High School Sports

Who are the best high school receivers in Washington? Here are the top 5

Hockinson wide receiver Sawyer Racanelli comes down with a 3-yard touchdown catch in front of Tumwater defenisive back Zack Gutierrez during Saturday’s 2A state football championship game in the Tacoma Dome on Dec. 2, 2017.
Hockinson wide receiver Sawyer Racanelli comes down with a 3-yard touchdown catch in front of Tumwater defenisive back Zack Gutierrez during Saturday’s 2A state football championship game in the Tacoma Dome on Dec. 2, 2017. toverman@theolympian.com

Lakes High School product Reggie Williams set the standard for receivers in Washington. Before moving on to play for the Washington Huskies, and five years in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Williams was a top high school prospect.

As a senior in 2000, Williams led the Lancers to a runner-up finish in Class 3A — the school’s best finish since its only title win in 1997 — and was dubbed the state player of the year in all classifications by the Associated Press.

“You can aspire to be him, but physically, with the things he did, he was the most complete receiver I’ve seen since I started following recruiting in 2000,” said Brandon Huffman, the national recruiting editor at 247Sports.com.

“I would probably put Reggie Williams and (current Los Angeles Rams receiver) Robert Woods as the two best (receiver) recruits the West Coast has had since 2000.”

Williams was a 6-foot-5, 215-pound receiver at the time, and regarded as the top prospect in Washington in the 2001 class, choosing UW over Michigan and UCLA. He finished with 811 yards and 16 touchdowns on 45 catches, added another 512 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 34 carries, and had eight interceptions on defense.

“No question, he’s the best to ever come out of this area. There’s been a lot you can argue for,” Lakes coach Dave Miller told The News Tribune in 2001, days before Williams announced his college decision.

“But I’ve been around a lot of players, and watched a lot of tape where it might take you 12 to 15 minutes to see what this player is all about. This is the first time ... I’ve just had to watch one or two plays and say he’s a no-brainer (recruit).”

Williams is still widely regarded as the best receiver recruit the state has produced — though Gig Harbor tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Skyline’s Kasen Williams turned plenty of heads in the 2011 class, Huffman said — and he could remain unmatched for years to come.

But, there are several high school receivers in Washington now that are making a noticeable impact, and gaining attention on the national recruiting scene. Per 247Sports rankings, college offers and season statistics to date, here are five of the top wide receiver recruits currently playing high school football in Washington.

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Gee Scott (13) of Eastside Catholic catches the ball during a game against O’Dea in Sammamish on Friday, Oct. 6, 2017. Courtney Pedroza The Seattle Times

Gee Scott, Eastside Catholic

6-foot-3, 205 pounds, junior

Considering: Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Colorado, Eastern Washington, Florida, Florida State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington State, Wisconsin

Scott is considered a four-star prospect by 247Sports composite, and his 16 Division I offers are the most of any receiver in the state. His midseason stats (19 catches, 320 yards, two TDs) don’t jump off of the page, mostly because the top-ranked Crusaders (5-1) have plenty of weapons, and 12 players with college offers on their roster. Scott still leads Eastside Catholic in receiving, averaging 16.8 yards per catch. He is a polished and technically sound receiver, with impeccable body control and ability to adjust to passes, and makes his catches count, Huffman says.

Steilacoom's Emeka Egbuka (15) runs through a tackle by Tumwater's Trent Kibler (45) in the fourth quarter. Steilacoom player Tumwater in a 2A state quarterfinals football game at Harry Lang Stadium in Lakewood, Wash., on Friday, Nov. 17, 2017. Joshua Bessex jbessex@gateline.com

Emeka Egbuka, Steilacoom

6-foot-1, 185 pounds, sophomore

Considering: Arizona, Florida, Florida State, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington State

Egbuka is an all-purpose star for the fourth-ranked Sentinels (6-0), and his production has not gone unnoticed by Division I recruiters. Since the beginning of this season, he’s picked up three offers from Arizona, Florida and Florida State. The five-star prospect is considered the No. 38 recruit in the country in the 2021 class, and is averaging 161.3 all-purpose yards per game and has 15 total touchdowns — 12 receiving, two punt returns and a kickoff return. He has 26 catches for 574 yards in his first six games this season, and six interceptions at corner. Huffman says Egbuka is a dynamic playmaker and natural pass catcher who also displays his explosiveness on special teams.

