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The 20 most underrated high school pass rushers in the West

These defenders put up big stats last season but thus far don’t have a bunch of stars next to their names in the recruiting world
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High school football is underway throughout most of the West, with Oregon and Washington being the last two western states to start their seasons this week.

SBLive Sports will spend the next couple of weeks featuring high school football players from the Western United States who might not be big names in the recruiting world — but could be soon if they keep showing out on the football field.

As the hype around top prospects grows, high school football players who don't get flooded with D1 offers keep grinding away.

Here are 20 pass rushers from the West who are poised to boost their recruiting stock this season.

Cooper Collins, sr., Great Falls (Montana)

Collins was a disruptive force at defensive end during his junior season for Great Falls. He filled up the stat sheet with 59 total tackles, 10 sacks, 10 quarterback hurries, five pass deflections and two forced fumbles.

Coen Cronk, sr., Olympia (Washington)

Cronk uses his 4.49 speed in the 40 to get after the quarterback from anywhere on the field. He had 47 total tackles (12 for loss), eight sacks and three forced fumbles as a junior. Cronk holds a Division III offer from Linfield.

Joey Finnegan, sr., Berthoud (Colorado)

Finnegan plays outside linebacker and fullback for Berthoud and excels at both. He had 101 total tackles (17 for loss) and 11 sacks as a junior while registering seven pancake blocks on offense.

Brady Freeman, sr., South Summit (Utah)

Freeman was nothing short of dominant at the Class 2A level a season ago, putting up 27 sacks and 62 total tackles. With Freeman leading the way on defense, South Summit won its first 11 games before falling to Beaver in the 2A playoffs.

Cayden Gibson, sr., Arizona College Prep (Arizona)

Gibson is a classic edge rush specialist at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds. He entered his senior season with 33 career sacks, including 18.5 last season.

Matt Gutierrez, jr., Brawley (California)

An unusual two-way performer at quarterback and linebacker, Gutierrez had 73 total tackles (19 for loss), 15 sacks and 20 hurries a season ago while serving as Brawley’s backup signal-caller. He could have an expanded role on offense this year.

Hatimu Letisi, sr., South Salem (Oregon)

Letisi finished his junior season with 56 tackles (eight for loss) along with six sacks and two fumble recoveries. The 6-foot-1, 250-pound pass rusher showed out at the Northwest Showcase in June, earning MVP honors at DL.

Arath Leyva, sr., Montgomery (California)

Leyva led Montgomery in sacks last season with 13 and finished second on the team with 72 total tackles (22 for loss). He had five multi-sack games as a junior and also tallied 16 quarterback hurries.

Carson Minnaar, jr., Eastmark (Arizona)

As a sophomore, Minnaar was a key defensive lineman for Class 3A state champion Eastmark. Minnaar, a speed rusher, had 54 total tackles (19 for loss), 13 sacks and 21 quarterback hurries.

Gideon Noss, sr., Canby (Oregon)

A Class 5A state wrestling placer at 220 pounds, Noss is also a standout defensive lineman for Canby. He piled up 51 total tackles (12 for loss), six sacks and a pair of forced fumbles last season.

Fernando Reyes Jr., jr., Enumclaw (Washington)

Reyes notched seven sacks, two fumble recoveries and 51 total tackles during his sophomore season for Enumclaw. The 6-foot-1, 250-pounder gets to the quarterback with a mix of speed and power.

Landon Reynolds, sr., Priest River (Idaho)

Playing alongside current University of Idaho defensive lineman Matyus McLain, Reynolds had 48 tackles and eight sacks as a junior. Reynolds also plays baseball and wrestles for Priest River.

Trig Riefkohl, jr., Verrado (Arizona)

Riefkohl was a breakout performer as a sophomore, putting up 34 total tackles (14.5 for loss), 11.5 sacks and 13 quarterback hurries. He is also a standout track and field thrower who won the javelin competition at the USATF Arizona Association Junior Olympic Championships with a throw of 158 feet, 11 inches.

Tristen Sanchez, sr., Morenci (Arizona)

Sanchez caught 23 passes for 420 yards and seven touchdowns from the tight end position last year, but he made an even bigger impact on defense. Sanchez flew around the field and recorded 106 total tackles (38 for loss), 23.5 sacks and 37 quarterback hurries.

Antoine Taylor Jr., sr., Basic (Nevada)

At 5-foot-11 and 280 pounds, Taylor is effective against the run while also possessing enough explosiveness to get after the quarterback. He recorded seven sacks in a win against Durango last season and finished the year with 41 total tackles.

Nate Terzoli, sr., Point Loma (California)

Terzoli is a senior pass rusher who plays with plenty of ferocity and toughness. A season ago, Terzoli had 61 total tackles (20.5 for loss), 12.5 sacks and six quarterback hurries.

Braelen Toles, sr., Damonte Ranch (Nevada)

Toles recorded nine sacks as a sophomore and upped it to 12.5 a season ago for Damonte Ranch. The edge rusher entered this fall with 128 career tackles (37 for loss) and 13 quarterback hurries to go along with his sack numbers.

Tony Vainuku, sr., Alta (Utah)

The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Vainuku knows how to use his burst to find the quarterback. He registered 52 total tackles, 13 sacks and five quarterback hurries as a junior.

Poudre's Brody VanCleave

Poudre's Brody VanCleave.

Brody VanCleave, sr., Poudre (Colorado)

VanCleave is a dangerous pass rusher who recorded 12 sacks last season, but the senior is much more than just an edge presence. He had 124 total tackles (18 for loss) while also recovering two fumbles, causing one and picking off a pass.

Porter Whipple, sr., Kamiah (Idaho)

Whipple was unblockable last season for Class 1A Kamiah, registering 78 tackles (27 for loss) and 16 sacks. At 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, Whipple can play anywhere on the defensive line.

Brody Whitaker, sr., Albuquerque Academy (New Mexico)

Whitaker switched from defensive end to outside linebacker as a junior and flourished, recording 105 total tackles (21 for loss), 13 sacks and four quarterback hurries. Whitaker holds several small-school offers and is hoping to catch the attention of Division I programs with a big senior season.

-- Bob Lundeberg | @sblivesports