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First a disclaimer:

The Pirates from Pond Creek have turned into the flagship program for the Region and with 8 Starters returning and four Division 1 Prospects it is safe to say they will be well represented on this list.

With that said, here are your Top 15 returning players from EKY Region.

1. DT Rayquan Horton, Belfry
Horton might have very well been the best Defensive Player in the Commonwealth in 2015, he returns for his Senior season looking to continue his legendary career and earn even more scholarship offers.

2. OL/DT Cole Bentley, Belfry
Bentley is the most heavily recruited player in the State not named Jedrick Wills and for good reason. The mammoth of a man has been dominating both sides of the ball since he was a Freshman.

3. WR Jake Johnson, Pulaski County
Johnson will go down as one of the all-time greats to come out of Lake Cumberland Country. His Senior season will see him working with a new QB, but expect yet another standout season from one of the most prolific receivers to ever come out of EKY.

4. OL Austin Dotson, Belfry
The University of Kentucky commit was simply dominant in 2015 with a rare mix of size and athleticism. Expect Dotson to be even better in 2016 with a season of weight lifting and competing at camps.

5. RB/DB Treyton Humfleet, Bell County
Humfleet accounted for nearly 2000 yards and 41 TD's in 2015. For good measure he threw in 2 INT's and 4 Fumble Recoveries. Expect a Senior season with similar stats for the star on Log Mountain.

6. RB/DB Kent Phelps, Paintsville
The Tigers' speedster accounted for over 1700 yards and 22 TD's in 2015 and has garnered a good bit of attention from college scouts. With Kash Daniel no longer casting a long shadow expect Phelps to explode for a monster statistical season as the primary workhorse in the Paintsville Offense.

7. QB Wyatt Battaile, Pikeville
After taking over the starting QB job mid-season for the Panthers Battaile was one of the Commonwealth's most efficient QB's. A calm customer with deadly accuracy, expect a huge year in 2016 for the defending 1A Champs.

8. OL Jordan Scott, Belfry
The most overlooked in the stable of Belfry's Nasty Front Line. On any other team Scott is the guy every coach dreads matching up with. After collecting his first FCS Offer expect many more to follow for the big guard.

9. FB/LB Cody Charles, Pikeville
For most Charles was an under the radar guy until a massive performance against Beechwood in the Finals where he made plays on both sides of the ball. Charles is a football player in it's purest form and will be asked to anchor a Panther Defense looking to return to the Finals.

10. WR/DB Timmy Dalton, Lawrence County
Dalton is one of the better all-around athletes in the State of Kentucky and a true playmaker on the gridiron. Few receivers in Kentucky could match Dalton's 23.0 yards per grab last year.

11. ATH Geordan Blanton, Johnson Central
Sometimes you just have to label someone an ATHLETE to save space. Blanton took snaps and made big time plays at RB, QB, WR, and DB. HE also returned some kicks and I am fairly sure I saw him cleaning up hot dog wrappers and sorting the recyclable containers.

12. QB Cameron Sizemore, Corbin
The dual threat Sizemore really came into his own last season after the Redhounds struggled with some snapping issues and injuries early in the season. Sizemore is a big kid with big game and is poised for a breakout season as a Junior in 2016.

13. RB Brody Johnson, East Ridge
When a back averages 200 rushing yards a game typically more fan fare comes. Brody Johnson did that in 2015 but is one of the better kept secrets in the State. With nearly 2000 total yards from scrimmage he will be a force as East Ridge looks to threaten for a home playoff game in 2A.

14. QB Cole McWhorter, North Laurel
The 2015 campaign was a watershed year for the Jaguars who finished 11-2 and earned a legit Top 10 ranking in Class 5A. McWhorter was a vital part of this success finding success both with his feet and arm. With the loss of one of the state's top rushers, Steven Nelson, McWhorter will see his role grow significantly more.

15. K/WR/DB Austin Woolum, Belfry
It is hard to quantify an "X-Factor" for a team as loaded as Belfry, but Woolum is definitely that guy. Not only is Woolum the Pirate's top receiving threat, he is a multi-year starter at CB, and an All-State Selection at Kicker.