Western 100: Top high school recruits for 2014

Staff writersFebruary 1, 2014 

Top high school recruits from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Western Canada, as selected by The News Tribune after polling coaches and various media outlets.

RELATED: Western 100 interactive map and database
RELATED STORY: Western 100: Petersen new to UW, but not to competitive recruiting climate

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACK (10)

Johnny Manziel’s heir apparent could be Desert Mountain High quarterback Kyle Allen, who committed to Texas A&M. He is the West’s No. 1 pocket-passer prospect. (Michael Schennum/The Arizona Republic file, 2013).Johnny Manziel’s heir apparent could be Desert Mountain High quarterback Kyle Allen, who committed to Texas A&M. He is the West’s No. 1 pocket-passer prospect. (Michael Schennum/The Arizona Republic file, 2013).

Kyle Allen, 6-3/200, Scottsdale, Ariz. (Desert Mountain)
Committed to: Texas A&M
K.J. Carta-Samuels, 6-4/205, San Jose, Calif. (Bellarmine College Prep)
Committed to: Washington
Keller Chryst, 6-4, 235, Palo Alto, Calif.
Committed to: Stanford
Randall Cunningham, Jr., 6-5/185, Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman)
Committed: USC
Brandon Dawkins, 6-4, 215, Westlake Village, Calif. (Oaks Christian)
Committed to: Arizona
Jalen Greene, 6-3/195, Gardena, Calif. (Serra)
Committed to: USC
Brad Kaaya, 6-4/215, West Hills, Calif. (Chaminade)
Committed to: Miami
Morgan Mahalak, 6-3/185, Kentfield, Calif. (Marin Catholic)
Committed to: Oregon
Larry Tuileta, 6-3/200, Honolulu (Punahou)
Committed to: Hawaii
Manny Wilkins, 6-3/185, Novato, Calif. (San Marin)
Committed to: Arizona State

Scouting report: So what is it going to take to replace departing-for-the-NFL Johnny Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner? Swag, of course. Allen – the consensus No. 1 pocket-passer prospect of this class – is sure to provide that for the Aggies. His clean mechanics and footwork are easily noticeable, and as the West squad’s starting quarterback in the U.S. Army All-American Game in January, he completed his first eight passes – and finished 12-for-18 for 183 yards. Allen enrolled at Texas A&M this winter. ... Chryst is not far off the pace, if at all. A transplant from North Carolina after his father, Geep, accepted the quarterbacks job for the San Francisco 49ers, Chryst has drawn comparisons to another signal caller from Palo Alto – Andrew Luck – because of the big-time arm and underrated athleticism. ... Until coach James Franklin’s departure from Vanderbilt, Carta-Samuels was a solid commit to the Commodores where his brother, Austyn, started last season. But the tough, mobile quarterback reopened his recruiting in January, and gave an oral commit to the UW.

RUNNING BACK (11)

Running back Joe Mixon (20) of Freedom High School in Oakley, Calif., could play immediately once he gets to Oklahoma. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group).Running back Joe Mixon (20) of Freedom High School in Oakley, Calif., could play immediately once he gets to Oklahoma. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group).

Kalen Ballage, 6-2/215, Falcon, Colo.
Considering: Arizona State, Nebraska, UCLA, Washington
Isaiah Brandt-Sims, 6-0/180, Wenatchee
Committed to: Stanford
Squally Canada, 6-0/185, Milpitas, Calif.
Committed to: Washington State
Royce Freeman, 6-0/225, Imperial, Calif.
Committed to: Oregon
Christian McCaffrey, 6-0/195, Highlands Ranch, Colo. (Valor Christian)
Committed to: Stanford
Joe Mixon, 6-2/210, Oakley, Calif. (Freedom)
Committed to: Oklahoma
Demario Richard, 5-10/175, Palmdale, Calif.
Committed to: Arizona State
Nathan Starks, 6-0/210, Englewood, Colo. (Cherry Creek)
Committed to: UCLA
Ula Tolutau, 6-1/240, Salt Lake City (East)
Committed to: Wisconsin
Tre Watson, 5-11/195, Corona, Calif. (Centennial)
Committed to: California
Nick Wilson, 5-11/195, Fresno, Calif. (Central East)
Committed to: Arizona

