High School Sports

The News Tribune’s 2017 Western 100: The top HS football recruits on the West Coast

QB Tate Martell went 45-0 for Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas.
QB Tate Martell went 45-0 for Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas. AP file, 2014

QUARTERBACKS

Braxton Burmeister, 6-1/ 211, La Jolla, Calif. (La Jolla Country Day School)

Committed to Oregon

Chase Cord, 6-3/190, Peoria, Ariz. (Sunrise Mountain)

Committed to Boise State

Chase Garbers, 6-3/210, Newport Beach, Calif. (Corona Del Mar)

Committed to Cal

The News Tribune's Western 100

Tristan Gebbia, 6-3/180, Calabasas, Calif.

Committed to Nebraska

Ryan Kelley, 6-4/185, Chandler, Ariz. (Basha)

Committed to Arizona State

Tate Martell, 5-11/205, Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman)

Signed letter of intent with Ohio State

Dylan McCaffrey, 6-5/195, Highlands Ranch, Colo. (Valor Christian)

Committed to Michigan

Jack Sears, 6-3/200, San Clemente, Calif.

Signed letter of intent with USC

Tua Tagovailoa, 6-1/210, Honolulu (St. Louis)

Committed to Alabama

Scouting report: You might know the story: Martell first committed to Steve Sarkisian’s University of Washington — in the eighth grade. Who knew so much could change between then and now? Sarkisian left, Martell flipped his commitment to Texas A&M, decommitted in May, offered his third verbal commitment — to Ohio State — signed early and as a senior was the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year. He was Nevada’s two-time state player of the year and never lost a game in his career (45-0). Martell doesn’t have the typical stature of a prototypical five-star QB, but he makes up for it with his ability to extend plays. … Tagovailoa hails from the same high school as Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota, who he considers his mentor on and off the field. Tagovailoa is Hawaii’s career passing leader with 8,158 yards to pass Timmy Chang. … McCaffrey is the son of Denver Broncos legend Ed McCaffrey and the brother of Max and Christian McCaffrey.

RUNNING BACKS

 
Antioch High’s Najee Harris (2) could be Alabama’s next superstar back. Jeff Chiu The Associated Press

Biaggio Ali-Walsh, 5-10/180, Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman)

Committed to Cal

Stephen Carr Jr., 6-0/200, Fontana, Calif. (Summit)

Committed to USC

Cyrus Habibi-Likio, 6-1/200, Mountain View, Calif. (St. Francis)

Committed to Oregon

Najee Harris, 6-3/225, Antioch, Calif.

Committed to Alabama

Sione Lund, 6-1/225, Salt Lake City (Brighton)

Committed to Stanford

O’Maury Samuels, 5-11/190, Los Lunas, N.M.

Committed to Michigan

C.J. Verdell, 5-9/195, Chula Vista, Calif. (Mater Dei Catholic)

Committed to Oregon

Scouting report: Closest thing to Adrian Peterson? Derrick Henry 2.0? If Graham-Kapowsin’s Foster Sarell isn’t considered the top recruit in the country, then who is? That would be Antioch’s Harris. The Alabama commit from the San Francisco Bay Area’s eastern suburbs ran for 2,776 yards and 34 touchdowns in 13 games this season and was a key defensive player. Antioch was 1-9 in Harris’ freshman year and made the postseason each of the next three years with him. All that buzz has kept him off of Twitter and he changed his cellphone number with only a few college coaching staffs receiving his updated contact information. … Martell was Nevada’s player of the year as a sophomore and senior, but teammate Ali-Walsh, a grandson of Muhammad Ali, earned the honor last year as a junior. One of the first people he texted after committing to Cal was Marshawn Lynch. … O’Maury Samuels went from Los Lunas, N.M., unknown to “monster recruit” in the span of about a month. He’s the second New Mexico product in three years to head to Michigan, following Zach Gentry.

WIDE RECEIVERS

 
Alex Cook (2) is one recruit who will try to fill John Ross’ shoes at UW. Randall Benton rbenton@sacbee.com

Terrell Bynum, 6-1/175, Bellflower, Calif. (St. John Bosco)

Committed to Washington

Jamire Calvin, 5-10/160, Los Angeles (Cathedral)

Committed to Nebraska

Alex Cook, 6-2/180, Sacramento, Calif. (Sheldon)

Committed to Washington

Randal Grimes, 6-5/210, Las Vegas (Desert Pines)

Committed to USC

Isaiah Hodgins, 6-3/190, Walnut Creek, Calif. (Berean Christian)

Signed letter of intent with Oregon State

Keyshawn Johnson Jr., 6-1/195, Calabasas, Calif.

