This is the 10th preseason all-section or all-area football team we have compiled and covers schools from the East Bay region of the CIF North Coast Section, which is Contra Costa and Alameda counties, plus players from the CIF Oakland Section. This is the one, of course, dominated since the mid-1980s by Concord De La Salle but there is a lot of talent spread around to many other different schools. Special thanks to media partner SportStars Magazine and editor Chace Bryson for his assistance in some of the selections.
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MORE PRESEASON HONORS SQUADS: CIFSS/Inland Empire | Central Section | L.A. City Section | Central Coast Section | San Diego Section | Northern Section | |CIFSS/San Fernando Valley | CIFSS/South Bay & Long Beach | CIFNCS/Redwood Empire
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
WR Mason Knight (Concord) 5-10, 171, Sr.
The CIF North Coast Section’s leading returning receiver (85 catches, 1,300 yards, 18 TDs) will be one of the keys to the Concord spread offense. Despite not being highly regarded as a recruit, Knight gets the job done and is very deserving of a preseason All-East Bay selection.
WR J.J. Koski (San Ramon Valley, Danville) 6-12, 185, Sr.
Koski could have even better numbers than last year (64 receptions for 1,003 yards and 11 TDs) if one of two vying for the quarterback job gets him the ball. Koski, who has grown an inch and put on some muscle, was very impressive at the NorCal Nike Football Training Camp and if he has a good season he will add to the offer he has from Montana.
TE Tyler Petite (Campolindo, Moraga) 6-4, 217, Sr.
Besides being the top-rated tight end in Northern California by all the recruiting services, he has the grades to get into Duke where he has committed. Last year, he had 24 catches for 495 yards and nine TDs (20.63 average per catch) and should be even harder to bring down this year.
OL Brady Aiello (Acalanes, Lafayette) 6-7, 260, Sr.
He isn’t as highly regarded as a high school player as some other first team offensive linemen but his quickness off the ball got him an offer in late June from Oregon, which he has accepted.
OL Dominic Fredrickson (Freedom, Oakley) 6-3, 313, Sr.
The big fella who cleared space for All-American runningback Joe Mixon last year is liked by the scouts and analysts but he’s still not committed and has offers from Arizona State, California, UCLA and Washington State from the Pac-12, plus others.
OL Keifer Longson (Dougherty Valley, San Ramon) 6-7, 295, Sr.
He has almost a dozen offers, including Arizona State, Colorado and Washington State from the Pac-12 but the best program that seems hottest on his trail and would appear to have the inside track is Ohio State.
OL Dru Samia (San Ramon Valley, Danville) 6-5, 280, Sr.
Possibly the most highly-recruited offensive lineman who was recently offered by Oklahoma announced on Twitter that he would make his decision between the Sooners and UCLA last Friday night August 22, and not un-expectedly he chose to become a Sooner.
OL Drew Sullivan (De La Salle, Concord) 6-3, 270, Sr.
By De La Salle standards, Sullivan is pretty big but he fires off the ball and the co-captain should lead the Spartans’ point of attack for their vaunted veer offense.
QB Kyle Kearns (Foothill, Pleasanton) 6-2, 190, Sr.
Every scouting and recruiting service has this Southern Methodist-committed signal-caller as the second highest ranked quarterback in Northern California behind Jake Browning of Folsom. With a solid group around him, many expect him to do as well or better than the 2,500 yards and 18 TDs with a 69-precent completion percentage he posted last season for the 8-3 Falcons.
RB Antoine Custer (De La Salle, Concord) 5-8, 175, Sr.
Last year’s No. 2 back at the end of the season, Custer is bigger and stronger, and becomes the lead back this season. He finished last year with 1,141 yards on only 107 carries (10.66 yards per carry) and 14 touchdowns. Immediately after the Spartans’ 20-14 loss to St. John Bosco (Bellflower) in last year’s CIF Open Division Bowl Game, head coach Justin Alumbaugh told Cal-Hi Sports the biggest factor in the loss was an injury to Custer that took him out of action.
RB Miles Harrison (Clayton Valley, Concord) 5-10, 205, Sr.
The leading returning rusher from the CIFNCS went for 2,020 yards and 34 touchdowns with only two fumbles last season. This season could be explosive for Harrison running behind the Ugly Eagles’ big line.
PK Spenser Thompson-Meyers (California, San Ramon) 6-2, 180, Sr.
Last season, he was 8-of-10 on field goals with a longest of 42 yards, 35-of-37 on PATs and had touchbacks on 43-of-62 kickoffs.
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
DL Kahlil McKenzie (Clayton Valley, Concord) 6-4, 335, Sr.
