10 players to watch in showdown between No. 1 Mater Dei and No. 3 St. John Bosco

10 players to watch in showdown between No. 1 Mater Dei and No. 3 St. John Bosco

Football

10 players to watch in showdown between No. 1 Mater Dei and No. 3 St. John Bosco

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A pair of schools that are perennial national championship contenders. Teams that produce four- and five-star talent each year. Rivals that are almost assured of a regular-season matchup and a Southern Section showdown at the end of the season. It’s time for Mater Dei and St. John Bosco.

The Mater Dei Monarchs, ranked No. 1 in the Super 25, are 3-0 entering the Friday matchup. The St. John Bosco Braves, at No. 3 in the nation, are 5-0.

With so many D1 prospects on the field, it can be overwhelming to find which players to key in on. Here are five players per team to watch. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Mater Dei quarterback Elijah Brown

Elijah Brown capped his freshman season with four touchdowns in Mater Dei’s win over St. John Bosco. As a sophomore, he has completed 81.8% of his 44 passes through three games, connected on six touchdowns and rushed for one more. He has yet to throw a pick.

In case there were any questions about how prepared he is for year two, Brown went out and dominated Duncanville.

But this game against Bosco will be his toughest challenge of the season so far. He should be forced to throw more than his average pass attempts this season, which is under 15 per game. We’ll see if the Braves have crafted a plan to stop him after last year.

St. John Bosco quarterback Katin Houser

Bosco runs a two-quarterback system. Could Katin Houser use this game to make the job his? The Michigan State commit has a super quick release and can throw on the run, which will be pivotal for the game against a tough Mater Dei front line and an elite linebacker in David Bailey.

Houser has completed more of his passes than Pierce Clarkson (61.6% to 51%), but the junior Clarkson has eight touchdowns and zero interceptions to senior Houser’s five touchdowns and one interception.

Mater Dei running back Raleek Brown

On just 19 carries this season, Raleek Brown has accumulated 279 yards and scored seven touchdowns. He’s averaging the most yards per carry of his career.

That’s saying something. As a freshman, Brown averaged 10.7 yards per carry, rushing for 1,688 yards and 18 touchdowns. As a sophomore, it was a nearly-identical 10.5 yards per carry. Brown had 996 yards and 16 touchdowns.

But one thing is missing so far this year: the receiving game. Between his first two seasons, Brown had 65 receptions for 1,408 yards and 18 touchdowns. This year, he has just three receptions.

Look for the Oklahoma commit to be a bigger part of the passing game against Bosco.

St. John Bosco running back Rayshon Luke

Through four games, Rayshon Luke is nearly halfway to his total rushing yards (309) as he had in his sophomore season (700) on almost a quarter of the carries. A three-year varsity player, the running back will be relied upon to kickstart the running game against the Monarchs.

Luke is a four-star prospect, but with a dozen offers on the table, he remains uncommitted. Showing out in a game like this would be the perfect way to get some more eyeballs on him.

Like the quarterback position, there isn’t one single running back who gets all the action. Luke’s 27 carries are two fewer than three-star RB Jabari Bates, and three more than three-star RB Michael Hayes.

One of them will have to get rolling for Bosco to maximize its potential against Mater Dei.

Mater Dei wide receiver C.J. Williams

C.J. Williams has long been among the top receiver prospects in his class, but he has yet to post dominant numbers on the field. As a sophomore, he had a respectable 684 yards, but with a stacked receiving corps, he wasn’t a go-to option. As a junior, he had 239 yards in five games and averaged 14.9 yards per reception, another solid season.

This year, as the No. 1 option and a full season ahead of him, Williams will look to take a leap before graduating. He caught two touchdowns against St. John Bosco last season, and replicating this could do wonders for the Monarchs’ chances.

St. John Bosco wide receiver Chedon James

Chedon James isn’t even ranked on the 247Sports Composite, but with 386 yards and five touchdowns on 22 receptions, he has posted the best numbers for the Braves this season. This game will be the biggest test for him.

James will face a dominant Mater Dei defense. Already an Air Force commit, his level of play on Friday will not affect his recruitment, but a particularly strong outing could open the eyes of teams at both the high school and college level around the nation while making him an even more important part of the game plan going forward.

Mater Dei linebacker David Bailey

Four-star prospect David Bailey is the No. 3 linebacker in the senior class and has been leading the team by example. He has the most tackles, tackles for loss and sacks on Mater Dei, and after some dominant performances in which the Monarchs could expand the roster, he will be relied upon more than he has been this season against the Braves.

Bailey has a dozen offers, seven of which are from Pac-12 programs, according to 247Sports. Still uncommitted, recruiters’ eyes will be on Bailey on Friday. So should yours.

St. John Bosco DE/TE Matayo Uiagalelei

Matayo Uiagalelei, a five-star prospect, has a claim as the best edge rusher in the nation despite being a junior. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds on 247Sports, he is enormous. He’s athletic. And he plays both sides of the ball.

Uiagalelei has nine receptions for 110 yards and four touchdowns on offense, and 18 tackles, five tackles for loss and three sacks on defense.

He has 20 offers, and that’s sure to rise as his junior season goes on. He barely played as a freshman, and the coronavirus limited Bosco’s games in his second season. As a junior, Uiagalelei is showing out, and this will be his third time on the team when the Braves take on the Monarchs. Expect fireworks.

Mater Dei linebacker Leviticus Su'a

After recording eight tackles, two tackles for loss and two sacks in the game against St. John Bosco last year, Leviticus Su’a is back for more.

This season, he has six tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss. He has yet to record a sack, tough, and is rearing for Friday night.

Su’a is a four-star linebacker widely regarded as one of the top 20 at his position in the 2023 class. He has 12 offers, according to 247Sports, four of which are from Pac-12 programs.

St. John Bosco cornerback Tayvion Beasley

Tayvion Beasley is one of two Braves with an interception this season. His three passes defended is tied for most on the team. If there’s one player the Monarchs don’t want to be throwing the ball toward, it’s Beasley.

The four-star cornerback has eight offers, five of which are from Pac-12 schools and the other three from BYU, Michigan and UNLV. If he’s matched up against Williams, it will be a fun pair to keep your eyes glued to for the night.

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