It’s been nearly two years since most football teams in the valley have had a chance to compete.
During that 2019 season, the valley featured several big-time pass-catchers.
Desert Pines tight end Darnell Washington, a five-star recruit who signed with Georgia, and Bishop Gorman wide receiver Rome Odunze, a four-star recruit and Gatorade Player of the Year who signed with Washington, led the charge.
Whether this year’s group of receivers will be able to live up to that standard remains to be seen, but these are the five the Review-Journal sees as the best in the valley going into the 2021 campaign.
1. Germie Bernard, Liberty — The senior Washington commit caught 54 passes for 969 yards and 14 touchdowns in helping the Patriots to the 2019 Class 4A state championship.
2. Zachariah Branch, Bishop Gorman — The junior, who ran a school-record 10.33-second 100-meter dash in the spring, averaged 21.7 yards on his 18 catches as a freshman.
3. Jett Solomon, Desert Pines — The senior Utah State commit proved to be a reliable target who is explosive after the catch in the Jaguars’ 11-1 run to the 4A state semifinals in 2019.
4. Jonathan Brady, Bishop Gorman — The senior is listed as a three-star recruit on 247Sports.com and figures to have a breakout season opposite Zaccariah Branch.
5. Kyri Shoels, Arbor View — The senior has an offer from Northern Arizona, should receive more chances with the ball in his hands as the Aggies use the spread offense more than in the past.
This is the first in a series of eight articles listing the top five high school football players in the valley at their respective positions.
July 31 — Wide receivers
August 1 — Defensive back
August 2 — Linebackers
August 3 — Running backs
August 4 — Defensive linemen
August 5 — Offensive linemen
August 6 — Special teams
August 7 — Quarterbacks