excel again with quarterback Cole Murphy and three offensive linemen returning. He is just one of the big stars on this year’s Olathe North squad, along with teammates Josh Moore, who’s committed to Ohio State, and Iowa State bound Marcel Spears.
4. Miles Alexander, Blue Valley Northwest, senior. With Gardner Edgerton’s Traevohn Wrench graduated, Alexander becomes the new biggest ground game threat in the Eastern Kansas League. Last year he rushed for 1,375 yards and 12 touchdowns on 187 carries, which calculates to an average of 7.35 yards per carry. His biggest challenge will be adjusting to the Huskies’ new offensive line, since all five starters graduated last season.
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5. Kyle Ball, Shawnee Mission East, senior. Ball was a critical part of the Lancers’ run to the Kansas Class 6A state title game last year. This season he is back to add some veteran leadership to the squad. As a defensive end, he led the team with 111 tackles and 30 for loss, with 10 hurries, eight sacks and a blocked punt. That earned him 2013 Sunflower League defensive player of the year honors. With his help, the Lancers held opponents to 14 or fewer points in six games.
| Kathleen Gier, email@example.com