Some scouting services rate the Tennessee-committed son of Oakland Raiders’ general manager Reggie McKenzie as the No. 1 or No. 2 defensive tackle in the nation. At the NorCal Nike Football Training Camp he was tossing aside 300-pounders like rag dolls and was easily the MVP for defensive linemen. Last season at De La Salle, the all-state underclass junior first team selection had 74 tackles with 18 for loss, 12 sacks and a forced fumble. His eligibility status is still a question although NCS commissioner Gil Lemmon tells Cal-Hi Sports “a decision will be reached in August” and deferred any other questions to Clayton Valley.
DL Kelton Runnels (McClymonds, Oakland) 6-3, 270, Sr.
The top returning lineman in the CIF Oakland Section also plays on the offensive line – and he competes in track in discus and shot put. They got close in a 17-14 loss to eventual state champion Modesto Central Catholic in the NorCal Division IV Bowl Game, but if Mack is to make it to the Promised Land, line play is going to be a key part of the mix and Runnels is the leader. He has offers from Yale, Harvard and UC Davis.
DL Boss Tagaloa (De La Salle, Concord) 6-3, 260, Jr.
Boss showed he could boss kids his size around since impressive performances that started when he was a freshman at the Northern California Nike Football Training Camp. He’s gotten better and better and now the all-state first team sophomore has Pac-12 offers from Arizona State, Cal, UCLA and Washington State, plus other big-time offers from Ole Miss and Missouri.
LB David Lui (Pittsburg) 6-2, 255, Sr.
This Brigham Young-bound inside linebacker can also line up at defensive end where his speed and closing abilities present problems for blockers. Wherever he lines up, Lui will be a major pass rush threat for head coach and De La Salle alum Vic Galli.
LB Ben Schrider (St. Mary’s, Berkeley) 6-4, 223, Sr.
His offers aren’t big-time but his 12 mid-major offers including Air Force are solid, just like his play was at outside linebacker for the NCS Division IV champions last season. He led the team in sacks with 14 and his 99 tackles was third on the Panthers’ squad.
LB Simba Short (De La Salle, Concord) 6-2, 210, Sr.
The Spartans’ three-year starter and captain of the defense is a Northwestern-committed bundle to block, particularly after bulking up 20 pounds while maintaining his quickness. Last year he had 70 tackles, including seven in the Open Division Bowl Game loss to St. John Bosco.
LB Najee Harris (Antioch) 6-2, 195, Soph.
It isn’t often a sophomore makes a preseason first team but this was a selection of SportStars’ Chace Bryson that was too hard to overlook. Despite seeing very limited time as a freshman on a team with a losing record, Harris had a sack and almost 30 tackles and made huge impressions with his frame, explosiveness and athleticism. He also ran the ball, and is listed as a recruit for that position, but it’s as a linebacker that’s really the reason he already has offers from Cal, UCLA, Utah, Washington State and Hawaii.
DB Je’Vari Anderson (De La Salle, Concord) 6-0, 192, Sr.
The move last season from safety to cornerback served him well. After making 58 tackles with an interception, two each fumble recoveries and forced fumbles, Anderson has secured offers from Cal, Oregon State and Utah, plus a ton of additional interest. He also ran for almost 200 yards and two TDs last season and probably will see more action there this season.
DB Isaiah Langley (Foothill, Pleasanton) 6-0, 180, Sr.
The No.2 rated overall NorCal prospect by every scouting service, this USC-bound lockdown cornerback will be a two-way threat for Falcons and could have been multi-purpose, however he’s just too good not to stand alone in his primary position. Although he was not named the top DB at the East Bay NFTC, he was pretty close.
DB Ron Smith (St. Mary’s, Berkeley) 6-1, 170, Sr.
The second member of the NCS Division IV champions to be First Team defense also has an offer from Air Force as does his teammate Schrider. He also has a Pac-12 offer from Washington State and a ton of mid-majors including Fresno State. Last season, he had 135 tackles, two interceptions, six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
DB Shurod Thompson (Pittsburg) 6-1, 190, Jr.
Nationally-ranked recruit for 2016 class and all-state first team sophomore selection will remind Pirate fans of former Pittsburg standout and current Oregon safety Erick Dargan. Two scouting services have him as high as No. 5 at his position in the nation. The result is five Pac-12 teams including Arizona State and Cal, plus four other majors have already made offers.
P Anthony Sweeney (De La Salle, Concord) 5-9, 165, Jr.
He will be the Spartans starting quarterback but returns as the NCS leading punter last season. They don’t punt often in Sparta but when Sweeney uncorked it was 20 times for a 37.85 yards per punt with five going out inside the 20-yard line.
FIRST TEAM MULTI-PURPOSE
WR/LB Darrell Adams (Stellar Prep, Hayward) 6-2, 219, Sr.
He missed his entire junior season due to the transfer rule but after the way he looked at camps this summer and the East Bay NFTC he should be a small school big-time star this season. Despite no action last season, he’s still received offers from Arizona State, Pennsylvania and Utah.
