Iowa high school football: Meet The Register's preseason all-state teams
The 2020 high school football season is set up to be an interesting one, for a number of reasons.
For starters, there's the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has forced other states and even the Big Ten Conference to postpone their fall sports seasons.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association, meanwhile, is pressing onward. Positive cases among football teams will be dealt with by their corresponding county health departments. During baseball season, that meant most teams sat for two weeks.
That would be a major development this football season, as all teams are scheduled to play anywhere from five to seven games. Week 1 begins Aug. 28.
That brings us to the second reason why this season will be interesting — the games themselves, and the teams and players who will be competing.
The growth in overall football talent in this state is undeniable. Division I prospects are scattered in every direction, from West Des Moines Valley's Jayden Williams to Cedar Rapids Kennedy's Connor Colby to Davenport Assumption's Tyler Maro to Lewis Central's Thomas Fidone.
Those standout players and more make up this year's All-Iowa Preseason Football Teams.
These picks were compiled by writers from both the Des Moines Register and Iowa City Press-Citizen. It's an all-class preseason team, meaning players from all six classes were both eligible and, ultimately, picked.
Unlike the postseason All-Iowa teams, the preseason picks have just two teams — First Team and Second Team. Many of the names included will sound familiar, while the others will become so in time.
Preseason All-Iowa, First Team
Quarterback: Jake Rubley, sr., W.D.M. Valley
Transferred in from Colorado this summer and is considered the 12th-best pro-style quarterback in the country. Threw for 1,767 yards and 18 touchdowns last year. Kansas State commit.
Running Back: Nick Pearson, sr., Cedar Rapids Prairie
Class 4A’s leading returning rusher after going for 1,654 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. Averaged 8.7 yards per carry. One of two 1,000-yard rushers for Prairie in 2018.
Running Back: Jayden Williams, sr., W.D.M. Valley
A 1,000-yard rusher as Valley’s primary No. 2 running back last season. Scored 12 touchdowns and averaged 7.8 yards per carry. Shifty, powerful runner. Kansas State commit.
Wide Receiver: Brody Brecht, sr., Ankeny
Returning All-Iowa Elite selection. Recorded 35 receptions last year, 18th among 4A receivers, but Brecht took those for 796 yards, which was the third-most. That’s a 22.7 yards-per-catch average. Iowa commit.
Wide Receiver: Louie Brooks, sr., Dowling Catholic
Another big-play threat on the outside for the Maroons. Hauled in 29 catches for 522 yards — 18 yards per catch — and six touchdowns. Excellent route-runner with tons of speed.
Wide Receiver: Thomas Fidone, sr., Lewis Central
Actually a tight end — the class of 2021’s top tight end prospect in the country, per 247Sports — but an excellent pass-catcher all the same. Hauled in 39 catches for 576 yards and seven touchdowns.
Utility: Cooper DeJean, sr., OABCIG
Returning All-Iowa Elite selection. DeJean went for 4,838 total yards of offense last year — 3,546 passing, 1,292 rushing — the second-most in a single season in state history. Iowa commit.
Offensive Line: Connor Colby, sr., Cedar Rapids Kennedy
Returning All-Iowa Elite selection. A bruising, 6-foot-6, 280-pound lineman who’s among the best guards in the country. Led the way for Kennedy’s top-ranked rushing attack last season. Iowa commit.
Offensive Line: Henry Lutovsky, sr., Mount Pleasant
Returning All-Iowa pick. A towering, top-30 offensive line prospect who is a bully in both run- and pass-blocking, at 6-foot-6, 335 pounds. Nebraska commit.
Offensive Line: Tyler Maro, sr., Davenport Assumption
Another top-tier lineman prospect, with more than 30 Division I offers. Stands 6-foot-7 and is just 260 pounds. Athletic, shifty lineman with high upside.
Offensive Line: Luke Pinnick, sr., West Marshall
Returning All-Iowa pick. Fielded plenty of Division I interest thanks to his 6-foot-4, 295-pound frame. Quick feet and strong frame. Northern Illinois commit.
Offensive Line: Dodge Sauser, sr., Grinnell
Returning All-Iowa honorable mention pick. An under-the-radar prospect that plays with top-notch technique and moves quickly even at 6-foot-5, 255 pounds. Also a first-team all-name pick. Iowa State commit.
Defensive Line: T.J. Bollers, sr., Clear Creek-Amana
Returning All-Iowa honorable mention pick. A lethal, physically-gifted edge-rusher with a relentless motor, at 6-foot-3, 250 pounds. Wisconsin commit.
Defensive Line: Hunter Deyo, jr., Lewis Central
Returning All-Iowa pick. Racked up 26.5 tackles for loss last season while playing alongside another Division I talent in Logan Jones. Disruptive, at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds.
