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2022 Football Preview: Top 10 Defensive Backs
From ballhawking safeties to cover corners, these are Idaho's best DBs
Published: 8/10/2022 12:17:44 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 Wide Receivers/Tight Ends 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.

Deegan Hale, Blackfoot (Sr.)

At 6-foot-3 and 170 pounds, Hale is bigger than your typical defensive back, and he uses his size to his advantage.  Hale also plays receiver for the Blackfoot offense, and those ball skills, combined with an impressive vertical leap, allows him to consistently get the best position on contested passes.  It's no surprise that Hale is also a defensive stalwart on the basketball court, and his skills as a shooting guard could play at the next level.  Whichever path he chooses, Hale's 4.0 GPA will open a lot of doors.

Cody Power, Dietrich (Sr.)

Power has received a lot of notoriety for his play on offense so far in his Blue Devils career, and for good reason.  The quarterback/running back piles up yardage better than anyone.  But so often in 8-man football, it's defense that ultimately determines how successful a team can be, and his skills in the secondary are underrated.  With a name like Power, you would assume that Cody is a physical mauler, but he actually possess great speed, as he ran a 50.04 in the 400 meter dash this past spring.

Burton Park, Firth (Sr.)

Park gobbled up 8 interceptions a year ago, and chipped in 45 tackles while defending the run.  He also scored 13 touchdowns on offense as a running back/slot receiver.  Add it all up and Park's fingerprints were all over Firth's success the past two years, as the Cougars have qualified for back-to-back 2A championship games.

Jagger Hewett, Kendrick (Sr.)

Hewett earned All-State and All-Whitepine League honors at both tight end and defensive back in 2021.  Some may think that Hewett is included here simply because there was no room for him on our Top 10 Wide Receivers/Tight Ends list.  That's simply not true.  Hewett snagged 7 interceptions a year ago, and his play on the back end allowed the 1AD2 champion Tigers to be more aggressive on the pass rush.

Cole Burtenshaw, McCall-Donnelly (Jr.)

In 2021, a sophomore named Cole Burtenshaw was expected to be a complementary player in both the offensive and defensive backfields.  That lasted approximately one week, as season-ending injuries to DJ Green and Ethan Tinney cast a more prominent spotlight on Burtenshaw.  Burtenshaw was used at times as a rusher and receiver, and was also asked to defend the opponent's best receiver on defense.  The way Burtenshaw handled an immense workload as a sophomore has many salivating over what his junior season has in store.

Tate Johansen, Middleton (Sr.)

At 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, Johansen is a wrecking ball in the defensive backfield.  In 2021, he amassed 81 tackles, including 61 solo stops as the last line of defense.  He also picked off 3 passes, and for good measure, added 793 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns on offense.

Krue Hales, Pocatello (Sr.)

Hales has been a varsity contributor at Pocatello since his sophomore year, but he broke out in a big way during his junior season in 2021.  Hales had a penchant for making the big play, whether it came on offense (82-yard touchdown reception in the 4A semifinals against Skyline), defense or special teams (90-yard touchdown on a kickoff return against Jackson, Wyoming).  Hales led the state with 8 interceptions a year ago, including a 100-yard pick six in the opening round of the 4A playoffs against Bonneville.

Ian Galbreaith, Skyline (Sr.)

While other defensive backs on this list rely on their size to gain an edge, Galbreaith only stands 5-foot-8 and 150 pounds, which means his instincts are impeccable.  His 2021 stats are impressive: 69 tackles, 4 interceptions, 8 pass breakups and 2 fumble recoveries.  The stat Galbreaith cares about the most, though?  The back-to-back 4A championships he helped deliver to Skyline High.  Galbreaith went toe-to-toe with talented receivers like Blackfoot's JaVonte King and Pocatello's Julian Bowie a year ago, and emerged victorious.  He'll have to do so again if the Griz want to three-peat in 2022.

RajaNee Olivieri, Timberlake (Sr.)

Team didn't throw Olivieri's way too often in 2021, as he registered just 33 tackles.  But when teams did decide to attack Olivieri, the 1st Team All-Intermountain League selection made them pay with 6 interceptions.

Jrew Plocher, Watersprings (Sr.)

Plocher states it best on his Twitter account: "I'm not just a QB, I'm an ATHLETE."  Boy, is he ever.  It's true that Plocher piloted the Warriors offense at quarterback a year ago, and surpassed 1,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing on offense.  He also was a dyanmo kick returner, taking multiple balls back for touchdowns.  But it's his defensive abilities that could ultimately take him to the next level.  No matter what position he plays, some college team is getting one heck of an athlete for their program.  Plocher has worked relentlessly this offseason, and we'll see how new Watersprings coach Shane Remer utilizes his number one weapon.

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