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August 23, 2011
In this two-week series, Rivals.com is taking a look at the high school football talent in rival regions - breaking down the best prospects, best teams and giving our vote for which area is superior.
TODAY'S MATCHUP: Arizona/New Mexico vs. Colorado/Utah
The Case for Arizona/New Mexico
Wide receiver is strong. Leading the way are athlete D.J. Foster, four-stars Davonte Neal and Javon Williams and BYU pledge Josh Weeks, so there is a nice arsenal of receivers who could exploit things all over the field.
The thing that stands out most at defensive end is how athletic the prospects are led by Kisima Jagne, Dwight Melvin, Avery Moss and Jarvis Lewis. There isn't a lot of depth there but the top players are really talented.
The Case for Colorado/Utah
In a similar situation at quarterback, there isn't a ton of depth but four-star Washington commit Cyler Miles, from Denver (Colo.) Mullen, is more than capable here. He was outstanding all summer and is one of the nation's top quarterbacks.
The skill positions are a big letdown. Michigan running back pledge Sione Houma is the best of the bunch. At wide receiver, three-star Jordon Vaden and Duke commit Max McCaffrey would be the best options. Four-star tight end Evan Baylis is the best tight end in any of those four states.
The offensive line would be massive and outstanding. Brandon Fanaika, Nua Poteki, Zach Lindsay, Paul Thurston, Shane Callahan, Joey O'Connor and Alex Kozan form one of the best units probably in the country.
On the defensive side, four-star Troy Hinds and a bunch of three-stars including Moana Ofahengaue, Utah pledge Moses Folauhola, defensive tackle Tyler Henington and others form a decent but not dominant unit.
The offensive line for Colorado/Utah would be one of the nation's best but that region doesn't have many playmakers. Arizona's defensive ends are very strong, along with the wide receivers, and that gives it the edge.
Nearly every year of the last 10 this would have been a heated debate, given all the teams in these four states. However, entering 2011 the only state keeping up its end of the deal is Arizona and that single state will carry the debate. Arizona has Chandler Hamilton, Scottsdale Chaparral, Peoria Centennial, Chandler High, Brophy College Prep and several others that would be able to go and compete, or beat, Denver Mullen - which would be by far the best team of the Colorado/Utah combination. Both New Mexico and Utah are down entering the season and neither has a single team ranked for the RivalsHigh 100 entering the season. The pair really does not bring much to the best versus best debate this year. In past seasons the combination of South Jordan Bingham and Sandy Alta, among others in Utah, could have held their own in the clash but this season it isn't in the cards. Arizona could have won this if it were against the other three states combined, too.
- Dallas Jackson