2016 – 17 Week 1
Boys Football Rankings
St. Thomas Aquinas
Fort Lauderdale, FL 13 - 1 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: 9. The Raiders are the two-time defending 7A state champions and return 16 players who started at least four games, plus a bevy of talented transfers. They are, in a word, loaded, but will be tested early with games with 4A champion Booker T. Washington (Miami) and at two-time defending Super 25 champion Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas). Key returnees on offense include: quarterback Jake Allen (130-of-205 passing with 1,691 yards 18 TDS), a Florida commit; Rivals’ No. 1 2017 WR, Trevon Grimes (27 catches for 496 yards and seven TDs in nine games); WR Mike Harley, a West Virginia commit; OL Zack Sweeney; OG Cody Bowes; and junior OL Jason Swann. Aquinas got a key transfer in RB Kyshaun Bryan, who ran for 646 yards and seven TDs last season at American Heritage (Plantation) and is a South Carolina commit. It is on defense, however, where the Raiders are particularly strong, with junior DE Nik Bonitto, a Florida commit, and five seniors who have Division I commitments: LB Drew White (Notre Dame); DT Kivon Bennett (Tennessee); Coconut Creek DE transfer Lashawn Paulino-Bell (Michigan State); LB Tyler Dunning (Mississippi State); and LB Albert Tucker (Pitt).
Loganville, GA 13 - 1 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: Unranked. The Rams have one of the most ambitious schedules in the country and the talent to play it. Start with DB Deangelo Gibbs, a transfer from Peachtree Ridge (Suwanee), and Jamyest Williams, a transfer from Archer (Lawrenceville), both of whom were invited to Nike’s The Opening Final. Senior quarterback Chase Brice, a Clemson commit, threw for 2,708 yards and 29 touchdowns last season and will be throwing behind an offensive line anchored by Tony Gray, a transfer from Central Gwinnett (Lawrenceville), and Will Taylor, a Duke commit. Grayson also has a new coach in Jeff Herron, who has won four state titles with Camden County (Kingsland) and Oconee County (Watkinsville) and was coaching at Prince Avenue Christian (Bogart). Grayson opens its season with a nationally televised game against IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) and also will play Deerfield Beach (Fla.), Georgia state playoff teams McEachern (Powder Springs) and Archer and Hoover (Ala.), which has won three state titles in the past four years.
Las Vegas, NV 15 - 0 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: 1. The Gaels have won the past two Super 25 titles and have won 39 games in a row, tied for the fourth-longest active winning streak entering the 2016 season. They open with a game at Cedar Hill (Texas) and play two defending state champions in Kahuku (Hawaii) on Sept. 17 and St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) on Sept. 30. Bishop Gorman returns eight starters on defense and has seven starters back from an offense that averaged more than 50 points a game. Key offensive starters include: quarterback Tate Martell (2,608 yards and 32 TDs passing and 604 yards and nine TDs rushing), an Ohio State commit; RB Biaggio Ali-Walsh (2,451 yards and 33 TDs rushing); TE Brevin Jordan; OL Amir Johnson; OL Adrian Dupuis; and WR Austin Arnold. Martell and Ali-Walsh have been the last two state Gatorade Players of the Year in Nevada.
Bradenton, FL 9 - 0 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: 4. Now in their fourth season, the Ascenders continue to be an anomaly. They play a national schedule, with all but four of their games on the road, and most of the team’s players have already established themselves as elite recruits at other high schools first. Beginning with senior LB Dylan Moses, who transferred from University (Baton Rouge, La.), IMG has eight seniors among Scout.com’s Top 100. The rest: WR Jhamon Ausbon, an LSU commit; DB Isaiah Pryor, an Ohio State commit; DE Robert Beal, a Georgia commit; QB Kellen Mond, a Texas A&M commit and OL Cesar Ruiz. Of that group, only Ruiz played last season for the Ascenders.
