Why Elite Football Speed ​​Was Born on the High School Track | Opinion

Attention, high school football experts. Do you know what many of the top high school football players in the state are doing this week?

They’re preparing for the state championships — the track and field championships.

They get faster (and lift) as you do seven-on-seven and jump up and down the box and lift weights. Much sooner. Running fast is a very useful skill in football. Especially since the distraction offense has taken over the game.

Let’s start with Cody Hagan, the defending champion of the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints, who accepted a football scholarship from BYU. Last season, he ran the 100 meters in 10.52 seconds, which most knowledgeable people in the sport consider to be a true state record.

The Utah High School Activities Association acknowledges the state’s record of 10.47 set in 1981, but it is widely believed to be hand-timed (important on the track) and possibly wind-assisted (another important issue). Roger Buhrley, who has compiled an all-time list for every event in the state, believes Hagen was the fastest.

Hagen missed the first half of the season after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia, but he has run the 100m and 200m with 10.62m and 21.38m. This summer, he will start preaching for his church and then play football (and possibly running) for BYU when he returns. wide receiver, he was voted footballer Reported by Deseret News last fall.

At the beginning of the season, Marcus McKenzieA senior at Pine View High and the son of a former BYU football player, he ran the 100m with a 10.54, the fourth fastest ever for the Utah Prep. It seemed a foregone conclusion that he would break official and unofficial state records this month, but he pulled a hamstring a week ago. He will play football (at wide receiver) and run for BYU.

The same goes for his twin brother Dominic, whose 10.60 last season was the eighth fastest in state history. He graduated early and started preaching for the church before starting his collegiate athletic career at BYU, but it’s easy to wonder what he’d be doing on the track this spring if he competed as a senior. He was the only Utah reserve to finish 21 seconds in the 200m (20.96); (his brother had the second fastest time).

The second fastest sprinter in the state this season is Smith Snowden, a junior at Skyridge High School, who ran the 100 meters in 10.57, making him the sixth fastest ever in Utah sprinter. He’s a first-team all-state cornerback on the football field. He hasn’t decided where he’ll play college ball, but the 10.5 pace has certainly caught the attention of college coaches. His track coach was Cody Fonnesbeck, and 23 years after he did it, he’s still the fourth fastest runner in state history (tied with Marcus McKenzie).

You won’t see Harrison Taggart on the track at Corner Canyon High this week. That’s only because he graduated early for spring football practice at the University of Oregon. Last spring, at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, he had a 10.70 in the 100-meter dash and finished second to Hagen in the 100- and 200-meter interstates.

He’s the 18th fastest 100-meter sprinter in state history, but if they had a big division, he’d be No. 1. He is faster (and bigger) than most running backs and receivers. Last season, he set a state record of 40.68 in the 4×100 relay with three other footballers — Hagen, Noah Kejal and Cody Strong — breaking the previous record of 41.46. record.

By the way, Kjar is on a mission in Arizona, and when he returns, he’ll be playing football for Weber State. Last spring, he ran the 100 meters in 10.78.

Which brings us to Roy’s Park Kingston, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound wide receiver/quarterback, ran the 100 meters this fall with a 10.66, making him 12th in Utah franchise history.He played wide receiver as a sophomore, but became a quarterback jaxon darts Moving to Draper Kingston replaced him. He will serve as wide receiver for BYU.

One of the highlights of this weekend’s state track and field competition will be the showdown between Snowden, Kingston and Hagen in the 100m and 200m, all competing in Class 6A. With favorable weather conditions, especially wind, the race is all but guaranteed to get closer and closer. Snowden will be favored in the top 100, but Hagen will bounce back quickly after returning to practice midway through the season; Hagen will be a favorite to defend the state champion in 200.

McKenzie is a Class 4A athlete whose status is unknown after suffering a hamstring injury during the BYU Invitational heats earlier this month.

for many years College football coaches openly advocate for high school athletes to play multisport, countering the era of specialization. The combination of football and track is especially encouraged. Many high school coaches just say it and expect their players to be able to train for the winter, spring and summer next season.There are exceptions, one of which is Eric Kjar, Head Soccer Coach, Corner Canyon And the school’s sprint coach, Kjar, doesn’t even allow his sprint soccer players to practice 7-on-7 once the season begins.

“I think track and field is the perfect sport for football players in the offseason,” said Kjar, who played both sports in college. “The emphasis on speed in the game has made the track a compulsory subject for high school football players.”

In 2019, a scouting service (Tracking Football) reported that more than 60 percent of NFL draft picks that year played in track and field. Let’srun.com reported in 2017 that eight of the year’s top nine picks entered the game, including Miles Garrett, Leonard Fournet and Christian McCaffrey. Other great NFL players in track and field: Jamal Charles, Robert Griffin, Adrian Peterson, Tyreke Hill…

Closer to home, Hagen, Snowden and Kingston will have a much-anticipated showdown this weekend.

Deseret News columnist Doug Robinson has coached high school track and field for 30 years, most recently at Corner Canyon after 25 years in Alta.

Roy's Parker Kingston and Corner Canyon's Cody Hagen fought to the end, with Hagen winning the 200m.

Roy’s Parker Kingston and Corner Canyon’s Cody Hagen fought a final at the BYU Track and Field Invitational in Provo on Saturday, May 7, 2022, with Hagen winning the 200m. Both sprinters will speed up to BYU to play football for the Cougars.

Scott G Winterton, Desert News

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