Scouting report: If you loathe Oregon and its vast collection of tailbacks, well, continue on — the Ducks landed the West Region’s premier workhorse running back in Freeman, who was named California’s medium-school player of the year (2,824 rushing yards, 41 TDs). He bulldozed the East defense in the U.S. Army All-American game for three touchdown runs. ... If Freeman is 1A, Mixon — a fellow five-star blue-chipper with better burst — would be 1B. Rushing for 4,281 yards and 76 touchdowns in three seasons at Freedom, Mixon is considered one of the best East Bay recruits to come out in a decade. With Oklahoma graduating its top three tailbacks, Mixon could see immediate playing time. ... Colorado produced two of the region’s best running backs in Starks and McCaffrey. Starks transferred to Cherry Creek from Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas and missed half the season because of eligibility issues while McCaffrey, the son of ex-NFL receiver Ed McCaffrey, set a state record for career touchdowns (141).

WIDE RECEIVERS (9)

Desert Mountain High’s Mark Andrews, one of the top prospects in Arizona, committed to Oklahoma after they assured him he could remain at wide receiver. (Pat Shannahan, The Arizona Republic).Desert Mountain High’s Mark Andrews, one of the top prospects in Arizona, committed to Oklahoma after they assured him he could remain at wide receiver. (Pat Shannahan, The Arizona Republic).

Mark Andrews, 6-6/240, Scottsdale, Ariz. (Desert Mountain)
Committed to: Oklahoma
Erik Brown, 6-2/175, Fontana, Calif. (Summit)
Committed to: California
Jalen Brown, 6-1/170, Phoenix (Mountain Pointe)
Committed to: Oregon
Shay Fields, 5-11/160, Bellflower, Calif. (St. John Bosco)
Committed to: Colorado
Jalen Harvey, 6-1/175, El Cerrito, Calif.
Committed to: Arizona State
Rahshead Johnson, 5-11/165, Long Beach, Calif. (Cabrillo)
Committed to: USC
Jordan Lasley, 6-1/185, Gardena, Calif. (Serra)
Committed to: UCLA
Dallis Todd, 6-5/215, La Mirada, Calif.
Committed to: Oklahoma
Alex Van Dyke, 6-4/205, Elk Grove, Calif. (Cosumnes Oaks)
Committed to: UCLA

Scouting report: A good — but not super deep — crop of quality pass-catchers is coming from the region. The surprise might be where the top-two receivers hail from — Arizona. Jalen Brown is the blue-chipper, a speedster who finds a way to get behind a defensive backfield. The state’s Gatorade player of the year from 2012 posted back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons and leaves with 50 career receiving touchdowns, a state record. ... Oklahoma went big and landed three gigantic receivers in this recruiting class. Andrews, who many consider the top prospect in Arizona, chose the Sooners last summer after they assured him he would remain at receiver and not move to tight end. Oklahoma also snatched Todd early. Both played in the U.S. Army All-America game. ... UCLA made sure to get quarterback Brett Hundley more weapons when it added Van Dyke and Lasley, a wispy gazelle who spurned the usual Westwood-to-USC receiver pipeline to play for the Bruins.

TIGHT END (6)

Stanford’s tradition of developing tight ends will likely continue with Dalton Schultz’s commitment. Schultz is a consensus top-three national prospect from Utah. (Courtesy of Salt Lake Tribune).Stanford’s tradition of developing tight ends will likely continue with Dalton Schultz’s commitment. Schultz is a consensus top-three national prospect from Utah. (Courtesy of Salt Lake Tribune).

