My first leap into naming a pre-season All-star team. The eligible include any current High school 11-man football players within the Southern California area (San Diego to San Luis Obispo). As always, comments are encouraged.
QB – Troy Williams (Narbonne High, Harbor City) With Hayden Rettig recovering from a knee injury Williams appears most likely to take the mantle as SoCal’s top QB. 3200 Passing yards and 32 TD’s in ’11-’12. Frame (6’0 173lbs) is a concern, but productivity is tough to argue. Williams has a D1 caliber arm and moves very well in and out of the pocket. Rushed for nearly 600 yards and added 11 Rushing TD’s. – Committed to the University of Washington
RB – Craig Lee (Redlands High, Redlands) At 6’0 and 188lbs Lee isn’t the biggest RB, but he hits stride exceptionally quick and has speed to burn once in the open field. Exhibits patience in awaiting the hole and simply explodes thru once located. Went for 1500 yards and 15 TD’s in ’11-’12. Lee averaged a gaudy 9.1 YPC, helped by a long of 99 yards. Has impressed during summer camps and carries serious momentum into his senior season. Appears a UCLA lean.
WR – Steven Mitchell (Bishop Alemany, Mission Hills) Mitchell put up a ridiculous 17 Receiving TD’s on 50 Receptions last season and has USC football fans counting the days to his arrival on campus. Mitchell is devastating in the open field and is an exceptional route runner. Awarded “best Routes” ’11 Under Armour Jr. Combine. He doesn’t carry prototypical #1 size, but he produces like few #1’s can. Played some DB last season and returned 2 INT’s for TD. Committed to USC
WR – Sebastian LaRue (Santa Monica High, Santa Monica) Timed in the 4.38-4.42 range LaRue carries next level speed and reliable hands. Similar to Mitchell, LaRue (5’11 185lbs) lacks elite size, but exhibits exceptional timing and leaping ability when going up for a 50/50 ball. Holding offers from across the country, LaRue received a “dream offer” when the University of Southern California extended a scholarship. SAMO’s ’12-’13 opponents will throw all but the kitchen sink at LaRue this season in hopes of keeping him under wraps. Committed to USC
WR – Demorea Stringfellow (Rancho Verde, Moreno Valley) Stringfellow carries the prototypical WR size (6’2 185lbs) and routinely goes up in traffic and comes down with the ball. Not appearing overly elusive in the open field, he nonetheless is highly productive. Although his High school does not keep individual stats, Stringfellow certainly played a big role for an offense which put up 581 points in 14 games. Committed to Washington
TE – Marcus Baugh (J.W. North, Riverside) Best of a weak class of ’12-’13 Cali Tight Ends. At 6’4 224lbs Baugh has the physical attributes/ability to overwhelm defenders, and occasion does just that. 524 Receiving yards on just 30 Receptions is good for an impressive 17 YPR. There are stretches however, during which he can disappear a bit. The 30 Receptions was good for just 3rd on his team and is little more than 3.3 Receptions per game. Committed to Ohio State
OL – Nico Falah (St John Bosco, Bellflower) Falah’s 6’5 frame allows him to all but envelop oncoming pass rushers. There’s a clear mean streak to his game as he routinely finishes blocks by driving his man to the ground. Bosco put up an impressive 403 yards and 32.7 points per game in ’11-’12. Strong junior campaign skyrocketed Falah from a Rivals ranking in the low 200’s to his current spot at #119. Considered a slight USC lean with UCLA very much in the mix
OL – John Lopez (Orange Lutheran, Orange) Nothing short of mammoth Lopez stands a D1-ready 6’5 325lbs. Surprisingly quick for his size Lopez is effective when pulling and has no problem getting out in front of his ball-carrier. Does not appear to carry the same aggressiveness as Falah. Blocks his man, but rarely punishes. Appears PAC-12 bound, most likely UCLA/Washington with Colorado as longshot
OL – Erik Bunte (RMS Catholic, Rancho Santa Margarita) Not content to simply “block” his opponent, Bunte looks to discourage his man from returning for round 2. Carrying an effective punch and great strength/balance Bunte looks in his element at the Guard spot but may transition to Tackle for ’12-’13. Simply overpowers undersized interior linemen. Committed to UCLA
OL – Cameron Hunt (Centennial, Corona) Similar to Bunte and Falah, Hunt blocks and drives thru his man. He’s a punishing run blocker and at 6’5 270lbs looks to have room to add bulk to his frame. In ’11-’12 Centennial put up a ridiculous 485 yards and 45 points per game. Romello Goodman and his 2700+ rushing yards, along with QB Hayden Gavett have graduated, but Hunt should anchor a strong line and provide the next RB/QB combo much-needed stability. Narrowed choices to ASU, Cal, and Stanford
OL – Scott Quessenberry (La Costa Canyon, Carlsbad) – More agile scrapper than plodding mauler, Quessenberry nonetheless plays with a nice level of aggression and oft hits anything which moves. At 6’4 265lbs he’s the smallest on the list, but certainly makes up for that in athleticism and the aforementioned agility. Somewhat overshadowed by ’11-’12 teammate Erik Magnusson it appears ’12-’13 represents Quessenberry’s time to shine. Recruitment appears wide open.