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College scouts check out Highland, other teams

USU staff watches players from 60 schools in one day

SUGARHOUSE — With a bye on the schedule, both BYU and Utah State had a chance to scout area high schools last Friday night, including players from East, Highland and Judge Memorial.

Aggies' cornerback coach John Rushing said that the staff had planned on visiting as many local high schools as possible.

"Our coaches will hit over 60 schools tonight," Rushing said last Friday.

Due to NCAA rules, Rushing can't get into specifics about who the Aggies are looking at, but here's a hint: Losing to Utah 31-7 has made the task of finding playmakers on defense a high priority for head coach Brent Guy.

The Highland Rams have a couple of players who might fill the defensive holes. Defensive end David Nafe is a huge playmaker (six sacks in two games), and the all-state end has speed and size. Quarterback Thomas Bradley has been having an outstanding year on offense, but he would play safety at the next level. His brother (Stewart Bradley) is the starting outside linebacker at Nebraska, and he's 6-4 and 235 pounds. Thomas is 5-11 and 180 pounds.

Rushing says that kids in this area can play and that a goal is to keep them in state and, more specifically, in Cache Valley.

"Too many good kids are leaving the state, and we need them in our program," he said.

BYU defensive line coach Steve Kafusi was on hand taking notes on Rams' players during Highland's afternoon practice.

Did the players know or care if they were being watched by college scouts?

"We don't worry about things like that," Bradley said. "The important thing is to play the game and not worry about the other stuff."

Some of the Rams' players feel they may have been underestimated this year because they lost key starters like all-state quarterback/safety Bo McNally. Getting attention from college scouts is their reward for playing beyond expectations.

"I'm glad they're here," said senior Jake Orchard. "At the beginning of the year, not many people gave us the credit we deserved."

The senior wideout should get even more attention following another impressive game. Orchard had two interceptions and 110 yards receiving, including a 71-yard touchdown.

Meanwhile, quarterback Thomas Bradley played very well on both sides of the ball. He threw for three touchdowns and 257 yards and ran for 95 yards.

On defense, the senior picked off a pass and recovered a fumble at the Rams' 2-yard line. The Rams beat rival East 34-19 to remain in a three-way tie for first place in Region 6. Tonight's game with Granger will be strangely familiar for Rams' head coach Ray Groth. He spent 10 years as the Lancers' head coach before moving to Highland.