Cedar Hill, TX 9 - 2 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: Unranked. The Longhorns return 10 starters on offense, including solid quarterback in Notre Dame commit Avery Davis, who threw for 22 TDs and ran for 13 TDs last season. He has two elite receivers: Camron Buckley, a Texas A&M commit who had 31 catches for 432 yards and seven TDs; and Charleston Rambo, an Oklahoma commit who had 22 catches for 434 yards and five TDs. A third receiver, speedy Colorado commit Jaylon Jackson, may miss the season with a knee injury. The Longhorns get an early test with a nationally televised and highly anticipated game against defending Super 25 champion Bishop Gorman.
American Heritage Plantation
Plantation, FL 10 - 2 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: Unranked. The Patriots have won two state titles in the past three years and have a new coach, former Miami Dolphins defensive back Patrick Surtain, who had been the defensive coordinator. He replaces another former NFL player, Mike Rumph, now the cornerbacks coach at the University of Miami. They also have an ambitious schedule that includes Booker T. Washington (Miami), Colquitt County (Moultrie, Ga.) and Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.).
Cincinnati, OH 12 - 2 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: Unranked. The Cardinals were state semifinalists and return 13 starters, including seven all-conference players. The defense is particularly strong, led by CB Amir Riep (seven interceptions), who recently committed to Ohio State; and senior LB Kyle Bolden (93 tackles) and junior LB Dan Bolden (107 tackles). Kyle is the son of coach Tom Bolden and Dan is his nephew. An inexperienced offensive line and a tough schedule that includes Warren Central (Indianapolis), La Salle (Cincinnati) and St. Xavier (Cincinnati) are the only question marks.
Miami, FL 9 - 5 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: Unranked. The Tornadoes won their fourth consecutive state title last season and should be even better this season. Former coach Tim “Ice” Harris returns to the school after a two-year stint as Miami’s running backs coach. This season, Booker T. Washington will open with American Heritage (Plantation) and will play state champions Miami Central and St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale).
Hyattsville, MD 12 - 1 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: 12. The Stags, who have won three consecutive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference titles, return senior quarterback Beau English (67-for-115 for 1,021 yards and 11 TDs passing), an Air Force commit, along with a strong backfield in senior RB Anthony McFarland (527 yards and five TDs) and Khoury Spruill, who missed much of last season with a broken leg. The schedule includes perennial powerhouses Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.), Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg, Pa.) and WCAC toughs Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.), St. John’s Collegiate (Washington, D.C.) and Good Counsel (Olney, Md.).
Austin, TX 15 - 1 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: 25. The Cavaliers fell in the 6A-2 state championship to Katy and return a big senior class. QB Charlie Brewer, a Southern Methodist commit, completed 256 of 375 passes for 3,421 yards and 42 touchdowns and also ran for nine touchdowns. His prime targets are: senior WR Cade Green (72 catches, 1,172 yards, 14 TDs), a Wisconsin commit; RB Maleek Barkley (64 rushes for 617 yards and 10 TDs and 56 catches for 693 yards and 10 TDs), an Arkansas commit; and H-Back Cade Brewer (51 catches for 813 yards and 15 TDs), who is no relation to Charlie but is a SMU commit.
Mobile, AL 13 - 1 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: Unranked. The Yellow Jackets are the defending 7A state champions and return 12 starters. One question was at quarterback, where Bubba Thompson replaces Paris Chambers, who was a 7A All-State player, but Thompson looked ready while helping McGill-Toolen win the USA Football National 7on7 Championship last month. The Yellow Jackets open the season with defending 6A state champion Spanish Fort.
Katy, TX 16 - 0 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: 5. Last season, the Tigers won the 6A-II state title, their eighth overall. Katy has to replace 14 starters off that team, but the Tigers just reload. Expect running backs Deondrick Glass, Kevon Copeland, and Josh Oglesby to have a big year behind an offensive line that includes seniors Hayden Howerton, a Rice commit; TE Parker Eichenberger, a Houston commit; and Payton Srack; and juniors Trace Oldner and Connor Galvin. That defense will face a challenge to match last year’s group that allowed just 62 points in 16 games and only 18 in the regular season. At one point, Katy posted five conescutive shutouts.
