Posted On: 09/7/20 3:59 PM
One of the most exciting aspects of high school football is trying to figure out which players are going to be the new and exciting faces that make a varsity impact early on in their high school careers. With this article, I am going to spotlight four players that I believe have a strong chance of making that early varsity impact thanks to what I see from their freshmen film and also the situation that they are playing in, like maybe a bunch of seniors graduated from the previous season leaving an opportunity for them to capitalize. The potential to play at the next level is high with each of these four players. Let’s see what each one has to offer and the situation they are entering this season!
Brandon WraalstadBrandonWraalstad6'3" | WROconomowoc | 2023StateWI, 2023- Oconomowoc
Brandon is one of the players on this that I believe could make an impact as a receiver on Fridays this fall. He has elite size for a sophomore at 6’3″ 200 lbs. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him receive recruiting attention as a tight end at the next level because of the potential size that his frame could support paired with his athletic ability. This season, though, I expect to see him start to carve out his role at receiver. His catch radius is off the charts making it very easy for his QB to put it where he can come down with it. Once Brandon gets the ball in his hands he is a problem to bring down. He uses his long limbs to stiff arm defenders and isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder and go right through defenders.
When looking at his competition for playing time, it does look like Brandon will have a lot of competition to beat out to have a consistent role, but Oconomowoc plays with three to four receivers on the majority of plays and while several leading receivers from 2019 return I have a hard time seeing all of them being able to hold off Wraalstad after a summer of development. His natural ability looks like it is going to be too much to keep contained to the sideline. I can’t say Brandon will get the majority of snaps this season, but I am confident we will see him on the majority of Friday nights.
Chris DeStefanisChrisDeStefanis6'3" | WRFranklin | 2023StateWI, 2023- Franklin
Chris already checks in at 6’0″ and 160 lbs as a sophomore. While looking through his highlight videos it is apparent that he is a natural route runner. His breaks are already very clean and at the freshman level it led to him creating a ton of separation. His ability to continue to improve their and build on his natural ability will be key to him getting a Friday night role. He also has shown the ability some nice releases and hand fighting off the line of scrimmage when pressed. DeStefanis is going to one to watch because he looks like he is bringing a lot of natural ability and nuance knacks for the position. He could be the next guy on a list of recent stud receivers coming out of Franklin.
Franklin has been pumping out the receiver talent. They return two very good receivers in Elliott HarrisElliottHarris6'2" | WRFranklin | 2021StateWI and Keaton ArendtKeatonArendt6'2" | WRFranklin | 2022StateWI, but after that it looks like the battle for WR3 and WR4 on the depth chart could be wide open. That is what I see Chris battling for this season. If he can win one of those two roles we would end up seeing him quite a bit on Friday nights. The battle during these first couple weeks of practice should be intense and one to keep an eye on.
Brady MaderBradyMader5'10" | WRArrowhead | 2023StateWI, 2023- Arrowhead
I’m very excited for to watch Mader this season and see if he can work his way into a Friday night impact role. I have a feeling he is going to have a big one. The natural ability and his coachability has made him into one of the best receivers in his graduation class. He has even started landing some college interest from Duke football. Mader has a lot of what you look for already. He’s fast, agile, quick in and out of his breaks, and he has reliable hands. It is very apparent that he works tirelessly on his craft. Over the next couple years as he continues to grow and fill out he is going to become even harder and harder to contain.
Arrowhead’s top three leading receivers all graduated in the spring of 2020 leaving plenty of holes for Brady to step into and I fully expect him to. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him become the go to guy this season even. His route running, hands, and natural athletic traits are top of the line, so I wouldn’t put anything out of reach for Mader. Friday nights could be very electric for Mader and Arrowhead football.
Simon looks like he is going to have a solid frame by the time he is a senior as he already is 6’0″. I will be mostly interested in how well he fills out as he played at 140 as a freshman. My favorite trait, and maybe Simon’s best, is his body control. He has already shown that he can adjust to the ball in the air, even when he is in the air making the catch. He can contort his body to make the catch and adjust to under throws. Simon also does a really good job of attacking the ball. He doesn’t wait for it. Instead he closes on it making it even harder for defenders to swat it down and he uses his hands to make the catch effortlessly. Nothing gets into his body. There is a lot of potential to work with here.
Three of Menasha’s top five leading receivers from 2019 graduated this past spring, so Bauer-Shimek is looking at several opportunities to have a role on the varsity team this season. Simon also plays defensive back, but I believe that his quickest way to the field on Fridays could be through one of the several voids left at the receiver position. He plays the position so naturally. There is a lot to work with here.