EDITOR’S NOTE » This is one in a series of previews of Utah’s high school football programs. They will run throughout the summer leading up to the 2014 regular season, which begins Aug. 21.
Layton Christian Eagles
Doyle Holt preaches the same message the first day of camp at Layton Christian: great players make the people around them better — go make your teammates better. Holt thinks this year’s Eagles squad has the capacity to make everyone look good.
Stability in the quarterback slot is key for the Eagles. Junior Grayson Jackson returns under center, providing the necessary experience to execute the offense and lead his teammates. Holt praised Jackson for grasping the offense and being able to execute it on the field.
"He knows the routines and the intricacies for the whole team," Holt said. "He’s ready to have a big year."
Layton Christian will have running back by committee, but the fullback slot is filled. Markiece Gross-Gibson lead 2A last year in the fullback spot, and the hard-nosed runner is expected to have another big year. Holt said Gross-Gibson’s toughness earned every one of those 600-plus yards considering Layton Christian only runs three plays through him.
"He’s a special kid — a real Friday night lighter," Holt said. "People have to make schemes to try and stop him."
The offensive line is returning three of five starters.
Defensively, shutdown corner Brock Rawlings is a four-year starter. With excellent speed and coverage, Rawlings also returns kickoffs.
"A real tough kid. He has a sense of senior leadership that feeds the other boys," Holt said. "He definitely knows what it is all about."
Layton Christian hosts Duchesne on Aug. 21.
Last season » 5-5 overall (lost in 1st round of 2A tournament)
Key returner » Quarterback Grayson Jackson takes the helm for the second year. The junior has an excellent knowledge of the offensive schemes and can make good decisions.
Player to watch » Fullback Markiece Gross-Gibson rushed for more than 600 yards last season. Expect big runs and hard tackles on the other side of the ball.
Biggest hole » Staying healthy. With a tough schedule, the Eagles need to make sure injuries don’t halt a run at a state title.
Need to know » Returning three starters on the offensive line will be a big advantage for Layton Christian. Holt expects pass protection to give Jackson more options in throwing the ball.
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