The 4A Southern Idaho Conference owns a deserved reputation as a meat-and-potatoes league filled with rough-and-tumble players. But look for a group of dynamic prospects with elite speed, big-time arms and explosive athleticism to light up the scoreboard around the Treasure Valley this fall.
Below are five of the top players who will make an impact this season.
REX IRBY, RB/DB, BISHOP KELLY
Bishop Kelly is known as a linebacker factory, but it’s Irby who will lead the defense this fall.
The three-year starting free safety is coming off a first-team All-Idaho season that saw him rack up 90 tackles and lead a defense that allowed a 4A SIC-low 11.2 points per game.
Bishop Kelly coach Tim Brennan called him one of the smartest player he’s ever coached. The Knights will rely on those brains and his experience to run the defense, and he’ll also pose a threat as one-third of BK’s three-headed backfield.
“(He’s a) very physical player, loves to hit,” Ridgevue coach Tom DeWitz said. “On offense, he’s scary to tackle when he has the ball.”
KHALIL FOREHAND, RB/DB, BISHOP KELLY
Forehand didn’t see many touches last fall as the Knights used him primarily as a jet sweep option. But look for the speedster to make an impact in 2017.
After winning a state title in the 100 meters as a sophomore and then taking second last spring, Forehand’s elite speed earned him an offer from Idaho. Brennan said the Vandals are recruiting him as an athlete.
He’ll battle for carries in Bishop Kelly’s loaded backfield. But the Knights will move him around the field, even into the slot, to try to get him the ball in space where he can do the most damage.
“He’s going to be a threat to score every time he touches the ball,” Skyview coach David Young said. “That speed is just dangerous.”
DJ CRUMP, RB/WR/DB, EMMETT
Conference coaches elected Crump to the 4A SIC first team as a running back last fall. But that only begins to describe Crump’s impact.
Emmett lined the speedy weapon all over the field looking for weaknesses in the defense, whether that was out wide in the passing game, in the slot or straight out of the backfield. Then Emmett’s starting quarterback went down with an injury, and he stepped in under center and led the Huskies to their first 4A playoff win in program history.
He’ll leave quarterbacking duties to someone else this fall and return to his jack-of-all-trades pursuits, creating headaches for opposing coaches who will have to find him before they can stop him.
“He’s just a handful because of all the things he can do,” Vallivue coach Layne Coffin said.
DEMONTE HORTON, WR/FS, SKYVIEW
Skyview called up the 6-3, 205-pound receiver to the varsity squad as a freshman, and he hasn’t left since.
The second-team All-Idaho selection hauled in 79 catches for 1,084 yards and 18 TDs last season as the No. 2 option in the Hawks’ receiving corps. He steps up to No. 1 this fall and owns offers from Air Force, Idaho State and Division II Adams State.
If the ball is anywhere near him, few will be able to stop him from coming down with the catch.
“Even if you have great coverage or have him double-teamed, the QB can throw it up there, and he will go up and get it with his athletic ability,” DeWitz said.
WYATT STORER, QB, SKYVIEW
The 5-8, 180-pound signal caller rewrote the record book last season for a school with a storied quarterback history — as a sophomore. Storer set school records for completions (277), passing yards (3,732) and passing TDs (47) to earn second-team All-Idaho status.
His big arm, accuracy, mobility and ability to improvise have the school career records all within reach and opposing defensive coordinators sweating for two more years.
“He understands our schemes second only to our offensive coordinator,” Skyview coach David Young said.