A year ago the running game took a back seat to the passing game as Wasatch’s top three receivers finished with 946 yards, 723 yards and 635 yards, respectively. Coburn believes collectively the Wasps' offense can be just as explosive, but with more balance.
Kayden Connor is back at receiver after finishing with 723 yards and 12 TDs last year, and he should be back to full strength by the Aug. 23 season opener after tearing his ACL in Wasatch's playoff loss to Bear River.
Wasatch Wasps at a glance
Coach: Steve Coburn is entering his second season as Wasatch’s head coach. Coburn has five years of head coaching experience at Snow College (2006-2010) and 10 years head coaching experience at the high school level. He was 13-6 at Morgan (1988-89), 11-29 at Ogden (1994-1997), 2-17 at Cottonwood (1998-99) and 4-7 at North Sanpete (2011). He’s a graduate of Bonneville High School.
(2 returning starters; Pro-style/pistol offense)
The quarterback is new; the offensive line is new; and all the skill positions are new except two, so don’t be surprised if Wasatch struggles in its first two nonregion games against 4A competition. After that though, Coburn expects his team to compete. The quarterback position was up in the air all summer between senior Zach Reese and sophomore Garrett Davis. The starter will benefit from receiver Kayden Connor, who racked up 723 yards and 12 TDs last year, as well as newcomers Kyler Cook, Carson Law and Zach Purdy. Hunter Pella will start at running back, but Spencer Heywood and Matt Tate should see plenty of carries too.
(3 returning starters)
Wasatch couldn’t hang with 3A’s elite last season, and it’s turning to new defensive coordinator Rick Wilson to change that. A former college lineman himself, Wilson doesn’t have any returning starters on the line to work with, but coach Coburn believes the newcomers are ready to be groomed. The strength of Wasatch’s defense is at linebacker, where Tag Baxter and Pella are both returning starters. Anderson Davis is a returning starter in the secondary as well.
Coaches preseason Region 8 straw poll: Third
Deseret News Region 8 prediction: Fourth
Bottom line: There are no Unions or Uintahs on the region slate for Wasatch anymore. The Wasps are playing with the big boys now, and very few of this year’s projected starters have varsity experience. That may not be an issue at all if coach Coburn’s new offense takes hold quickly and the Wasps can run the ball like he hopes. If that doesn’t happen, and a young defense struggles too, making the playoffs in the first year in 4A will be very difficult.
Wasatch coaching history
2012-current — Steve Coburn (8-3)
2011 — Craig Davis (5-6)
2005-2010 — Steve North (43-28)
1999-2004 — Ron Tree (38-31)
1997-1998 — Tim Stanley (3-15)
1992-1996 — Monte Morgan (28-25)
1987-1991 — Ron Tree (21-28)
1959-1986 — Dan Wright (174-104-8)
1956-1958 — Eldon Wright (9-11-3)
1949-1955 — Marion Tree (38-20-1)
1945-1948 — Unknown (8-22-1)
1942-1944 — Floyd "Slick" Slater (20-6)
1940-1941 — Unknown (8-3-1)
1939 — Lou Neeley (3-2-1)
1932-1938 — Unknown (5-28)
1928-1931 — F. G. "Frosty" Richards (5-13-2)
1924-1927 — Unknown (10-8-1)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
2010 — Keefer Babbitt WR
2009 — Payton Davis, QB
2009 — Kaleb Moritz, LB/OL
2009 — Cory Nielson, DB/WR
2009 — Mike Davis, WR/FS
2008 — Jake Hardcastle, OL
2007 — Jake Salazar, RB
2007 — Jeff Tukuafu, TE
2007 — Ethan Smith, LB
2007 — Matt Wheatley, K
2005 — David Hendricksen, OL
2003 — Dallin Norton, OL
2003— Colton Salazar, Specialist
2003 — Kacey Mahoney, K
2002 — Kurt McEuen, QB
2002 — Kent Robinson, WR
2002 — Clayton Williams, OL
2002 — Robbie Hatch, DL
2002 — Derek Kohler, DB
2002 — Chase Griffiths, Specialist
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.
Follow Deseret News prep editor James Edward on Twitter @DNewsPreps
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