Chase Blakley, 6-5/240, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Committed to: Boise State
Bryce Dixon, 6-4/220, Ventura, Calif. (St. Bonaventure)
Committed to: USC
Tyler Luatua, 6-3/245, La Mirada, Calif.
Committed to: Michigan
Henry Mondeaux, 6-4/230, Portland (Jesuit)
Committed to: Oregon
Dalton Schultz, 6-6/235, South Jordan, Utah (Bingham)
Committed to: Stanford
Trevor Wood, 6-6/240, Scottsdale, Ariz. (Chaparral)
Committed to: Arizona

Scouting report: Who doesn’t love Stanford if you’re a tight end? And Schultz, a consensus top-three tight end prospect nationally, fits the bill for the Cardinal as not only a quality pass-catcher, but also as a pummeling blocker. He chose Stanford over Notre Dame and Utah. ... Steve Sarkisian knows good tight ends and how to recruit them. When the new USC coach was at Washington, he landed Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who went on to win the John Mackey Award in 2013 for the nation’s best tight end. So it follows that Sarkisian is pleased with landing Dixon – on par with Schultz – and also being in the mix for next year’s blue-chipper, Alize Jones of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. ... Blakley, Idaho’s top overall recruit, just flipped his commitment from the UW to Boise State.

OFFENSIVE LINE (16)

Kaleb McGary — Fife’s 6-foot-8 “Big Country” — is considering Washington, Washington State and Wisconsin. He will announce his choice Wednesday. (Staff file, 2012).Kaleb McGary — Fife’s 6-foot-8 “Big Country” — is considering Washington, Washington State and Wisconsin. He will announce his choice Wednesday. (Staff file, 2012).

Jackson Barton, 6-6/285, Salt Lake City (Brighton)
Committed to: Utah
Chris Brown, 6-4/290, Los Angeles (Loyola)
Committed to: USC
Drew Clarkson, 6-3/275, Camas
Committed to: Oregon State
Natrell Curtis, 6-3/325, Phoenix (Mountain Pointe)
Committed to: Oklahoma
Kenyon Frison, 6-8/290, West Valley City, Utah (Granger)
Considering: Arizona State, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Utah
Nick Gates, 6-4/270, Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman)
Committed to: Nebraska
Sam Jones, 6-5/285, Highlands Ranch, Colo. (ThunderRidge)
Committed to: Arizona State
Toa Lobendahn, 6-3/290, La Habra, Calif.
Committed to: USC
Damien Mama, 6-5/360, Bellflower, Calif. (St. John Bosco)
Considering: Alabama, BYU, USC
Kaleb McGary, 6-8/275, Fife
Considering: Washington, Washington State, Wisconsin
Andrew Mike, 6-6/285, Tucson, Ariz. (Sabino)
Considering: Arizona, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Washington
Jordan Poland, 6-8/335, La Jolla, Calif. (La Jolla Country Day)
Committed to: Arizona
Dalton Risner, 6-5/300, Wiggins, Colo.
Committed to: Kansas State
Alec Ruth, 6-6/305, Highlands Ranch, Colo. (Valor Christian)
Committed to: Kansas State
Viane Talamaivao, 6-2/330, Corona, Calif. (Centennial)
Committed to: USC
Casey Tucker, 6-6/275, Chandler, Ariz. (Hamilton)
Committed to: Stanford

Scouting report: Big men rule in 2014. Easily the deepest position group in the West, the blend of size, talent and upside of these standouts have been too alluring to ignore. The school that has made the biggest move is USC, which needs to rebuild its offensive front. After the Trojans flipped Talamaivao from his commitment to Alabama in November, they have turned their sights to another interior beast — Mama, arguably the top guard recruit in the country. Mama, a member of the USA Today All-America team, is a massive run-game mauler who can physically match up in the Pac-12 Conference right now. Of course, the Crimson Tide could flip their own script and make Mama the seventh member of a group of elite offensive linemen. ... Tucker is the region’s best offensive-tackle recruit, and after decommitting from USC, he pledged to Stanford last week. He oozes athleticism and shows great arm extension for pass-blocking. ... One of the top recruits out of Utah, Barton kept his yearlong commitment to the Utes by enrolling in college early. He can play right away. ... Kansas State mined a pair of Colorado products, including Risner, the No. 1 center prospect in the West. ... McGary just narrowed his list to three schools this week, and he will announce his decision Wednesday.