Charlotte, NC 14 - 2 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: Unranked. The Mavericks have won three consecutive state titles and return 10 starters. Key returnees include: WR-DB Ryan Jones (23 catches for 669 yards and seven TDs), a North Carolina commit; 6-5, 284-pound OL Eric Douglas and 6-5, 280-pound OL T.J. Moore, both of whom are South Carolina commits. On defense, Mallard Creek will rely on two North Carolina State commits in DL Grant Gibson and DB Jacobe Clement, who transferred from South Mecklenburg (Charlotte). Another key newcomer is senior DE Brian Lassiter II, who transferred from St. Mary’s Ryken (Leonardtown, Md.). The schedule includes three good South Carolina teams: Byrnes (Duncan), Dillon, and South Pointe (Rock Hill).
Santa Ana, CA 10 - 3 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: Unranked. QB J.T. Daniels (3,042 yards, 33 TD passes) was forced to start last season as a freshman and with another year under his belt, Mater Dei is a team to watch this season. Daniels has plenty of talent to throw to. Senior WR Osiris St. Brown committed to Stanford on Friday. His younger brother, junior Amon-Ra St. Brown; sophomore Bru McCoy, and juniors CJ Parks, and Nikko Remigio also are getting major offers. Daniels also has good protection, with junior OLs Tommy Brown and senior OL Austin Faoliu, a transfer from JSerra (San Juan Capistrano). On defense, the Monarchs are really strong in the secondary with Arizona commit Xavier Bell, Quentin Lake, Jalen Cole, Chase Ault and Roman Kafentzis. Another key defender is linebacker Fa’avae Fa’avae.
De Soto, TX 6 - 6 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: Unranked. Everything that could go wrong for the Eagles did last year in Todd Peterman’s first year as head coach after seven years with the program, but they have enough talent for a major rebound in 2016. Begin up front with three elite OLs in Xavier Newman (a 6-3, 272-pound Texas commit), Edward Ingram (a 6-4, 327-pound LSU commit) and Hyrin White (6-7, 292), who is headed to Missouri. They’ll likely be blocking for QB Shawn Robinson, a TCU commit. Robinson missed about a month of practice in the spring and will need to hold off Courtney Douglas, last year’s varsity backup.
John Curtis Christian
River Ridge, LA 7 - 2 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: Unranked. The Patriots have won 26 state titles, the last in 2013, and are led by J.T. Curtis, the winningest active high school football coach in the nation. The team’s defense is solid, with eight starters returning, led by senior DL Poni Tu’uta and senior S Garrett Wallow and senior LB Terron Cherry and junior LB Jay Curtis. Key returnees include junior running backs Marquese Albert, Malik Wells and Darryan Washington and junior WR-CB Tyrone Legette, son of the former New Orleans Saints defensive back of the same name.
Pittsburgh Central Catholic
Pittsburgh, PA 15 - 1 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: Unranked. The Vikings won their fourth 4A state title last season and return junior QB Troy Fisher (completed 145 of 195 passes for 1,830 yards and 27 TDs and ran for 525 yards). Central also has a strong running attack. Senior RB J.J. Younger, who ran for 184 yards in the state championship game, and senior RB Justice Evans will run behind an offensive line that is anchored by senior Yale commits Jacob Hinish and Donovan Slater, plus Jake Trautman and C.J. Thorpe, who is a Penn State commit. Central opens against St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) on Aug. 27 thanks to a new Pennsylvania schedule rule that allows teams to play another game instead of a second scrimmage.
Allen, TX 14 - 1 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: 20. The Eagles have a new coach in Terry Gambill, who was 68-13 at Midway (Waco) and was an assistant at Allen from 2001 to 2009, most recently as the team’s defensive coordinator. He replaces Tom Westerberg, who won four state titles in his 12 seasons at Allen with a record of 148-17. Allen has tough out-of-state opponents with Evangel Christian (Shreveport, La.) and Hoover (Ala.), which will be the first time a non-Texas team plays in the annual Tom Landry Classic.
Louisville, KY 11 - 2 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: Unranked. The Shamrocks didn’t win a state title last season, but with 23 of them, they’re always in the hunt. RB Jovan Smith averaged 7.7 yards a carry last season as a backup and will see plenty of action this fall, along with twin brother WR-DB Jovel Smith, who averaged 16.7 yards a catch last season. Speedy senior CB Zyan Bethel, who had five interceptions last season, is a key returnee on defense. Watch for sophomore DE Stephen Herron to have an immediate impact.
