The 36th annual Cal-Hi Sports All-State Football Teams are headlined by these 30 players, chosen regardless of school size or year in school. Two juniors from CIF Open Division champion De La Salle have made the cut along with two defenders each from Long Beach Poly and Serra of Gardena.
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Note: Thanks to Paul Muyskens for some of the writeups; thanks to Ronnie Flores & Harold Abend for input about some of the players.
FIRST TEAM OVERALL OFFENSE
WR Trent Irwin (Hart, Newhall) 6-1, 180, Sr.
It’s pretty obvious that the state’s new career record holder for receptions (285) and yards (5,272) needed to be first team all-state. Irwin also had a spectacular senior season with 106 catches for 1,974 yards and 22 TDs. Already named as the L.A. Daily News Player of the Year, Irwin recently decided against joining teammate QB Brady White at Arizona State and will be headed to Stanford.
WR Javon McKinley (Centennial, Corona) 6-2, 190, Jr.
One of the finalists for our Mr. Football State Player of the Year, McKinley did take home the honor as the top junior in the state after catching 97 passes for 2,062 yards and 25 touchdowns this season for the Huskies. Nearly breaking the state record for receiving yards in a season, he stood out especially in the postseason with 50 catches for 1,012 yards and 11 touchdowns.
TE Tyler Petite (Campolindo, Moraga) 6-5, 230, Sr.
We don’t always pick a tight end for first team overall, but this year we are with Petite. It helps that in Campolindo’s win over El Capitan of Lakeside in the CIF Division III state bowl game that Petite was the best player on the field. He ended the season with 37 catches for 969 yards and nine TDs. Petite, who played in the Under Armour All-American Game and who is headed to USC, also made his presence known for Campolindo as a defensive end.
OL Jack Dreyer (Serra, San Mateo) 6-8, 290, Sr.
Serra head coach Patrick Walsh said that Dreyer is the best lineman he’s had so far for the Padres. He’s one of the best we’ve seen from the CIF Central Coast Section in several years as well. Dreyer has only been playing football for three years, but with his size and agility he was heavily recruited. He will play next at nearby Stanford.
OL Tevita Halalilo (Rancho Verde, Moreno Valley) 6-3, 330, Sr.
Not just one of the top offensive linemen in the state but Halalilo is regarded one of the state’s top players regardless of position. The mammoth standout will be headed to play at UCLA next season after he committed to the Bruins last year. Halalilo was All-Inland Empire and All-CIFSS West Valley Division.
OL Zach Okun (Newbury Park) 6-4, 310, Sr.
Before his outstanding season, Zach already had his college future determined as he committed with the Oregon Ducks in March. Okun already has gotten numerous honors. His blocking helped Newbury Park pass for 3,707 yards and rush for 2,568 yards.
OL Darrin Paulo (Grant, Sacramento) 6-6, 320, Sr.
He’s got the athleticism to throw the discus more than 170 feet and had a terrific season for the 14-1 Pacers. Paulo was dominant in all three games we saw him and he was on the Sacramento Bee’s All-Metro squad. Oregon, Nebraska and Washington State appear to be in the lead to sign him.
OL Cole Smith (Mission Viejo) 6-4, 280, Sr.
All you need to know about Smith being a first-team all-state choice is that he was selected as the CIFSS West Valley Division offensive player of the year. That’s unheard of for a lineman. Smith, who plays center, committed to USC last summer. He is the son of six-time Pro Bowl center Doug Smith. Cole helped Mission Viejo win the CIFSS West Valley Division title.
QB Jake Browning (Folsom) 6-2, 185, Sr.
It was no shock after his record setting season and career that he was named as our Mr. Football State Player of the Year. Browning completed a legendary prep career with 16,689 yards passing and a national record 229 TD passes. He had 5,704 yards as a senior with a national record-tying 91 TD passes. Folsom also went 16-0, won the CIF D1 state title, finished No. 5 in the final FAB 50 national rankings and set a state record with 915 points scored.
RB Antoine Custer (De La Salle, Concord) 5-8, 175, Jr.
Picking Custer this high may be a surprise to some, but by the end of the season he was the Spartans’ top honors candidate and they were after all the No. 1 team in the state. Custer also was named the Contra Costa Times East Bay Player of the Year (which includes Clayton Valley’s Miles Harrison). He barely played into the second half of most games, but still ended with 1,942 yards and 26 TDs. Custer also averaged 10.4 yards per carry, played some on defense and returned punts and kickoffs. He is a cousin of the late Terrance Kelly.