Committed to Nebraska

Taariq Johnson, 6-3/215, Buena Park, Calif.

Signed letter of intent with Cal

Ty Jones, 6-4/200, Provo, Utah

Committed to Washington

Joseph Lewis, 6-2/205, Los Angeles (Augustus Hawkins)

Considering: Nebraska, Oregon, USC

Tyjon Lindsey, 5-9/160, Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman)

Committed to Nebraska

Osiris St. Brown, 6-2/180, Anaheim, Calif. (Mater Dei)

Committed to Stanford

Kolby Taylor, 5-11/190, Chandler, Ariz.

Signed letter of intent with Oregon State

Bryan Thompson, 6-1/185, Moreno Valley, Calif. (Rancho Verde)

Considering: Boise State, Nebraska, Oregon, UCLA, Utah, Washington State

Scouting report: How does Washington replace soon-to-be NFL draft pick John Ross? It doesn’t. But it certainly helps the Huskies getting verbal commitments from Bynum, Cook and Jones. Jones, a U.S. Army All-American, had previously committed to Utah. He caught 63 passes for 1,523 yards this season and “is by far the best receiver I have had the pleasure to work with,” Provo coach Tony McGeary told the Salt Lake Tribune. Bynum helped St. John Bosco win a CIF state championship. … Lewis is considered the No. 2 wide receiver recruit in the nation, but he wasn’t the only Army All-American from Los Angeles’ Augustus Hawkins. He went with teammate Greg Johnson, a cornerback. Lewis didn’t start playing football until he was a freshman, and only because Johnson persuaded him to play. Now Lewis is a five-star prospect. … Lindsey is one of six Western 100 selections from Bishop Gorman, the Catholic private school in Las Vegas. … At USC, Keyshawn Johnson played under Mike Riley, then the Trojans’ offensive coordinator. Now his son, Keyshawn Jr., will play for Riley at Nebraska.

TIGHT ENDS

 
Eastside Catholic tight end Hunter Bryant is mismatch for most defenders. Bettina Hansen The Seattle Times

Hunter Bryant, 6-3/240, Sammamish (Eastside Catholic)

Committed to Washington

Grant Calcaterra, 6-4/215, Santa Margarita, Calif. (Santa Margarita Catholic)

Signed letter of intent with Oklahoma

Josh Falo, 6-5/235, Sacramento, Calif. (Inderkum)

Considering: Alabama, Colorado, Ohio State, Oregon, USC

Bryce Gilbert, 6-5/230, Gilbert, Ariz. (Higley)

Committed to Arizona

Jimmy Jaggers, 6-4/230, Roseville, Calif.

Signed letter of intent with UCLA

Tyler Johnson, 6-4/245, Gilbert, Ariz. (Highland)

Committed to Arizona State

Cade Otton, 6-5/225, Tumwater

Committed to Washington

Colby Parkinson, 6-7/230, Westlake Village, Calif. (Oaks Christian)

Committed to Stanford

Scouting report: What a year for tight ends. The 2015 and 2016 Western 100 classes combined for six tight ends and there’s nine this year. Bryant missed a few games with a knee injury for Eastside Catholic this year, but still finished with 56 catches for 959 yards and 10 touchdowns. His father, Eric, is the former strength coach and running back at UW. It’s Bryant’s ability to win one-on-one battles that sets him apart. “We have some guys who are good at getting the ball, too, but they just couldn’t quite get that high,” Lakes coach Dave Miller said after his team’s 57-24 loss to Eastside Catholic in the 2016 3A state quarterfinals. … The prototypical hybrid block-and-catch tight end is becoming more of a rarity. So to see one like Parkinson, a towering Stanford commit who is exceptional at both, is almost old school. … Tumwater’s Cade Otton, The Olympian’s All-Area player of the year, had first said he expected to play linebacker for Washington next year, but now it appears he’ll spend most of his time at tight end. He caught 39 passes for 733 yards this year and had 107 tackles and three sacks defensively.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

 
Elijah Molden’s ball-hawking instincts are hard to match, and many in Oregon consider him one of the best to ever come out of that state. Brad Cantor Courtesty

Chaz Ah You, 6-2/190, Provo, Utah (Timpview)

Considering: BYU, UCLA, Washington

Elijah Blades, 6-2/170, Pasadena, Calif. (John Muir)

Considering: Florida, Georgia, Nebraska. Oregon, USC

Bubba Bolden, 6-2/200, Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman)

Committed to USC

Elijah Gates, 5-11/170, Buena Park, Calif.