TE/DE Devin Asiasi (De La Salle, Concord) 6-5, 230, Jr.
According to media partner SportStars Editor Chace Bryson, this two sport star (basketball) could be the next hybrid similar to Spartans’ 2010-2012 standout Austin Hooper (who could be Stanford’s next tight end star). Asiasi saw limited action on offense and he only played in 10 games but still managed to finish No. 3 on the team with 6.5 sacks.
QB/ATH Stephen Johnson III (San Leandro) 5-11, 188, Sr.
The most likely fastest player in the East Bay or the CIFNCS for that matter (4.37 in the 40) can play a lot of positions and that is why UCLA is happy to have him committed. Last season, he passed for 939 yards and ran for 728 yards and accounted for 19 TDs combined. He also plays defense in the backfield and on special teams.
TE/DE Matt Snyder (California, San Ramon) 6-5, 245, Sr.
He has 10 solid D1 offers, including Cal and Oregon State from the Pac-12. Last season on a team that primarily runs the ball he was a blocking tight end but still managed 17 catches for 259 yards and two scores. On defense, he had 42 tackles and two sacks .
LB/RB Jacquese Steen (Skyline, Oakland) 6-1, 230, Sr.
The two-sport star (wrestling) is the top returning linebacker in the CIF Oakland Section. Last season he had 156 tackles (108 solo) three sacks and a fumble recovery. He also plays fullback (274 yards rushing, two TDs) and even caught some passes out of the backfield.
RB/DB LaVance Warren (McClymonds, Oakland) 5-9, 185, Sr.
The three-year starter and best player in the Oakland Section last season is the leading candidate to be this year’s top player once again. He rushed for over 2,000 yards last season and 28 touchdowns and was a lock-down cornerback.
SECOND TEAM OFFENSE, DEFENSE & MULTI-PURPOSE
(35 players that deserve recognition)
WR/DB Darrell Adams (Stellar Prep, Hayward) 6-2, 219, Sr.
WR Ryan Anderson (Miramonte, Orinda) 6-1, 170, Jr.
DB Bomani Bassett (McClymonds, Oakland) 5-11, 177, Sr.
RB Malik Blackburn (Concord) 5-11, 185, Sr.
QB Cameron Burson (Stellar Prep, Hayward) 6-3, 195, Sr.
RB/LB Cash Connolly (Foothill, Pleasanton) 5-10, 185, Jr.
QB Mitch Daniels (Concord) 6-2, 195, Sr.
DB/RB Nick Fadelli (Campolindo, Moraga) Sr.
RB/DB Isaiah Floyd (Foothill, Pleasanton) 5-7, 172, Jr.
DB Deante Fortenberry (Pittsburg) 5-11, 185, Sr.
WR/DB Tyshone Gaines (Fremont, Oakland) 6-2, 175, Sr.
RB/LB Matt Gates (Foothill, Pleasanton) 6-0, 190, Jr.
DL/OL Alex Glover (St. Mary’s, Berkeley) 6-0, 240, Jr.
RB/DB Bryce Grandison (Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland) 5-9, 188, Sr.
RB Jason Hinton (Moreau Catholic, Hayward) 6-0, 215, Sr.
DL David Letuligasamoa (Heritage, Brentwood) 6-0, 275, Jr.
WR/DB Maamaloa Mafi (Oakland) 6-0, 170 Sr.
LB/RB Aaron Mercadel (St. Mary’s) Sr.
DB/WR Ruben Mercado (Foothill, Pleasanton) 5-10, 160, Jr.
OL Noah Myers (Las Lomas, Walnut Creek) 6-5, 305, Sr.
LB Noah Palega (Pittsburg) 5-9, 190, Sr.
DB Jordan Parker (Pittsburg) 5-10, 170, Jr.
WR Eric Phillip (St. Mary’s) 6-0, 185, Sr.
RB/DB Tamarik Pierce (St. Mary’s) Jr.
K/P Chase Redd (Monte Vista, Danville) 5-10, 175, Sr.
QB/WR/ATH Ronald Ragland (Fremont, Oakland) 6-2, 170, Sr.
LB/RB Adam Remotto (Campolindo, Moraga) Sr.
RB/DB Armand Shyne (Skyline, Oakland) 5-10, 190, Sr.
RB Ernie Timoteo (Kennedy, Richmond) 6-2, 210, Sr.
DB Kyle Trego (Liberty, Brentwood)5-11, 180, Sr.
DB/WR/QB Golden Venter (Skyline, Oakland) 6-3, 175, Sr.
DB Michael Walker (McClymonds, Oakland) 6-0, 170, Sr.
DB Rodney Washington (El Cerrito) 6-0, 175, Sr.
OL Tyler Whisenhunt (California, San Ramon) 6-3, 295, Sr.
Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend