Faith Lutheran’s Elijah Kothe comes in at No. 3 on our #NVprepsfb list of Southern Nevada’s top wide receivers/pass catchers.
To create the list, we spoke with coaches from the Sunrise and Sunset Regions in both Class 4A and 3A. A couple of the base questions were: “Who is the top high school pass catcher today?” and “Who would you pick to start a team?”
Then we grabbed the statistics from last season, looked at the player’s collective rankings on recruiting websites and used our own judgment to fill holes.
This resulted in the #NVprepsfb wide receiver/pass catcher rankings. The list is based off high school productivity and not college or professional potential. Stay tuned for our defensive player list next week.
#NVprepsfb Wide Receiver/Pass Catcher Rank: Faith Lutheran’s Elijah Kothe No. 3
6 feet, 3 inches; 185 pounds
Second-team All-state (2016, 2015), First-team All-Northwest League (2016), First-team All-Southern Region (2015), First-team All-Sunset League (2015)
Kothe, a three-star recruit on Scout.com, committed to San Diego State on July 5. He chose the Aztecs over scholarship offers from Air Force, Colorado, UNLV and others.
Last Year’s Stats
Kothe finished with 55 receptions, 1,053 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Crusaders last season. In a Class 4A Sunset Region second-round playoff game against Bishop Gorman, he caught five passes for 120 yards facing a secondary that featured seniors Bubba Bolden (Southern California), Greg Francis (UNLV) and Alex Perry (Arizona State). Kothe will get another year with quarterback Sagan Gronauer, who came in at No. 5 on the Nevada Preps list of top returning quarterbacks, and will look to build on the team’s 6-5 record and first-round playoff victory last season.
What they are saying?
— “Elijah is the real deal,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “It’s hard to lose with him on the outside, a kid that is as tall as he is — he’s 6-4 — with the catch radius he has and his ability to jump. He goes over guys, he has the speed to stack a guy over the top, and then he’s physical as well.”
— “He’s more of a possession receiver,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “Not quite as athletic as the other (four pass catchers on the list). But he’s one of those guys, when it’s third-and-7 and you need 8 to 10 yards, he’ll make the play.”
— “When we played (Faith Lutheran), I didn’t think he was very refined in his route running,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “Because he was so tall, I think they were able to throw the ball up to him and do that type of thing. … He stood out with his size and knack for getting open. He’s gotten better and developed into a pretty good receiver.”
— “He’s probably slept on because he’s at Faith Lutheran,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “The kid can go get it. A simple playmaker, but he’s looked at as an underdog.”
— “He’s a stud,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “Big body, good ball skills. Not elite speed, but he knows how to use his body well and is a tough matchup with high school kids.”
— “Excellent route-runner, good hands, big target,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “He’s their No. 1 receiver. He’s not a speedster, but a real solid receiver.”
— “He’s a basketball player and has all the offers in the world, but I don’t see it,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “He’s a nice high school football player. But he’s really an undersized tight end.”
— “He goes up and gets the deep ball,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “He’s tough one-on-one. He works his magic on the sidelines, for sure.”
#NVprepsfb Wide Receiver/Pass Catcher Rank: Desert Pines’ Jaden Mitchell No. 4
5 feet, 11 inches; 175 pounds
First-team All-Southwest League (2016)
Mitchell, a consensus three-star recruit, committed to Arizona on April 28. He chose the Wildcats over scholarship offers from Hawaii and UNLV.
Last Year’s Stats
Mitchell played all over the field for Desert Oasis during the 2016-17 season, racking up 110 passing yards, 283 rushing yards and 262 receiving yards. He scored four of the Diamondbacks’ 12 touchdowns on the season. Mitchell, who is working on becoming eligible after moving across town, will benefit from joining Desert Pines — last year’s Class 3A state champion — and focusing solely on the wide receiver position.
What they are saying?
— “He’s a tough kid — tough as nails,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “He’s explosive and a good route runner. When he has the ball in his hands, he’s special.”
— “He’s good,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “I didn’t think he was Pac-12 (Conference) good. But his athleticism and speed helped him get Power-5 interest. He was on a terrible team last year and he did everything. He’s a versatile kid.”
— “The kid is phenomenal,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “He has all the swag to go with the game.”
— “When I saw him, he was playing quarterback so it’s hard to make a determination for him as a receiver,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “But he didn’t have a whole lot around him.”
— “He’s a good talent,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “But from what I hear, I think he’s a head case. He’s got talent, but I’m not sure it’s Division I. He has to work on some things.”
— “He’s a kid you’re not going to get a very good read on because he played at (Desert Oasis) last year,” one Sunrise Region fooball coach said.
#NVprepsfb Wide Receiver/Pass Catcher Rank: Liberty’s Marquez Powell No. 5
6 feet, 2 inches; 174 pounds
First-team All-Southeast League (2015); All-state honorable mention (2015)
Powell has one scholarship offer from Hawaii.
Last Year’s Stats
In his first year with the Patriots, Powell caught 41 passes for 538 yards and seven touchdowns behind all-state receivers Darion Acohido and Ethan Dedeaux. He excelled as a sophomore at Green Valley in 2015, leading the team in receptions (46), receiving yards (593) and touchdowns (8). Look for him to be a top target for Liberty quarterback Kenyon Oblad in 2017.
What they are saying?
— “I think he’s an athletic freak,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “He can jump out the chains and try to get that ball.”
— “Powell is a specimen,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “But he’s kind of an underachiever. From the moment he got to Liberty, he hasn’t been what he was supposed to be. All their little guys have shown out.”
— He’s a freak. It’s pretty amazing,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “He’s got above-average hands and is able to do a lot of things. He does have the potential to be something special. Just a freak of an athlete.”
— “Going off last year, he needed to improve his hands. And he’s done that,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “He’s money on fade routes. He outjumps people. … He’s going to have a great year, especially now that Ethan (Dedeaux) and Darion (Acohido) are off to college. Kenyon will look to him more.”
— “He does one thing well — runs the fades well,” one Sunset Region football coach said. “But he is not consistent. Just looking at him, physically, I can see why he’s a top-five kid.”
— “He’s pretty decent. His mouth is a little more than his play,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “That stands out more than his play. But he has the ability. When he focuses more on the craft, rather than the extra, he has potential to be great.”
— “He’s a big, tall kid,” one Sunrise Region football coach said. “But we played against him at Liberty and Green Valley, and I wouldn’t say he was a top receiver unless he’s improved a lot. Last year, he was the third receiver on Liberty. But he does have the body, for sure.”
To get involved in the discussion, use #NVprepsfb on Twitter. You also can follow along @nevadapreps.