Committed to UCLA

Thomas Graham, 5-11/165, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Committed to Oregon

Elijah Hicks, 6-0/185, La Mirada, Calif.

Committed to Cal

Darnay Holmes, 5-10/190, Calabasas, Calif.

Committed to UCLA

K.J. Jarrell, 6-2/185, Scottsdale, Ariz. (Saguaro)

Committed to Arizona State

Jaylon Johnson, 6-1/180, Fresno, Calif. (Central East)

Committed to Utah

Deommodore Lenoir, 5-11/170, Los Angeles (Bishop Mora Salesian)

Considering: Nebraska, Oregon

Elijah Molden, 5-11/185, West Linn, Ore.

Committed to Washington

Alex Perry, 5-10/170, Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman)

Committed to Arizona State

Isaiah Pola-Mao, 6-4/190, Phoenix (Mountain Pointe)

Committed to USC

Jaylan Shaw, 5-11/170, Corona, Calif. (Centennial)

Committed to UCLA

Keith Taylor, 6-3/180, Anaheim, Calif. (Servite)

Committed to Washington

Scouting report: Colleges want athletes who can defend the pass — and, once again, the West provides a fertile recruiting ground for blue-chippers in the secondary. Holmes is as good a coverage player in this class, and a consensus top-25 prospect nationally. His combination of speed (4.35-second 40) and physicality at the line of scrimmage make him the complete cornerback. UCLA had made that a position of emphasis in recruiting as it has also gotten commitments from Gates and Shaw — and is reportedly leading for top 2018 defensive back recruit Tyreke Johnson. … Bolden is the region’s top safety who was committed to USC since 2015, but opened his recruitment back up last summer. Ultimately, the all-USA Today first-teamer stayed with the Trojans, giving them a rangy free safety with elite closing speed. He is a top-50 recruit nationally. … The Huskies needed to restore some of their cornerback depth with Kevin King and Sidney Jones leaving for the NFL. Molden’s ball-hawking instincts are hard to match, and many in Oregon consider him one of the best to ever come out of that state. Taylor has been committed to the Huskies since 2015.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

 
GK offensive lineman Foster Sarell ranks among the best recruits in the country at any position and will be headed to Stanford. Dean J. Koepfler dkoepfler@thenewstribune.com

Aaron Banks, 6-7/310, El Cerrito, Calif.

Signed letter of intent with Notre Dame

Henry Bainivalu, 6-6/300, Sammamish (Skyline)

Committed to Washington

Wyatt Davis, 6-5/310, Bellflower, Calif. (Saint John Bosco)

Committed to Ohio State

Austin Jackson, 6-6/290, Phoenix (North Canyon)

Considering: Arizona State, USC, Washington

Jaxson Kirkland, 6-7/310, Portland, Ore. (Jesuit)

Considering: Oregon, Washington, Washington State

Jalen McKenzie, 6-5/305, Concord, Calif. (Clayton Valley)

Committed to USC

Jake Moretti, 6-5/285, Arvada, Colo. (Pomona)

Committed to Colorado

Brett Neilon, 6-2/275, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. (Santa Margarita Catholic)

Committed to USC

Kanan Ray, 6-4/275, Chatsworth, Calif. (Sierra Canyon)

Committed to UCLA

Foster Sarell, 6-7/315, Graham (Graham-Kapowsin)

Committed to Stanford

Corey Stephens, 6-3/285, Scottsdale, Ariz. (Saguaro)

Committed to Arizona State

Alijah Vera-Tucker, 6-4/290, Oakland, Calif. (Bishop O’Dowd)

Committed to USC

Andrew Vorhees, 6-6/290, Kingsburg, Calif.

