Editors note: This is the seventh in the eight-part “YPS Top 40” series from Your Prep Sports highlighting 40 of the top returning football players for the 2023 season.
Your Prep Sports
The YPS Top 40 is an eight-story series highlighting 40 of the top returning football players in the Your Prep Sports area by position group.
The final defensive story in the eight-part series focuses on the top defensive backs returning this fall.
The final story in the series will focus on the top returning special teams players.
Here is a look at four of the top returning secondary players in the Your Prep Sports area for the 2023 season.
Junior, West High
It didn’t take Woods long to establish himself as one of the elite defensive backs and best overall players in the state.
In his first varsity season last fall Woods had 21 tackles and led West High with three interceptions from his safety spot.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Woods already holds an Iowa offer and will be a major part of the defensive game plan for West High this season.
An excellent athlete, Woods will also be utilized on offense where he caught 19 passes for 392 yards and two touchdowns last season.
Joss is a candidate for a breakthrough season after ranking second on the team in interceptions last season as a junior.
The 6-foot, 180-pound Joss made 17.5 tackles, including 14 solo stops and had two tackles for loss, a sack and two interceptions a year ago.
This season Joss should improve on those numbers as he becomes an even bigger part of the Regina secondary.
Joss could play across the back end of the Regina defense, providing help in run support as well as defending the pass.
Senior, Liberty High
The captain of the Lightning secondary Nichols returns after earning second-team all-district honors last season.
Nichols had 14.5 tackles, a tackle for loss and picked off a pass from his defensive back spot last season helping Liberty High to a 9-2 record.
An excellent athlete Nichols saw time as a backup quarterback last season passing for 74 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 126 yards and a touchdown.
That experience should only help the 6-foot-1, 168-pound Nichols as a defensive back.
Junior, Clear Creek Amana
Robertson is part of a solid group of returning secondary players from the Clippers and is coming off a strong debut season in which he ranked ninth on the team in tackles as sophomore.
The 5-foot-10, 155-pound Robertson had 26 tackles and picked off a pass from his cornerback spot last season.
Expect Robertson to take a big step forward with a year of varsity experience under his belt.
With classmate Owen Rosenberg and Cale Berry also returning with experience in the secondary the back end of the defense could turn into a strength for the Clippers.