Defensive Line: Aaron Graves, jr., Southeast Valley
Returning All-Iowa pick. A massive problem on the defensive line, literally, at 6-foot-5, 260 pounds. Has 21 sacks and 27 tackles for loss in two seasons. Iowa commit.
Defensive Line: Griffin Liddle, sr., Bettendorf
Returning All-Iowa Elite selection. A respected defensive linemen prospect who’s also a top-100 wrestling recruit. Racked up just nine tackles for loss, but was a huge reason why Bettendorf reached the state semifinals. Iowa (football) commit.
Linebacker: Jaden Harrell, sr., Urbandale
A technically-sound linebacker who’s responsible for 137 total tackles over the last two seasons. Has also piled up 14.5 tackles for loss. Iowa commit.
Linebacker: Seth Malcom, sr., Fremont-Mills
Returning All-Iowa pick. A do-it-all star for a regular 8-player power. Has amassed 2,847 rushing yards and 64 total touchdowns the last two years. Nebraska commit.
Linebacker: Will McLaughlin, jr., Harlan
Broke out with 75 total tackles last season as a sophomore. Has a nose for the ball, with four fumble recoveries and possesses elite positional speed. Top-30 inside linebacker prospect nationally.
Linebacker: Zach Twedt, sr., Roland-Story
Returning All-Iowa pick. Broke out for 113.5 total tackles last season — including 80 solo stops — after recording just 92 in his first two seasons. Versatile. Iowa commit.
Defensive Back: Xavier Nwankpa, jr., Southeast Polk
One of the nation’s best defensive back prospects. Recorded 52.5 total tackles — including 43 solo stops — last season to go along with six career interceptions, including three that went back for touchdowns.
Defensive Back: Tyler Olson, sr., Webster City
Returning All-Iowa pick. Led the state with 12 interceptions last season, the third-highest single-season total in state history, to give him 14 for his career. All-time record is 24, by Albia’s Blake Bayer.
Defensive Back: Aaron Smith, sr., Waukee
Returning All-Iowa Elite selection. An incredibly speedy and versatile. Scored 10 touchdowns last year, including four in one game via receiving, rushing, kickoff return and interception return.
Defensive Back: Jeron Senters, jr., Linn-Mar
Class 4A’s leading returning interception leader after recording seven in 2019. Another versatile athlete that played all over the field for Linn-Mar last season.
Kicker: Owen Smith, sr., Iowa City West
Went 6-of-9 on field-goal tries last season, with a long of 51, and hit all 20 point-after attempts. Considered a four-star kicking prospect by Kohl’s Kicking.
Punter: Jake Calvert, sr., Dowling Catholic
Hit 3-of-3 field-goal attempts and connected on 48-of-54 point-after tries last season, and also averaged 32.6 yards per punt. Considered a 4.5-star punting prospect by Kohl’s Kicking.
Preseason All-Iowa, Second Team
Quarterback: Jase Bauer, sr., Ankeny
Running Back: Dayson Clayton, sr., Fort Dodge
Running Back: Jaden Koger, sr., Des Moines Roosevelt
Wide Receiver: Grahm Goering, sr., Iowa City West
Wide Receiver: Matthew Mahoney, sr., W.D.M. Valley
Wide Receiver: Alec Wick, sr., Iowa City Regina
Utility: Marcus Morgan, sr., Iowa City West
Offensive Line: Jim Bonifas, sr., Dubuque Senior
Offensive Line: Spruceton Buddenhagen, jr., Clarke
Offensive Line: Kadyn Proctor, soph., Southeast Polk
Offensive Line: Nile Schuett, sr., Tipton
Offensive Line: Jordan Ver Meer, sr., West Lyon
Defensive Line: Jeff Bowie, sr., West Branch
Defensive Line: Max Llewellyn, sr., Urbandale
Defensive Line: Nasir Washington, sr., W.D.M. Valley
Defensive Line: Dominic Wiseman, jr., Davenport North
Linebacker: Seth Bullock, sr., Dubuque Senior
Linebacker: Thomaj Davis, sr., Des Moines Roosevelt
Linebacker: Tucker Langenberg, sr., Urbandale
Linebacker: Blake Willey, sr., Dallas Center-Grimes
Defensive Back: Ryan Crandell, jr., Ankeny
Defensive Back: Brady Duwa, sr., Sigourney-Keota
Defensive Back: Joe Morrison, sr., Waukee
Defensive Back: Creed Welch, sr., Waukon
Kicker: Jack Rutz, jr., Johnston
Punter: Tate Stine-Smith, sr., ADM
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.
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