DEFENSE

DEFENSIVE LINE (15)

Natrona County (Wyo.) defensive end Taven Bryan, right, will head to Florida. He made his decision after attending the Gators’ summer camp. (Ryan Dorgan, Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune).Natrona County (Wyo.) defensive end Taven Bryan, right, will head to Florida. He made his decision after attending the Gators’ summer camp. (Ryan Dorgan, Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune).

Taven Bryan, 6-5/250, Casper, Wyo. (Natrona County)
Committed to: Florida
Qualen Cunningham, 6-4/230, Chandler, Ariz. (Hamilton)
Committed to: Texas A&M
Zac Dawe, 6-4/280, Pleasant Grove, Utah
Committed to: BYU
Matt Dickerson, 6-5/260, San Mateo, Calif. (Serra)
Committed to: Notre Dame
Malik Dorton, 6-4/240, Bellflower, Calif. (St. John Bosco)
Committed to: USC
Marcus Griffin, 6-3/290, Bellevue
Considering: Arizona, California, Mississippi State, Washington State
Don Hill, 6-3/235, Boise (Timberline)
Committed to: USC
Connor Humphreys, 6-3/270, Portland (Central Catholic)
Committed to: Arizona State
Nifae Lealao, 6-5/290, Sacramento (Capital Christian)
Committed to: Stanford
Bryan Mone, 6-4/315, Salt Lake City (Highland)
Committed to: Michigan
Isaiah Nacua, 6-3/240, Provo, Utah (Timpview)
Considering: Arizona State, BYU, Utah
Tashon Smallwood, 6-1/295, Fresno, Calif. (Central)
Committed to: Arizona State
Ainuu Taua, 6-0/295, Lompoc, Calif.
Committed to: UCLA
Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, 6-2/250, Bellflower, Calif. (St. John Bosco)
Committed to: UCLA
Kalani Vakameilalo, 6-4/300, Kapolei, Hawaii
Committed to: Oregon State

Scouting report: If you needed girth along the defensive front, this was the year for an FBS school to scour the West. Mone, a California native and son of a Tongan pastor, is a powerful, disruptive cannonball in the middle – and has been committed to first-offer school Michigan for nearly a year. ... Taua rivals Mone as the region’s best defensive tackle. Not as filled out, Taua might have bigger upside because he is more refined technically and shows a high-revving motor. He gave an oral commitment to the Bruins in December. ... The best pass-rusher is Lealao, who pledged with Stanford last September but opened things back up when Cardinal defensive coordinator Derek Mason was hired as the new coach at Vanderbilt. Not surprising, one of Lealao’s top three choices is the Commodores. ... One of the more interesting recruiting stories around the country is how a teenager from Casper, Wyo., ends up at Florida. Bryan, a defensive end, attended spring games at Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington, then went to the Gators’ summer camp. He committed days later in July, and becomes Wyoming’s best recruit since linebacker Troy Dumas (Cheyenne East) went to Nebraska.

LINEBACKERS (10)

Arizona State has four linebacker commits, none better than El Cerrito High’s hard-hitting D.J. Calhoun, shown scooping up a fumble. He scored a TD on the play. (Anda Chu, Bay Area News Group).Arizona State has four linebacker commits, none better than El Cerrito High’s hard-hitting D.J. Calhoun, shown scooping up a fumble. He scored a TD on the play. (Anda Chu, Bay Area News Group).