RB Miles Harrison (Clayton Valley, Concord) 5-11, 200, Sr.
While there are some differences in his numbers this season depending on the source, there is no confusion about how talented Harrison was with the ball in his hands. He rushed for 2,709 yards and scored 34 touchdowns despite being limited with injuries. Already named as a finalist for Mr. Football State Player of the Year, he put on a show every time we saw him in person this season. Harrison carried the ball 50 times for 324 yards and three touchdowns in the 34-33 loss to Redlands East Valley in the CIF Division II state bowl game.
PK Kevin Robledo (Westlake, Westlake Village) 6-0, 175, Sr.
Since his sophomore season with the Warriors, the one thing he does among the best in the nation has been to make field goals. Robledo already was named a U.S. Army All-American and has received multiple all-area honors. He was 45 of 46 on PATs this season and had 11 field goals. For his career, Robledo set a new state record with 42 field goals. He also went 109 of 111 on PATs during his career.
FIRST TEAM OVERALL DEFENSE
DL Rasheem Green (Serra, Gardena) 6-5, 285, Sr.
The U.S. Army All-American ended the season with a knee injury and missed that game but the injury came in the final week of the regular season, which means he played more than enough to be on this squad. Green had a whopping total of 23 tackles for loss, including eight sacks, and was named to the L.A. Times and South Bay Breeze honors squads. Who knows, if Green hadn’t gotten hurt, maybe that would have been the difference in Serra winning and not losing in that wild, crazy 68-64 overtime playoff game to Corona Centennial.
DL Boss Tagaloa (De La Salle, Concord) 6-3, 290, Jr.
Spartan coaches had their eye on Boss as a 14-year-old freshman and he’s been on the fast track ever since. Also a starter on the powerful DLS offensive line, Tagaloa was second on the team in sacks and despite being a junior has to go onto the all-state team as one of the top two or three players from the state’s No. 1 ranked team. He’ll be one of the top line prospects in the nation for next season.
DL Joseph Wicker (Long Beach Poly, Long Beach) 6-4, 270, Sr.
Named by the Los Angeles Times as its lineman of the year, Wicker impacted games in ways numbers don’t show but his numbers showed his dominance too. He had 17.5 sacks this season for the Jackrabbits. His season also included a six sack performance against Crenshaw of Los Angeles. With two days before Signing Day, Wicker had yet to declare where he will go to college.
LB D.J. Beavers (Crespi, Encino) 6-2, 210, Sr.
As the Mission League Defensive Player of the Year (same league as Serra of Gardena) and the L.A. Daily News Defensive Player of the Year, Beavers elevated himself to first team all-state status. He led a unit that gave up just 17.5 points per game. It’s too bad in a way that he isn’t going to Oregon State, but Beavers will play in the Pac-12 Conference in college at Washington.
LB Ben Burr-Kirven (Sacred Heart Prep, Atherton) 6-0, 210, Sr.
Despite missing the first four games of the season with injury, Burr-Kirven came back on fire and ended up leading the Gators to the CIF Central Coast Section Open Division title. He was the San Jose Mercury News Player of the Year for the second straight season and already has been named as our State Small Schools Player of the Year. Burr-Kirven will play next at Washington.
LB John Houston (Serra, Gardena) 6-3, 230, Sr.
Another big time recruit who has yet to commit, Houston is one of the best linebackers we’ve seen in the last 10 years. He didn’t just take it easy this season, either, with 147 total tackles and three interceptions. In his three seasons on varsity, Houston was charted with 413 tackles and helped Serra go 35-6.
LB Cameron Smith (Granite Bay) 6-3, 225, Sr.
Those in Northern California were blessed with a great opportunity to see this three year standout play football. SoCal fans will get to him regularly in college since Smith will play at USC. He had 148 total tackles this season with the Grizzlies. In his three varsity seasons, he also finished with a total of 470 tackles, six sacks and 11 interceptions.
DB DeChaun Holiday (Mission Hills, San Marcos) 6-1, 190, Sr.
After two interception returns for touchdowns early in the season, teams just stopped throwing the ball in Holiday’s direction. Still, he was named the CIF San Diego Section’s Defensive Player of the Year and a U.S. Army All-American. Holiday announced on Super Bowl Sunday that he will sign later this week with UCLA.
DB Anthony Mariscal (Liberty, Bakersfield) 6-0, 190, Sr.
