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Southern Nevada’s top defensive player countdown — No. 4

Bishop Gorman linebacker Palaie Gaoteote comes in at No. 4 on our #NVprepsfb list of Southern Nevada’s top defensive players.

To create the list, we spoke with coaches from the Sunrise and Sunset Regions in both 4A and 3A. A couple of the base questions were: “Who is the top high school defensive player today?” and “Who would you pick to start a team?”

Then we grabbed the statistics from last season, looked at the player’s collective rankings on recruiting websites and used our own judgment to fill holes.

This resulted in the #NVprepsfb defensive player rank. The list is based off high school productivity and not college or professional potential.

#NVprepsfb Defensive Player Rank: Bishop Gorman’s Palaie Gaoteote No. 4




6 feet, 2 inches; 210 pounds


Second-team all-state (2015); second-team all-Southwest League (2015)


Gaoteote, who is a consensus four-star prospect, has scholarship offers from Auburn, Boise State, Colorado, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Southern California, UCLA, Utah, Washington, Washington State and Wisconsin. He is considered the country’s top linebacker in the class of 2018, and is the No. 11 overall prospect, according to Scout.com.

Last Year’s Stats

Gaoteote had 92 tackles, three sacks and an interception for the Gaels, who went undefeated and won their seventh consecutive state title.

What they are saying?

— “That kid’s a stud. He’s freakishly athletically,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “Tough, quick and he’s on every tackle. Every single one. He can play. He’s not going to have any trouble getting (scholarship) offers. Just a flat-out football player.”

— “He’s going to be a good one,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “In the 2018 (recruiting class), he’ll probably be the best defensive player.”

— “He was phenomenal last year,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “Next year, he’s going to be one of the best linebackers in the country.”

— —

#NVprepsfb Defensive Player Rank: Desert Pines’ Tony Fields No. 5




6 feet, 2 inches; 200 pounds


Second-team all-state (2015); second-team Division I-A all-state (2015); first-team all-Southern Region (2015); first-team all-Sunrise Region (2015)


Fields, who is a consensus three-star prospect, committed to Arizona on May 7. He also has scholarship offers from Arizona State, Boise State, Brigham Young, Colorado, Colorado State, Hawaii, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, Northwestern, Oregon State, San Diego State, San Jose State, UNLV, UNR and Washington State.

Last Year’s Stats

Fields had 93 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions. He also scored two touchdowns for the Jaguars, who fell to Moapa Valley in the Division I-A state quarterfinals.

What they are saying?

— “He’s one of those devastating linebackers in the middle that you want to run away from,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “Just his attitude, his leadership. Some people play the sport because they love it and have a passion. That’s the type of player he is. He’s a role model out there. When he steps up, everybody else thinks they need to step up.”

— “It’s probably Tony (that is Desert Pines’ top player) on the defensive side,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “He’s got the intangibles. He also has the agility and ability to get to the football.”

— “Tony is the modern day football player,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “He’s a tweener — a safety and a linebacker. Kind of like (former Pittsburgh Steelers safety) Troy Polamalu. He can be in the box and make tackles and he can play over the top.”

If you want to get involved in the discussion, #NVprepsfb is the Twitter hashtag to use. You also can follow along @nevadapreps.

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