St. John Bosco
Bellflower, CA 13 - 1 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: 11. The Braves have won three consecutive Trinity League titles and don’t appear to be slowing down soon. Start with elite OL Wyatt Davis, a 6-4, 310-pound Ohio State commit who is considered the No. 1 senior offensive guard according to 247Sports.com’s Composite rankings. He’ll have another solid OL, senior Ben Holmes (6-4, 310), for company. Junior Re-Al Mitchell is the latest in the line of athletic St. John Bosco quarterbacks. The schedule is daunting at the start with out-of-state games against St. Xavier (Cincinnati) and Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) within the first three weeks.
Indianapolis, IN 8 - 4 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: Unranked. Senior QB Zach Summeier (2,087 yards and 13 TDs passing and 330 yards and 6 TDs rushing) has plenty of talent around him. Sophomore WR David Bell (35 catches for 649 yards) is already getting big-time offers, and WRs Paul Minor and Dean Tate are also talented. Junior DB Julius Brents leads a solid defense that includes senior LB Damon Wesley, junior LB Jalen Stringer, senior DB Dijon Anderson and DE Trent Taylor, as well as sophomore DL-OL Justin Britt. The Warriors open the season with state champion Center Grove (Greenwood).
Petal, MS 10 - 5 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: Unranked. The Panthers were the state runner-up and return 12 starters. Key defensive returning starters include LB Charlie Marlowe and four senior DLs: Chris Monroe (45 tackles); Kane Roberts (53 tackles); Greg Linear (48 tackles); and Adarius Davis (35 tackles). RB Stephon Huderson (2,031 yards and 22 TDs), RB Xavier Yancey and slotback Tanner Estill (802 yards receiving, 216 yards), who is moving to QB, are key returners on offense. Estill has been used all over the field the last two years but returns to QB this season.
Chandler, AZ 11 - 2 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: Unranked. The Wolves made it to the state semifinals last season and have speed to burn. Begin with WR Kolby Taylor (58 catches for 861 yards), an Oregon State commit, and WR Johnny Johnson (35 catches for 530 yards), who has several major offers. Chandler is looking to find the successor at quarterback to Mason Moran, who is now at Oregon State. Jacob Conover seems to have the lead in the competition after looking good in 7-on-7 in the June. Senior Aaron Howard, a transfer from Hamilton, and junior Billy Bolger, Moran’s backup, also are in contention. Chandlers faces Centennial (Corona, Calif.) on Aug. 27 and will play what Aguano has said is the toughest schedule for any Arizona team.
Don Bosco Prep
Ramsey, NJ 9 - 3 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: Unranked. The Ironmen won the Non-Public Group 4 state title and return 21 seniors. Senior QB Tommy DeVitto (1,689 yards, 17 TDs passing), a Syracuse commit, returns and has solid protection with junior two-way lineman Tyler Friday, who is getting major offers, along with junior OL Tyler Williams and seniors OLs Liam Fornadell and Michael Luberto. The defense is led by senior DE Marcus Valdez, who has committed to Boston College, and junior DB Kevin Brennan, who has several major offers. As usual, Don Bosco Prep will play a tough schedule, including out-of-state powers American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.), St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia) and Moeller (Cincinnati). The rest of the games will be in the newly formed North Jersey Super Football Conference.
North Charleston, SC 15 - 0 - 0
Result: 2015 Final Rank: Unranked. Three-year starter QB Dakereon Joyner (3,202 yards, 32 TDs passing, 1,059 yards, 19 TDS rushing) is the top returnee from a 1-AAAA state championship team. His primary receivers are expected to be senior Adonicas Sanders and junior Raquan Simmons, who had more than 1,500 receiving yards between them. DT Khalid Katz (126 tackles) and senior LB DeAndre Peterson (143 tackles) anchor the defense. Other key defensive returnees include: junior DE R.J. Cobb; junior LB Kenneth Brown; and senior DT Myles Price. This season, the Patriots will play in a new division, Class AAAAA, for the state’s largest schools.