Committed to USC

Scouting report: One of the few worries about Sarell is how he’ll fare against elite competition in the Pac-12 when he hasn’t faced the consistent competition perceived to be available in preps-crazy Texas, Florida and California. Much of that was quenched when he earned the offensive line MVP at The Opening, where he handled No. 1-ranked defensive end Jaelan Phillips of Redlands East Valley and defensive line MVP Marvin Wilson (the No. 1-ranked defensive lineman) just fine. “He can do it all,” Wilson told MaxPreps. “He’s real good. He definitely earned my respect.” … McKenzie missed his junior year with a torn ACL. He’s the son of former NFL star and Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie and the younger brother of Tennessee OL Kahlil McKenzie, who was the No.1-ranked prospect in the 2015 class. … North Canyon’s Jackson has excellent feet, and much like Sarell, he attributes it to his basketball background and being a three-sport athlete. The five-star recruit saw North Canyon go 9-34 in his four years.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

 
Marlon Tuipulotu (51), one of the nation’s top defensive line recruits, flipped his commitment to USC this week. Anna Reed Statesman Journal

Martin Andrus, 6-2/280, Los Angeles

Committed to UCLA

Popo Aumavae, 6-3/300, Stockton, Calif. (St. Mary’s)

Committed to Oregon

Hunter Echols, 6-4/230, Los Angeles (Cathedral)

Committed to USC

Noah Elliss, 6-5/325, Highlands Ranch, Colo. (Valor Christian)

Considering: Colorado, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Utah

Haskell Garrett, 6-2/290, Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman)

Committed to Ohio State

Odua Isibor, 6-5/235, Phoenix (St. Mary’s)

Committed to UCLA

D.J. Johnson, 6-5/240, Sacramento, Calif. (Burbank)

Committed to Miami (Fla.)

Brandon Pili, 6-4/310, Portland, Ore. (Westview)

Committed to USC

Jaelan Phillips, 6-6/250, Redlands, Calif. (Redlands East Valley)

Signed letter of intent with UCLA

Greg Rogers, 6-3/305, Las Vegas (Arbor View)

Committed to UCLA

Jay Tufele, 6-3/300, South Jordan, Utah (Bingham)

Considering: BYU, Michigan, Ohio State, USC, Utah

Marlon Tuipulotu, 6-3/295, Independence, Ore. (Central)

Committed to USC

Langi Tuifua, 6-3/215, South Jordan, Utah (Bingham)

Committed to BYU

Scouting report: The debate of who is the nation’s best pass rusher begins and ends with Phillips, an all-USA Today defensive first-teamer and All-American defensive player of the year. He had 142 tackles, including 21 sacks as a senior. And his biggest game came the week after he was fitted for a cast for a broken arm — a career-high seven sacks. He is the top recruit overall by 247 Sports; No. 3 by ESPN and No. 5 by Scout. An early enrollee, Phillips could be a starter for the Bruins as a true freshman. … It is feasible that Ohio State grabs the best pair of defensive tackles in the West — Tufele and Garrett. The uncommitted Tufele is the bigger prize. The consensus top-50 prospect started for the West squad in the U.S. Army All-American game, showing off his great hands and interior quickness. … USC got a pair of standouts to flip commitments in Echols (from UCLA) and Tuipulotu (from UW), who is the state of Oregon’s top recruit.

ATHLETES

 
Sumner’s Connor Wedington is ranked among the nation’s top athletes. Drew Perine dperine@thenewstribune.com

Salvon Ahmed, 6-0/195, Kirkland (Juanita)

Committed to Washington

Jalen Harris, 6-4/210, Mesa, Ariz. (Desert Ridge)

Committed to Arizona

Greg Johnson, 5-10/185, Los Angeles (Augustus Hawkins)

Considering: Arizona State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon, USC

Dalton Keene, 6-5/225, Littleton, Colo. (Chatfield)

Signed letter of intent to Virginia Tech

Brandon McKinney, 6-1/195, Orange, Calif. (Orange Lutheran)

Committed to Washington

Jaylon Redd, 5-8, 170, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Committed to Oregon

Nathan Tilford, 6-1/200, Ontario, Calif. (Colony)

Committed to Arizona

Connor Wedington, 6-0/190, Sumner

Considering: Baylor, Notre Dame, UCLA, Stanford, Washington

Scouting report: It will come down to signing day for Wedington — the No. 1-ranked athlete in the West region and No. 4 in the nation by Scout.com. The News Tribune’s All-Area player of the year decommitted from UW in December, though he still considers the Huskies in his top 5. He showed no signs of the separated shoulder that ended his senior season — nor the ankle injury that slowed him even when he did play — when he ran for 45 yards and a touchdown to earn offensive MVP of the Polynesian Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii last week. Even without Wedington, the Huskies are still planning on welcoming a pair of dynamic athletes in Juanita’s Ahmed and Orange Lutheran’s McKinney. McKinney appears slated to get the most time at safety, while Ahmed, though he was a defensive back at the Army All-American game, is expected to get some looks at running back with his 4.32-second 40-yard dash time.

