Skyline coach Roger DuPaix describes prep superstar Bo Nagahi as being "Mr. Everything for us" and "Mr. Excitement when he plays."

The Deseret News will now simply refer to Nagahi as Mr. Football.The high school soccer teams in this state were lucky, to say the least. If not for Nagahi's sister's ex-boyfriend -- and some other buddies -- all the soccer squads around might have been traumatized by the immensely talented athlete these past few years.

Instead, Nagahi saved his torturing for Skyline's football opponents.

And tormenting he did. Foes feared him as he lined up on offense. They dreaded going against him on defense. And they nearly went into hyperventilation and a state of shock when they saw him on special teams.

Above all else, this is why Nagahi was selected as the 1999 Mr. Football, the Utah equivalent of the Heisman Award.

"Boy, he was just so good," DuPaix said. "He was an exciting football player to watch."

And to think, just a couple of years ago Nagahi was merely a great soccer player who was interested in giving football a try. Before his sophomore year at Skyline -- a school he went to for its honors math program -- Nagahi had never officially played football.

It was then that University of Utah football player Clarence Lawson, who was a friend of Nagahi's older sister, convinced him to convince his parents that he should play football.

"I was very much against it, because I was afraid of it. I didn't want him to get hurt," said his mother, Mina. "But he wanted to try it, so we supported him 100 percent."

Coaches and teammates supported him 110 percent as he picked up on the game almost as fast he can blaze through a kickoff team.

"When I found out two games into our sophomore season that he had never played football before, I was amazed," said Skyline quarterback Brandon Van Leeuwen, this year's 5A MVP. "He just picked it up right away. He was just a natural."

Two years later, he is the Deion Sanders of Utah -- the much-more humble version of Prime Time, of course.

Nagahi has exceptional ability as a receiver and, perhaps even more difficult, as a cover man. Using his lightning-fast speed and natural athletic ability, the flashy 5-10, 180-pounder was rarely beaten on defense. A two-year starter on D, the senior made 23 solo tackles, 14 assists, three interceptions and three deflections as part of perhaps the best defensive backfield in the state.

"He's probably the best cornerback in the state," said DuPaix, who has fielded all sorts of calls from Pac-10 schools and local colleges about Nagahi. "He'll be able to play at a university."

"He's got speed and good form," added Van Leeuwen. "It's incredible, and he's one of most humble and nicest kids you'll ever meet. He's sure fun to watch play."

Fun for some. Not many opponents enjoyed watching him return five kicks back for touchdowns. He started the season with a spectacular 82-yard punt return as the Eagles rocked Olympus in front of a huge crowd. Included in that crowd was a former local prep football star who knows a little something about making exciting plays.

"Man, who is that No. 1!?" asked Brighton alum/BYU player Junior Mahe right after the game. "He's got skills."

The next week, Nagahi returned a punt and caught a long touchdown pass against Highland. A few weeks later, he was a recipient of a long scoring bomb from Van Leeuwen against Davis. He burned Cottonwood twice from long range in the regular season finale, returning a punt 74 yards and hauling in a 64-yard touchdown pass.

Nagahi continued his thrilling play in the playoffs. He frustrated the heck out of Hillcrest, blocking two extra-point attempts--he blocked three kicks for the year--using a secret method he refused to divulge. And he later helped Skyline rally from a 15-0 deficit with a sweet 50-yard punt return for a score.

A simple "Obvious!" was the reason Hillcrest coach Lee Leslie gave for why he was voting for Nagahi to receive a postseason award.

Amazingly, Nagahi received another kick in the semifinals against Bingham, and he returned it 96 yards to the end zone for his fifth special teams score of the season. He also had a kickoff return for a TD against Jordan in the 1998 finals.

"He was fun to watch play," Van Leeuwen said. "You could always count on him making the big play. It would have been fun to throw more bombs to him."

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Nagahi ended with six receiving touchdowns and turned his 11 catches into an average gain of 22 yards. He also was Skyline's punter, getting over 37 yards a kick. On special teams, Nagahi averaged 32 yards per return on kickoffs and a walloping 35 yards per punt return.

The stats are impressive and it was always an adventure to watch what he'd do next, but what many coaches say they'll remember about Nagahi is that he was a class act. That stems from his parents, who moved to the United States from Iran in the '70s and who are renouned in the Skyline football community for being some of the nicest people around.

"He is a humble, coachable young man with outstanding athletic ability and sportsmanship," DuPaix added.

And Bo sure knows football. He does now, at least.

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