In the 25-year history of the Deseret News Mr. Football award, a commonalty has existed among each of the winners — they were playmakers. Regardless of the position and which side of the ball they played on, past Mr. Football recipients impacted the game in a way nobody else could.

In the silver anniversary of the award, it’s only fitting to add Corner Canyon speedy receiver Cody Hagen to the list of Utah football greats.

His competitive fire made him one of the most dominant offensive weapons in the state over the past three years, and even though the BYU commit didn’t completely rewrite the state receiving record books, his name will remain near the top of each category for years to come.

Corner Canyon High School wide receiver Cody Hagen poses for photos at the school in Draper on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. Hagen has been named Mr. Football by the Deseret News for the 2021 season. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

“He’s got a lot of natural speed, but he’s worked really hard at it too so that’s kind of set him apart,” said Corner Canyon coach Eric Kjar. “The vertical aspect of it and him being able to stretch the field naturally got safeties playing deep and guys playing off and putting guys over the top of him. It just changed defensive looks of what teams would’ve liked to do more.”

Hagen was also named the Gatorade Player of the Year, which runs in the family. His older brother Cole Hagen won the award in 2019 as Corner Canyon’s quarterback, and then his dad won it back in 1992 as Brighton’s QB — five years before the inaugural Deseret News Mr. Football award in 1997.

Cody Hagen won three state championships in his time at Corner Canyon, including a runner-up finish this season.

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In 2021, he finished with 89 catches for 1,805 yards and 23 touchdowns. The 1,805 yards ranks third all-time in a single season, and his 23 TDs is tied for fifth. On the career list, he finishes second in state history with 51 touchdowns, fourth with 3,927 career yards and 10th with 201 career receptions.

This season he faced double coverage nearly the entire season and was still able to excel at a ridiculous level.

For those wondering how that will translate to the next level, he’s also a track star whose 10.52 time in the 100 meter dash is the second-fastest time ever run by a Utah athlete.

The state record is 10.47, and it’s a record the ultra-competitive Hagen has his sights set on this spring. He’s ticked he didn’t already break it last spring, but that just gives him something athletically to focus on for the last half of his senior year.

Academically, the focus is maintaining his 4.0 cumulative GPA while taking multiple AP classes.

At the moment, he said AP calculus is brutal, but he loves math and got an A last quarter and expects another one even though he admits it’s going to be close.

He’s had nearly 100 career A’s during his time at Corner Canyon. And how do those measure up to his 51 career touchdowns?

“Both equal,” he said with a smile. “For my parents an A, for me touchdown.”

25 years of Deseret News

Mr. Football recipients

Orem High School football player Puka Nacua at Orem High School on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

2021 — Cody Hagen, Corner Canyon

2020Jaxson Dart, Corner Canyon

2019Noah Sewell, Orem

2018Puka Nacua, Orem

2017Cammon Cooper, Lehi

2016Jaylen Warren, East

2015Semi Fehoko, Brighton

2014Britain Covey, Timpview

2013Ula Tolutau, East

2012Austin Kafentzis, Jordan

2011Chase Hansen, Lone Peak

2010Alex Kuresa, Mountain Crest

2009Tuni Kanuch, Bingham

2008Craig Bills, Timpview

2007Boo Andersen, Alta

2006Sausan Shakerin, Alta

2005Riley Nelson, Logan

2004Jason Zundel, Bear River

2003Ray Feinga, Hunter

2002Kyle Brady, Tooele

2001Daniel Coats, Northridge

2000Steve Tate, Skyline

1999Bo Nagahi, Skyline

1998David Fiefia, Hunter

1997Morgan Scalley, Highland

“My parents just built that into us starting in middle school when we started to get grades. They said try your hardest, if you can’t get an A, that’s all right, but if you can you better work your butt off to get an A. Now in high school we kept it going, can’t let it stop now,” said Hagen.

The importance of academics to Hagen became obvious last season with COVID-19. Many players on Corner Canyon’s nationally ranked team did online schooling for fear they might be exposed taking in-person classes and miss practices and games in quarantine. Several of Hagen’s classes were so stringent he didn’t have an alternate option.

“He was always worried about whether he would get quarantined if he was by somebody and being at school,” said Kjar.

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Hagen escaped quarantine and finished second on the team a year ago with 1,183 yards and 18 touchdowns. His average yards per catch the past two years hovered around 20, and that stat along with yards after catch is something he takes great pride in. That’s where he’s able to utilize his speed to open the game up with explosive plays.

The extra attention Hagen got all year opened things up for his teammates as quarterback Devin Brown flourished by passing for a staggering 4,881 yards and 57 touchdowns.

As the fastest kid growing up, Hagen excelled in just about all sports, but football was always what he had the most fun doing. In the summer before his freshman year, he got introduced to what it took to succeed after youth sports, but it was an eye-opener that he relished.

“A big part of it was coming in eighth grade to freshman year in coach Kjar’s program he puts you to work, he doesn’t slack at all. Already having a good mindset about work ethic from my parents and then coach Kjar putting us to work really helped me be who I am today,” said Hagen.

He had his big brother showing him the way his first two seasons with the Chargers, and the past two years he’s carved out his own path as an elite receiver.

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“Once you get to high school you’re going up against seniors as maybe a freshman, so you have to be athletic and quick but you’ve also got to be strong and physical,” said Hagen. “If you don’t embrace it, you’re not succeeding. The people who embraced it were able to play and succeed.”

During the recruiting process coaches praised Hagen for his speed, athleticism and being able to catch the ball in traffic. They challenged him to develop himself as both a slot receiver and wide receiver this season, something that ended up happening naturally within Corner Canyon’s explosive offense.

Hagen is planning on serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after graduating next summer, after which he’s hoping for a great career at BYU. His long-term hopes are the NFL, where he sees players with similar attributes like Cooper Kupp and Adam Thielen excelling.

Hagen has a ton of memories and experiences from Corner Canyon that he hopes catapult him toward his dream profession. However, as he puts Chargers football in the rear-view mirror, perhaps the greatest memory he’ll take with him besides the state championships is a TD reception from his brother his sophomore year that capped a remarkable comeback against Lone Peak.