He’s the BVarsity Player of the Year by the Bakersfield Californian and with lots of good supporting evidence. Mariscal, who is headed to Arizona as a DB recruit, sparked Liberty to the CIF Central Section D1 title game. He had 74 tackles, two forced fumbles and knocked away eight passes. On offense, Mariscal piled up 1,252 yards and scored 19 touchdowns.
DB Iman Marshall (Long Beach Poly, Long Beach) 6-1, 190, Sr.
Considered by many to be the top CB recruit in the nation, Marshall had 85 tackles this season for the Jackrabbits and not only has he earned all-state honors but he has earned All-American honors as well. Marshall also already has been chosen as our State Defensive Player of the Year. In addition, he caught eight TD passes and returned a punt for a score. Marshall will announce his college choice on Signing Day.
DB Jay Jay Wilson (Valencia) 6-3, 220, Sr.
We could have placed Wilson in the multi-purpose category but went with him on defense, which is where he’s being recruited. He had 56 tackles and two interceptions on defense. On offense, he caught 50 passes for nearly 1,000 yards, rushed for 534 yards and had 23 total touchdowns. Wilson has multiple D1 college offers but was undeclared with two days before letters of intent can be signed.
P Blake Johnson (Los Alamitos) 6-2, 180, Sr.
He was a three-year punting star for the Griffins, which began with a 73-yard punt on his first-ever attempt as a sophomore. Johnson recently punted in the U.S. Army All-American Game and will sign later this week with Arkansas.
FIRST TEAM OVERALL MULTI-PURPOSE
WR/DB Jaylinn Hawkins (Buena Park) 5-11, 170, Sr.
While we couldn’t get Hawkins onto the offense, he does get on the all-state first team in the multi-purpose category. He caught 80 passes for 1,476 yards and 16 TDs and added 60 tackles and three interceptions on defense. Hawkins has multiple Pac-12 offers but had not yet committed with two days to go before letters of intent can be signed.
RB/WR Malik Lovette (Redlands East Valley) 5-10, 180, Sr.
Doing it all in the CIF Division II state bowl game, Lovette caught nine passes for 154 yards and one touchdown while also rushing for two scores as the Wildcats picked up a one-point win over Clayton Valley of Concord. Named as a Mr. Football State Player of the Year finalist, this future Oregon Ducks’ athlete rushed for 990 yards and 23 touchdowns while catching 70 passes for 1,144 yards and nine scores.
QB/DB Nathan Meadors (San Gorgonio, San Bernardino) 6-1, 190, Sr.
According to head coach Ron Gueringer, Meadors has blown up as a national recruit in the last few months. His final two trips were to Notre Dame and UCLA. He had earlier visited Cal and Boise State. Named as the San Bernardino Sun Offensive Player of the Year, Meadors passed for 1,481 yards and 22 TDs and rushed for 1,971 yards and 28 TDs in leading San G to a 10-2 record. On defense, where he’ll likely play at the next level, Meadors had 32 tackles, 10 pass deflections and three interceptions.
QB/RB Josh Rosen (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) 6-4, 210, Sr.
Considered to be one of the top recruits in the nation, if not the No. 1 QB recruit, Rosen passed for 3,186 yards and 29 touchdowns this season for the Braves. Showing he can also run with the football, this UCLA-bound standout rushed for 378 yards and six touchdowns. One highlight of his high school career was leading the Braves to the No. 1 state ranking last season, including a memorable performance in a win against De La Salle of Concord.
WR/KR/DB Ykili Ross (Poly, Riverside) 6-2, 185, Sr.
The USC commit also had offers from Arizona State, Notre Dame and Arizona. He had a fabulous season, helping the Bears go 13-1 with their only loss in a back-and-forth instant classic to eventual CIF Division II state champ Redlands East Valley in the CIFSS Inland Division final. Ross caught 15 TD passes as a receiver, ran back two kickoffs for scores and scored on a pick six. He had three interceptions in all and averaged more than 18 yards for every punt return.
RB/LB Josh Woods (Upland) 6-3, 220, Sr.
The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin’s Player of the Year made his only season with the Highlanders count after he transferred from Victor Valley, then had to sit out a season. Woods rang up 92 tackles for a team that made it to the CIFSS West Valley Division semifinals and had 11 sacks with two interceptions and two caused fumbles. Woods, who is headed to UCLA, also rushed for 767 yards and scored 11 touchdowns.