LINEBACKERS

 
Linebacker Ariel Ngata (5) is headed to Washington. Jose Luis Villegas jvillegas@sacbee.com

Tony Fields, 6-2/200, Las Vegas (Desert Pines)

Committed to Arizona

Daniel Green, 6-3/225, Portland, Ore. (Madison)

Considering: Kansas State, Ole Miss, Oregon State, Utah

Addison Gumbs, 6-4/225, Hayward, Calif. (Stellar Preparatory)

Signed letter of intent with Oklahoma

Rahyme Johnson, 6-4/210, Los Angeles (Bishop Mora Salesian)

Committed to UCLA

Tayler Katoa, 6-2/225, Layton, Utah

Signed letter of intent with USC

David Morris, 6-3/205, Sherwood, Ore.

Committed to Oregon State

Ariel Ngata, 6-4/215, Folsom, Calif.

Committed to Washington

Sampson Niu, 6-0/200, San Diego (Madison)

Committed to Oregon

Isaac Slade-Matautia, 6-1/230, Honolulu (St. Louis)

Committed to Oregon

Jon Van Diest, 6-1/235, Englewood, Colo. (Cherry Creek)

Committed to: Colorado

Scouting report: Not a great year at this position — in the West or nationally. In fact, there is only one prospect here ranked inside the 200 by all the major recruiting sites — Gumbs, who is the Bay Area’s top defensive recruit. He is that defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid who can rush the passer off the edge, yet is athletic enough to drop back in space for pass coverage. He committed to the Sooners last summer, and enrolled earlier this month. … Five years ago, Colorado couldn’t sway its top in-state prospects from heading further west. Now, the Pac-12 South champions are keeping them around. Much like Gumbs, Van Diest can do a little bit of everything. But his junior and senior seasons were ended by a broken-arm injury. … Niu is the West’s best inside-linebacker recruit, and has been committed to the Ducks since last year. He is an extraordinary run stopper, and had 160 tackles, including eight sacks, as a senior, and played in both the U.S. Army All-American game and Polynesian Bowl.

SPECIALISTS

 
The nation’s top-rated kicking recruit, Brandon Ruiz was headed to powerhouse Alabama, but he opted to stay closer to home at Arizona State. Range is no issue for Ruiz, as he booted a 58-yard field goal last season. Cheryl Evans azcentral sports

LS Adam Bay 6-1/205, Mesa, Ariz. (Desert Ridge)

Committed to Wisconsin

K Anders Carlson, 6-4/190, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Classical Academy)

Committed to Auburn

K Brandon Ruiz, 5-10/170, Gilbert, Ariz. (Williams Field)

Committed to Arizona State

P Adam Stack, 6-2/175, Honolulu (Kamehameha Secondary)

Committed to Oregon

Scouting report: The region is blessed with talent and depth at kicker and punter. Ruiz is the highest-rated recruit as a kicker. And this month, he decommitted from Alabama to stay in-state. He appears to be the heir apparent to Groza Award winner Zane Gonzalez, who is graduating. Ruiz’s big leg is a weapon on kickoffs, and his 112 points as a senior ranked No. 2 nationally. One of his 17 field goals was a 58-yarder. … Carlson is joining his brother, Daniel, who is already one of the best kickers in college at Auburn. The two siblings have been known to test their legs in early-morning kicking competitions at home. … Stack, a former soccer player, is the nation’s top punter. He sent one 83 yards in a game last season.

The Western 100

Top high school football recruits from Alaska (none), Arizona (10), British Columbia (1), California (60), Colorado (2), Hawaii (4), Idaho (1), Montana (none), Nevada (1), New Mexico (1), Oregon (5), Utah (4), Washington (11) and Wyoming (none) as selected by The News Tribune after polling college coaches and various media outlets.

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