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2022 Football Preview: Top 10 Defensive Linemen
8 of the 10 players on this list come from schools 2A and smaller
Published: 7/13/2022 2:36:59 PM
Brandon Baney
Managing Editor/Broadcaster


As we head towards a new football season in the fall of 2022, is getting fans ready by unveiling the Top 10 players at each position.  These lists feature players from all corners of the state, and from all six classification levels.  Each week, we'll publish a new list of Top 10 players.  Here's the schedule:

July 7 (Offensive Linemen)

July 13 (Defensive Linemen)

July 20 (Running Backs)

July 27 (Linebackers)

August 3 (Wide Receivers/Tight Ends)

August 10 (Defensive Backs)

August 17 (Quarterbacks)

Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Defensive Linemen to watch out for in 2022.  These selections have been made by the editorial staff at, and are listed in alphabetical order by school.  We made these selections based on a number of factors, including: returning All-State or All-Conference pedigree, college recruiting hype, and the good old-fashioned eye test.

Wyatt Vining, Council (Sr.)

Vining is known more for his exploits on the basketball court, but the 6-foot-3, 215 pound defensive end is lightning quick off the ball and a big disruptor in the run game.  Vining was a 1st Team All-Long Pin Conference selection a year ago, and also earned All-State accolades.

Arik Blonquist, Firth (Sr.)

A year after double digit sack-man Athan Blonquist made this list, it's now Arik's time to shine.  In reality, Arik's spotlight has been just as bright as Athan's over the past two years, but if Firth wants to make a third straight 2A championship game, they will lean once again on Blonquist and the rest of the Cougars defense.  Last year, Arik had 63 tackles, 9 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery.

Sage Lone Bear, Lapwai (Jr.)

Lone Bear is Idaho's second-best prospect in the Class of 2024, and for good reason.  The 6-foot-4, 280 pound junior can play nose tackle as well as a traditional three-technique.  He's also been working on his long snapping this offseason as well, and if he can further develop that area of his game, several high-profile colleges could come calling.

Payton Gunter, Nampa (Sr.)

Gunter recently committed to the University of Idaho, so the question is: what kind of player are the Vandals getting?  The 6-foot-4, 230 pound defensive end was a 1st Team All-State and 1st Team All-Southern Idaho Conference selection.  He won the defensive linemen MVP award at the Vandals' football camp earlier this summer.  And he won the Class 4A wrestling title at 220 pounds this past winter.

Hank Richardson, North Fremont (Sr.)

The three-sport athlete is an intimidating presence, whether he's lined up on the edge of the defensive line, preparing to muscle his way to the basket down low in the post, or standing in the batter's box ready to rip an extra-base hit.  Standing 6-foot-3, Richardson racked up 55 tackles and 4 sacks a year ago.

Aaron Jimenez, Notus (Sr.)

At 6-foot-1 and 250 pounds, Jimenez is the ideal size for a defensive tackle.  But it's not just his size that's impressive, as Jimenez has demonstrated a number of pass rush moves that have proven to be quite effective.  Case in point?  He sacked Camas County quarterback Dawson Kramer four times last year in a single game.  Jimenez was also named the Long Pin Conference Defensive MVP a year ago.

Porter Pickett, Oakley (Sr.)

At 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds, Pickett is on the smaller side compared to others on this list.  But like everyone who wears the red and black of Oakley High, Pickett is tough.  He's proven to be a Swiss Army Knife the past two seasons for Oakley as well.  They've used him in the backfield as well as up front, and no matter where he's lined up, opponents know they're in for a battle.

Matyus McLain, Priest River (Sr.)

McLain is the second University of Idaho commit to grace our Top 10 Defensive Linemen list.  Standing 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, the Spartans' defensive end averaged nearly 2 sacks per game a year ago.  He finished with 13 total sacks, to go along with 74 tackles, 3 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.

Korban Hansen, Raft River (Sr.)

Hansen was a 1st Team All-State selection a year ago, and he lead a stingy Trojans defense from his end position.  Hansen finished with 55 total tackles and 6 sacks on the season.  He is equally adept at defending the run and rushing the passer.  His ability to occupy blockers also allowed other Raft River defenders to rack up impressive numbers.

Kade Steadman, Rocky Mountain (Sr.)

The Air Force commit racked up 28.5 sacks as an 8th grader, and has been giving opposing offensive coordinators nightmares ever since.  At 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds, Steadman can play defensive end or slide inside to a tackle position.  Defensive versatility is a staple of Rocky Mountain's defensive scheme, and Steadman fits it perfectly.

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