Curtis Bolton, 6-2/215, Murrieta, Calif. (Vista Murrieta)
Committed to: Oklahoma
D.J. Calhoun, 6-0/215, El Cerrito, Calif.
Committed to: Arizona State
Jamardre Cobb, 6-2/225, Los Angeles (Salesian)
Committed to: Arizona
Fitou Fisiiahi, 6-2/240, Honolulu (Kaiser)
Committed to: Oregon State
Chandler Leniu, 6-1/230, Bellflower, Calif. (St. John Bosco)
Committed to: California
Bobby Okereke, 6-3/220, Santa Ana, Calif. (Foothill)
Committed to: Stanford
Jordan Perez, 6-2/210, Carlsbad, Calif.
Committed to: Stanford
Olajuwon Tucker, 6-3/220, Gardena, Calif. (Serra)
Committed to: USC
Fred Warner, 6-3/210, San Marcos, Calif. (Mission Hills)
Committed to: BYU
Dwight Williams, 6-2/210, Gardena, Calif. (Serra)
Committed to: UCLA

Scouting report: It has been a while since the West produced a five-star linebacker — and this year is no exception. Cobb is the most intriguing strength-speed prospect of the bunch because he can play all over. He likely will stay inside because of his ability to take on running backs. ... Like Cobb, Leniu is a short, squatty defender with great sideline-to-sideline range. A prototypical middle linebacker, Leniu will sign with Cal after having committed to Washington State in September. ... Arizona State lost significant numbers on defense and made it an offseason emphasis to reload at linebacker. The Sun Devils have four linebacker commits — none better than Calhoun, a hard-hitting freight train on the outside. ... After flying under the radar much of his career, Okereke saw his recruiting stock soar during his senior season — and the Cardinal swooped in. Because of his burst and overall athleticism, he slots on the outside. ... Fisiiahi — Hawaii’s top recruit among a good crop of in-state defensive players — should play middle linebacker at Oregon State.

DEFENSIVE BACKS (7)

Electrifying Adoree’ Jackson of Serra High in Gardena, Calif., is arguably the nation’s top cornerback prospect. He hopes to also run sprints in the 2016 Olympics. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times).Electrifying Adoree’ Jackson of Serra High in Gardena, Calif., is arguably the nation’s top cornerback prospect. He hopes to also run sprints in the 2016 Olympics. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times).

Denzel Fisher, 6-2/170, Compton, Calif. (Centennial)
Committed to: UCLA
Naijiel Hale, 5-11/170, Bellflower, Calif. (St. John Bosco)
Committed to: Washington
Adoree’ Jackson, 5-10/180, Gardena, Calif. (Serra)
Considering: Florida, LSU, UCLA, USC
Jonathan Lockett, 6-0/170, Santa Ana, Calif. (Mater Dei)
Committed to: USC
Adarius Pickett, 5-11/175, El Cerrito, Calif.
Committed to: UCLA
Deion Singleton, 6-2/170, Pasco (Chiawana)
Considering: Kentucky, Washington State
Jaleel Wadood, 5-11/175, Bellflower, Calif. (St. John Bosco)
Committed to: UCLA

Scouting report: The West’s most exciting show-stopper? That’s easy – it is Jackson, arguably the top cornerback prospect in the country. His skill set of blinding speed and fluid hips reminds many of another Jackson – DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles. Whichever school the USA Today All-American chooses, he has stated he wants to also run track and field as a sprinter in an attempt to quality for the 2016 Summer Olympics. He will announce his decision on national television on signing day (Feb. 5). ... Much of UCLA’s heralded recruiting class is staked to the secondary. Besides being a finalist for Jackson, the Bruins have landed Wadood, the Los Angeles Times’ player of the year (144 tackles, three interceptions), at free safety, and a pair of cornerbacks in Pickett and Fisher. Pickett is both smart and flashy; Fisher’s big frame exudes high-ceiling potential.