Hockinson wide receiver Sawyer Racanelli comes down with a 3-yard touchdown catch in front of Tumwater defenisive back Zack Gutierrez during Saturday’s 2A state football championship game in the Tacoma Dome on Dec. 2, 2017. Tony Overman toverman@theolympian.com

Sawyer Racanelli, Hockinson

6-foot-3, 200 pounds, junior

Considering: Oregon State

Recruiting interest will continue to increase for Racanelli, who was one of the breakout stars on Hockinson’s title team last season, and finished with a state-leading 1,766 receiving yards and 27 TDs as a sophomore. He’s off to another hot start with the top-ranked Hawks, with 44 catches for 735 yards and nine TDs through six weeks. Racanelli has one offer from Oregon State, but Huffman expects that number to grow exponentially as the junior’s career continues. “He’s so much fun to watch as a receiver,” Huffman said. “He’s technically sound, can catch everything and has a huge catch radius. I think he gets knocked at times because of the level of competition he plays (in 2A), but he would be the same player he is at a higher level.”

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Jabez Tinae of Kennedy Catholic High School evades defenders in a football game at Highline Memorial Stadium in Burien, October 6, 2018. Kennedy Catholic beat Beamer 49-45. Peter Haley phaley@thenewstribune.com

Jabez Tinae, Kennedy Catholic

6-foot-1, 175 pounds, sophomore

Considering: Colorado, Oregon, Utah, Washington State

Kennedy Catholic has plenty of playmakers, but Tinae still finds ways to stand out. He has 44 catches for 788 yards and seven touchdowns in six games, despite missing time against Todd Beamer in last week’s win with a shoulder injury. Last season, he led the Lancers in receiving with 59 catches for 1,278 yards and 12 TDs. “Jabez is polished,” Huffman said. “You can’t press him, and he’s able to run routes on a corner in his sleep.” Tinae is the most college-ready receiver in the state behind Scott, Huffman says, even though he’s only a sophomore. “He knows exactly what he’s doing,” Huffman said. “He could come in (to a college program) and pick things up so quickly.”

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Junior Alexander of Kennedy Catholic High School catches a pass in a football game at Highline Memorial Stadium in Burien, on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. Peter Haley phaley@thenewstribune.com

Junior Alexander, Kennedy Catholic

6-foot-2, 170 pounds, sophomore

Considering: Sacramento State

Alexander has made a big jump from his freshman season (60 catches, 859 yards, 10 TDs) to his sophomore season, Huffman says, and might “have the highest ceiling at any position” of any 2021 player in the state. Alexander is already near last year’s totals this season, with 46 catches for 791 yards and six TDs through six games. Last week against Todd Beamer, he caught four passes in third-down situations during Kennedy Catholic’s game-winning drive in the final three minutes. He has the one offer from Sacramento State, but Huffman says there are Pac-12 schools showing interest in Alexander. “I think once his sophomore film gets out, and coaches start to turn their attention more to that class, (his recruiting) will expand,” Huffman said.

Who else is out there?

There are plenty more receivers in Washington that Huffman believes have college football potential.

Union’s Darien Chase, who is considered the top recruit in the 2019 class who has yet to commit to a school, is one. Though, Chase projects more as a corner than a receiver, Huffman says. Union senior Lincoln Victor, who plays quarterback for the Titans, could end up as as slot receiver in college.

Lincoln’s Julien Simon could project as a linebacker, Huffman says, and is being heavily recruited as an all-around athlete by several schools. Huffman says Simon’s teammate, senior Mykel Campbell, might have more upside than any 2019 receiver in the state.

Others receivers of note in the 2019 class, according to Huffman, include Lewis and Clark’s Xavier Guillory, Mount Si’s Jonny Barrett, Puyallup’s Darius Morrison and Stadium’s Xavier Mason.

In the 2020 class, Bethel’s Puka Sokimi, Olympic’s Adam Johnson and Rogers of Puyallup’s Tyrese Rios could see recruitment pick up.

Lauren Smith: 360-754-5473, @smithlm12