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2023 Idaho High School Football Preview: Top 10 Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Four-star recruit Gatlin Bair leads the way, but there's a lot of talent to go around
Published: 8/3/2023 11:46:52 AM
Brandon Baney
Managing Editor/Broadcaster
brandon@idahosports.com
 

ORDER GAME PHOTOS

As we head towards a new football season in the fall of 2023, IdahoSports.com is once again 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:

June 26 (Offensive Linemen)

July 3 (Defensive Linemen)

July 10 (Special Teams)

July 17 (Running Backs)

July 24 (Linebackers)

July 31 (Wide Receivers/Tight Ends)

August 7 (Defensive Backs)

August 14 (Quarterbacks)

Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Wide Receivers/Tight Ends to watch out for in 2023.  These selections have been made by the editorial staff at IdahoSports.com, 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.

Bryson Crane, Sr, Bear Lake

Crane burst onto the scene last year as a junior, as his penchant for big plays helped Bear Lake secure their first football championship in school history.  Standing a slender 6-foot-3, 160 pounds, Crane is a true vertical threat.  Crane’s stats may appear modest: 36 grabs for 425 yards and eight scores.  But consider that Bear Lake had four different receivers total more than 200 yards on the season in a truly balanced attack.  Crane will have an opportunity to play at the next level.  The question is: which sport?  He’s also a talented basketball and baseball standout.

Gatlin Bair, Sr, Burley

This is the THE GUY in Idaho high school football this year.  Dubbed by some as Idaho’s most talented football recruit ever, Bair has drawn attention from major Division 1 programs from every corner of the country.  On Saturday, he will officially choose which school he will be playing for in college.  The finalists? Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon, TCU and hometown Boise State.  That alone should tell you how talented Bair is, but for fun, here’s his stats from a season ago: 73 catches, 1,073 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Gavin Rasmussen, Jr, Declo

Over the years, the Declo Hornets have been thought of as a smash-mouth, run-heavy team on offense.  Rasmussen is changing that philosophy.  The 6-foot, 165-pounder averaged over 100 yards receiving per game last year as a sophomore, qualifying for both the All-Conference and All-State teams.  Another three-sport standout, it will be interesting to see how Rasmussen fares in his junior season, now that the element of surprise is gone.

Kaden Zimmer, Sr, Garden Valley

Garden Valley possessed a diverse offense in 2022.  They could run the ball down your throat with Jaiden Hunt and Gavin Kelly.  Quarterback Tacoma Kelly could take off and run, as well.  But when Kelly dropped back to pass, Zimmer was by far his favorite target.  Zimmer caught 38 passes last year for the Wolverines.  The second-place pass-catcher was Zade Thompson with 16.  Zimmer turned those 38 grabs into 642 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 16.9 yards per reception.

Luke Snarr, Sr, Kuna

Snarr earned first team All-Southern Idaho Conference honors a year ago, and it’s easy to see why.  Snarr finished fourth in the conference with 745 yards on 44 receptions.  The three receivers ahead of all graduated, so the spotlight is firmly on Snarr this year.  One area that will definitely improve in 2023 is his scoring.  After only scoring twice last year, the law of averages says that Snarr, and Kuna’s offense as a whole, will both increase their scoring totals.

Jack DeJong, Sr, Lighthouse Christian

DeJong has been a two-way starter for the Lions since day one of his freshman season.  He’s also possessed blazing speed, but has refined his route running in recent years to become one of eight-man football’s toughest receiving threats.  DeJong brings ideal size to the position (6-foot-4, 190 pounds) and could play receiver or tight end in college.  In 2022, DeJong finished with 1,054 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Noah West-Baranco, Sr, Melba

West-Baranco took a sharpie to the Melba High School record books in 2022, setting new program bests for receiving yards (1,001) and receiving touchdowns (ten) in a single season.  The Mustangs lost starting quarterback Cache Beus for the upcoming season, as he decided to transfer to Class 4A Skyview.  Cache’s cousin, 6-foot-8 Cutter Beus, will now assume QB duties for the first time, which makes West-Baranco’s steady play at receiver even more important this year.

Teague Matthews, Sr, Rockland

The 6-foot-5 Matthews poses an interesting problem for not just opposing coaches, but the IdahoSports.com staff tasked with putting this list together.  Matthews made our Top 10 Wide Receivers list a year ago, and started his junior campaign off much the same way he ended his sophomore year.  But with Rockland’s season on the line midway through the year, Bulldogs coach Gerry Hunter decided to move his best athlete to quarterback.  From there, Matthews piloted the Rockland offense and helped the Bulldogs win the conference title.  So the question remains: do we put Matthews on our Top 10 Wide Receivers or Top 10 Quarterbacks list?  Ultimately, he will play receiver in college, so he stays put on this Top 10 list for the time being.

Max Frank, Sr, Sandpoint

The 6-foot-1, 200 pound Frank did it all for the Bulldogs a year ago, emerging as a true dual threat.  At times, Frank lined up in the slot, and at other times, he played in the backfield as a running back.  No matter where he played, he produced.  First, the rushing numbers: 74 carries, 636 yards, 11 touchdowns.  And the receiving totals: 33 catches, 549 yards, nine touchdowns.  Add it all up, and Frank combined for 1,185 numbers and 20 touchdowns.  That kind of versatility will play at the next level.

Ty Brown, Sr, Teton

Brown is a matchup nightmare.  The 6-foot-4, 200-pound senior is a true big-play threat.  He averaged 17.7 yards per reception in 2022, and finished with 566 yards and eight touchdowns.  To better illustrate the problems Brown causes for opposing coaches, look at his track and field season from this past spring.  Not only did Brown produce Class 3A’s best high jump mark, clearing 6-foot-7, but he was also quick enough to be a part of Teton’s 4x100 Meter Relay Team.





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