ATHLETES (11)

Bellevue all-purpose standout Budda Baker, left, decommitted from Oregon and is looking at UW and UCLA, where he would join former Wolverines star Myles Jack. (Staff file, 2012).Bellevue all-purpose standout Budda Baker, left, decommitted from Oregon and is looking at UW and UCLA, where he would join former Wolverines star Myles Jack. (Staff file, 2012).

Joey Alfieri, 6-4/225, Portland (Jesuit)
Committed to: Stanford
Budda Baker, 5-10/180, Bellevue
Considering: UCLA, Washington
Cameron Denson, 6-0/170, Tucson, Ariz. (Salpointe Catholic)
Committed to: Arizona
Devante Downs, 6-3/230, Lynnwood (Mountlake Terrace)
Committed to: California
Koa Farmer, 6-1/200, Sherman Oaks, Calif. (Notre Dame)
Committed to: Penn State
Jeffery Farrar, 6-1/185, Upland, Calif.
Committed to: Virginia
Michiah Quick, 5-11/180, Fresno, Calif. (Central East)
Considering: Notre Dame, Oklahoma, UCLA
John “JuJu” Smith, 6-1/205, Long Beach, Calif. (Poly)
Considering: UCLA, USC, Notre Dame
Dionte Sykes, 6-3/200, Chandler, Ariz.
Committed to: San Diego State
Marquis Ware, 6-2/210, Los Angeles (Salesian)
Committed to: Arizona
Tyler Whiley, 6-0/180, Scottsdale, Ariz. (Chaparral)
Committed to: Arizona State

Scouting report: Lots of talented teenagers who can play all over the field. The blue-chipper is Smith, who this week trimmed his list to three schools. One of them is USC, which was his dream school growing up. But has new coach Steve Sarkisian made up enough ground in the past few weeks to overcome the bad taste left over from the Lane Kiffin era? Wherever Smith ends up, playing safety or receiver, he has NFL star-level talent. He is a consensus top-25 national recruit. ... Baker not only is the Northwest’s premier prospect, but he also is arguably the best player to ever come out of Bellevue — even ahead of UCLA star Myles Jack. Baker was an Oregon commit but rescinded his decision when it became clear the Ducks wanted him on offense. Baker prefers defense. ... The Bruins are legitimate players for Smith, Baker and Quick, who visited the UCLA campus this weekend. He projects as a receiver but could move to cornerback.

SPECIAL TEAMS (5)

Damien High long snapper Tanner Carew, who impressed at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl with powerful, tight spirals, has committed to Oregon. (Eric Sondheimer/The Los Angeles Times).Damien High long snapper Tanner Carew, who impressed at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl with powerful, tight spirals, has committed to Oregon. (Eric Sondheimer/The Los Angeles Times).

Tanner Carew, 6-2/210, La Verne, Calif. (Damien)
Committed to: Oregon
Jesse Kelly, 5-11/175, Ventura, Calif. (St. Bonaventure)
Committed to: UCLA
Zach Schmid, 6-1/200, San Diego (Francis Parker)
Committed to: Harvard
J.K. Scott, 6-4/180, Denver (Mullen)
Committed to: Alabama
Tristan Vizcaino, 6-2/195, La Verne, Calif. (Damien)
Committed to: Washington

Scouting report: Arguably the nation’s top high school punter, Scott usually hits it high, long and true — with more than 5 seconds of hang time. He committed to the Crimson Tide after attending its summer prospect camp, and is set to replace incumbent Cody Mandell after he graduates next season. ... Vizcaino is a big athlete with a strong leg. A WSU commit this summer, he changed his mind in January and will join the Huskies. ... Schmid was selected to the West squad as a placekicker at the U.S. Army All-American game but has a bigger upside in punting.

Commitments are as of Friday, Feb. 1

 

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