POY Potential: Top 5 Utah football recruits

The Gatorade Player of the Year Program honors athletes who meet comprehensive and exacting criteria in high school sports. Candidates are judged on athletic production and impact in the current season. Contenders also must demonstrate high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership. Senior status has no bearing on a candidate’s merit and selections are made independent of ESPNU's recruit rankings.

That being said, the state’s top five football recruits as ranked by ESPNU are sure to enter the 2011-12 Gatorade Football Player of the Year conversation at some point. Here they are …

1. Bingham High (South Jordan, Utah) outside linebacker Jared Afalava

  • ESPNU position rank: No. 20 OLB

  • Height: 6-foot-2

  • Weight: 220 pounds

  • College: Undecided

  • Traits: inside run support, outside run support, tackling, coverage skill

  • ESPNU scouting report: "Afalava demonstrates very good playing speed; displays the playing strength to dominate against the run while showing the flexibility, balance and agility to play in space as a pass defender. Has the size and athleticism for the outside linebacker position at the major level of competition."

2. Davis High (Kaysville, Utah) defensive end Troy Hinds

  • ESPNU position rank: No. 27 DE

  • Height: 6-foot-4

  • Weight: 225 pounds

  • College: Brigham Young University (verbal)

  • Traits: run defense, disruptiveness, strength, pursuit

  • ESPNU scouting report: "Hinds is a defender who will get after it. He has good size for a high school prospect and while he needs to keep improving strength and adding bulk he displays a frame that can support more size with time in a college weight program. He has a good stance and displays a nice burst off the ball."

3. American Fork High (Utah) quarterback Chase Hansen

  • ESPNU position rank: No. 43 QB

  • Height: 6-foot-3

  • Weight: 200 pounds

  • College: University of Utah (verbal)

  • Traits: accuracy, athleticism

  • ESPNU scouting report: "Hansen is a good athlete, good overall football player and potentially a very good dual-threat quarterback prospect. He has very good size and is good looking on the hoof. Is an ideal fit for the spread under center and could be a candidate to make the move to safety as well."

4. Pleasant Grove High (Utah) offensive guard Brandon Fanaika

  • ESPNU position rank: No. 37 OG

  • Height: 6-foot-3

  • Weight: 296 pounds

  • College: Undecided

  • Traits: space blocking

  • ESPNU scouting report: "Fanaika is a nimble footed, very athletic offensive guard that is not quite yet the technician he is capable of being, but he sure is a good athlete and he can run. From his guard position he is the ideal fit for an offense that requires a lot of second level movement in the zone scheme and he is a really good player when pulling or trapping."

5. Syracuse High (Utah) defensive end Hunter Dimick

  • ESPNU position rank: No. 105 DE

  • Height: 6-foot-4

  • Weight: 260 pounds

  • College: University of Utah (verbal)

  • Traits: run defense, disruptiveness

  • ESPNU scouting report: "Dimick is an explosive dude and if he can build off that he could be a disruptive and tough defender. He is a prospect with good size and depending on how he physically develops he could stay at end or move inside to defensive tackle and could be a possible swing guy who takes reps at both spots."

A dedicated POY team at ESPNHS manages the Gatorade Player of the Year program selection process and oversees all research, reporting, comparative analysis and criteria-compliance on the award program’s behalf.