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How a high school football player is recruited isn’t so simple. Transcripts are crucial, especially with the NCAA raising the core GPA to at least a 2.3 to qualify for Division I. Ability is a must.

But not all coaches use the same template finding players.

There have been some big misses in Arizona preps history.

Let’s look at my top 10 most underrated players for the 2017 season:

No. 1 Brock Purdy, Gilbert Perry, QB, 6-1, 200, Sr.

He has offers from UNLV, New Mexico State, UC Davis and Northern Arizona. But he still is way under the radar, mainly because of his height. What more does he have to prove to get a major college offer? He put up crazy numbers in the state’s toughest region and was azcentral sports’ quarterback on the All-Arizona team and among the three finalists for Big Schools Player of the Year. “A lot of guys don’t know what it takes to make a good quarterback tick,” said former college coach Steve Axman, who has been helping Purdy and the Gilbert Perry offense since last season. “He may be only 6-foot-1, but the top three (quarterback) draft choices in the NFL were 6-2. I can’t think that extra inch makes that much of a difference. He’s got great vision and intelligence. That and the fact that he’s able to get out of trouble with his feet so well.”

No. 2 Derek Kline, Phoenix Desert Vista, QB, 6-5, 210, Sr.

His only offers are Idaho and Morehead State. But wait and see how good this guy will be in Arizona. His first game is against Purdy and Perry. That will be the game of the most underrated quarterbacks in the state. Kline has the tangibles — he is 6-5, 210 pounds. He came from a Reno, Nev., program that emphasized the run, so his full talents weren’t on display. They will be at Desert Vista under one of the best offensive coordinators, Sean Morin.

No. 3 Drake Anderson, Chandler, RB, 5-10, 180, Sr.

He missed all of last season because of a hip injury. But he is back, full speed, and cutting on a dime. This guy has been so impressive in the spring and summer workouts that those questions about who is going to replace all those yards and touchdowns by state Player of the Year T.J. Green aren’t so frequent. Anderson is capable of dialing up big plays.

No. 4 Kyle White, Scottsdale Notre Dame, DE, 6-0, 220, Sr.

He led the Saints in sacks last year and has had four-time All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen working with him. White’s height doesn’t make him the kind of guy that college coaches pursue at the defensive end. But his motor is non-stop and he could wind up as Notre Dame’s MVP on defense this year after the work he puts in.

No. 5 Treyvon Williams, Goodyear Desert Edge, DB, 5-11, 175, Sr.

He has 197 career varsity tackles, and he’s an elusive kick returner who will make plays all over the field this season for the Scorpions under new coach Jose Lucero. Nobody will outwork him. 

No. 6 Ryan Bendle, Peoria Liberty, QB/Athlete, 6-0, 165, Sr.

Bendle is going to be a bundle of dynamite as he moves into a new role:Playmaking quarterback. Last year he was used mainly in the slot. He is good in space, but people will be surprised at how big an arm he has. He is fearless and unflappable. Liberty’s offense will be much improved and more dynamic.

No. 7 Damaria Norris, Glendale Cactus, RB, 5-10, 195, Sr.

He only has an Arizona Christian offer. And that was after a breakout season in which he ran for 2,209 yards and 28 TDs. Norris’ speed and strength sets him apart from most backs. He carries a chip on his shoulder very well and that will show this season.

No. 8 Kris Jackson, Mesa, RB, 5-11, 210, Sr.

Coach Kapi Sikahema has been taking him around to different colleges, trying to get him exposure. But still no offers. It might take another big season for recruiting to get kick-started. Jackson ran for 1,750 yards and 22 TDs last season.

No. 9 Michael Rogers, Laveen Cesar Chavez, RB/LB, 6-3, 240, Sr.

He can take over a game. Last year, he was practically unstoppable. He also led the basketball team into the state semifinals. He is a versatile athlete who runs in beast mode. Academics were an issue earlier in his prep career, but Rogers was making efforts to catch up with that. He just needs to improve his test score but he is expected to qualify. There are no offers but he has the talents to have a lot of them by now.

No. 10 Justin Segura, Phoenix Horizon, NG/OL, 6-4, 255, Sr.

He had 50 tackles, nine for losses, and four sacks in nine games last season. He is a two-way player who could be a monster on defense at the next level. He won’t be outworked.

To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at [email protected] or 602-316-8827. Follow him at

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