2023 High School Football

2023 football: 50 top Southern Arizona seniors — Salpointe defensive end Keona Wilhite

Today marks only six days until the kickoff of the 2023 Southern Arizona high school football season with games scheduled Aug. 18. AllSportsTucson.com is listing 50 of the top seniors in Southern Arizona during this stretch. This is not a ranking. We acknowledge more than 50 quality seniors will play on high school fields locally this fall and we will report on them accordingly.

Keona Wilhite, 6-foot-5 and 236 pounds, committed to Arizona in June, picking the Wildcats over UCLA, Washington, Oregon State and ASU after playing his first season at the varsity level last season. … After first attending Santa Rita and Cienega but not playing a varsity game at either school, Wilhite transferred to Salpointe before last school year and transformed from a no-name player to a 3-star (and rising) prospect despite missing the first five games of the 2022 season due to AIA transfer rules. … Wilhite tallied 24 tackles, 5.5 for loss, including 4.5 sacks, in his half-season with the Lancers. … Bulked up and became more fit under the direction of Salpointe’s legendary strength and conditioning coach Carla Garrett. … Plays opposite fellow Salpointe defensive end and Arizona commit Elijah Rushing.

Salpointe coach Eric Rogers on Wilhite’s ascent to be offered by Arizona: “Keona shoots through and he hits this guy, picks him up and body slams him and then just kind of does one of those roars right in front of Coach (Jedd) Fisch. I swear it was a week later he had an offer from Arizona. That was like, ‘Oh, here we go. This is it. This guy’s for real.’ I mean, it’s just kind of snowballed from there.”

Salpointe senior defensive end Keona Wilhite (Salpointe photo)


Head coach: Eric Rogers
Lancers compete in the 6A Central. Bold are playoff games. Playoff games at 7 p.m.
9/1at Bishop Alemany (CA)W5221
9/8at Shadow RidgeW4924
9/15Valley VistaW506
9/29Desert VistaW3424
10/6Corona del SolW2920
10/13at LibertyL049
10/20Mountain PointeW3526
10/27at SaguaroW2114
11/3at Brophy PrepL1214
11/9Corona del SolW410
11/17Williams FieldW3525


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator seven years ago and is presently a special education teacher at his alma mater Sunnyside High School.

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