Preseason All-San Diego Sec FB Team

Madison's Sampson Niu no doubt wears the famous No. 55 of the late Junior Seau because his father was a former teammate of Seau's at Oceanside. Photo:

Sampson Niu no doubt wears the famous No. 55 of the late Junior Seau because his father was a former teammate of Seau’s at Oceanside. Photo: 619 Sports Christopher Smith.

Last year’s CIF Division III-A state champs from Rancho Bernardo and a state title-winning school from the past, Madison, both place four on this year’s preseason squad. Arch-rivals St. Augustine and Cathedral Catholic both land three along with defending Open Division section champ Helix.

RELATED Preseason Teams: Sac-Joaquin Section| Central Section

Writeups & selections by Thomas Gutierrez & Eric Williams

Note: These preseason all-section teams will be done in the same 30-player format as the annual Cal-Hi Sports All-State Football Teams. They are based on a combination of what the players did last season and college recruiting. Not every all-section team will have writeups of every player. Some will have an intro, then lists.



QB Mark Salazar (Rancho Bernardo, San Diego) 6-3, 185, Sr.
We knew we were going to list La Jolla Country Day’s Braxton Burmeiser at multi-purpose, so it became a tough call who to put at this spot. Salazar emerged last season in RB’s drive to the CIF Division III-A state title and completed 12 of 14 passes for 185 yards in the 35-14 win vs. Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton. He finished with more than 2,200 yards and recently committed to Fresno State.

RB C.J. Verdell (Mater Dei, Chula Vista) 5-9, 190, Sr.
An elite ball carrier who rushed for 2,135 yards and 28 TDs in 2015, Verdell has committed to join fellow San Diego Section great Royce Freeman in the backfield at Oregon.

It may be a case of pick your poison at Rancho Bernardo this season. Defenses will have to worry about RB Milan Grice (above) in addition to QB Mark Salazar. Photo:

It may be a case of pick your poison at Rancho Bernardo this season. Defenses will have to worry about RB Milan Grice (above) in addition to QB Mark Salazar. Photo:

RB Milan Grice (Rancho Bernardo, San Diego) 5-9, 180, Sr.
With 1,872 yards rushing, 23 TDs and a D-III-A state championship, Grice and the Broncos are primed for another successful season in 2016.

RB Erick Buchanan (Madison, San Diego) 5-8, 185, Sr.
He averaged 11 yards per carry for over 1,000 yards rushing and 16 TDs in 2015. Buchanan is a power back with great breakaway speed, and crafty footwork.

WR Dominick Silvels (Patrick Henry, San Diego) 6-3, 198, Sr.
If there is a prototype for a wide receiver (size,speed,hands), then he is it. Silvels amassed over 1,350 total yards/15 TDs last season. Now as the number one receiver for the Pats, those numbers should increase.

TE Patrick Brown (Cathedral Catholic, San Diego) 6-5, 235, Sr.
Considered one of the top tight ends in the state, he has committed to Boston College alongside Cathedral Catholic teammate Tate Haynes, who is the son of NFL great Mike Haynes.

OL Dominic Gudino (Olympian, Chula Vista) 6-2, 302, Sr.
With offers from Nevada, Army and San Diego State among a bevy of others, his stock should continue to rise as the season progresses.

OL Jojo Falo (Madison, San Diego) 6-2, 270, Sr.
Heating up within the past few months, Falo has received 15 total offers. Ranked in the top five for defensive lineman in California by some services, he is also the best center in San Diego County.

OL Graham Valentine (Cathedral Catholic, San Diego) 6-2, 255, Sr.
This first team All-CIFSD lineman is a combination of intelligence, quickness and athleticism. Add him to the mix of a very talented Cathedral Catholic team.

OL James Lee (Rancho Bernardo, San Diego) 6-6, 260, Sr.
One of the reasons for RB’s stellar season last year, he will continue to provide pass protection for QB Mark Salazar (Fresno State commit) and create lanes for star running back Milan Grice.

OL Donovan Laie (Oceanside) 6-7, 285, Jr.
An agile big man who is also a starter on the varsity basketball team, he has garnered interest from FSU, Ohio State, Michigan and several Pac-12 colleges.

PK Matt Araiza (Rancho Bernardo, San Diego) 6-2, 170, Jr.
He hit a San Diego Section record 18 field goals for the Division III-A state champions. Araiza was 66 of 69 on PAT attempts and had touchbacks on 64 of 87 kickoffs.


DL Blayke Taeatafa De La Rosa (Helix, La Mesa) 6-0, 280, Sr.
A key defensive returner from the 2015 San Diego Section Open Division champions, De La Rosa had six sacks last season. A first team, All-CIF selection in San Diego, he is also part of the San Diego Union Tribune All-Academic team.

DL Daniel Anderson (Bishop’s, La Jolla) 6-2, 315, Sr.
A force that moves offensive linemen with relative ease, he encountered double teams all last season. Still, Anderson collected an impressive 12.5 sacks and 62 tackles.

DL Kaydence Jackson (Mission Bay, San Diego) 6-3, 275, Sr.
He possesses the perfect build and mentality to play defensive tackle at the next level. His domination was evident last season when he registered an impressive 115 tackles and 7 sacks.

Zeke Noa of Helix started running back fumbles and interceptions for touchdowns during 2014 Honor Bowl and has kept it up ever since. Photo:

Zeke Noa of Helix started running back fumbles and interceptions for touchdowns during 2014 Honor Bowl and has kept it up ever since. Photo:

LB Sampson Niu (Madison, San Diego) 6-1, 220, Sr.
San Diego’s most coveted recruit, Niu has 30 scholarship offers. His father, Sai, played with Junior Seau in the mid 1980s at Oceanside. Committed to Oregon, Niu hits hard, moves fast, and spends a lot of time in the film room.

LB Zeke Noa (Helix, La Mesa) 6-0, 225, Sr.
San Diego’s defensive player of the year with the Open Division champions, Noa is one of the best linebackers in California. His father won two San Diego Section championships (1990, 1991) playing for legendary coach Herb Meyer at El Camino of Oceanside.

LB Justin Woodley (Bishop’s, La Jolla) 6-2, 210, Sr.
He can play with anybody in any division. Woodley made 101 tackles (62 solo) and 10 sacks during the 2015 season. He’s also a productive TE (629 YDs, 4 TDs).

LB Andrew Alves (St. Augustine, San Diego) 6-2, 240, Jr.
He had 15 sacks last season as a sophomore for the San Diego Open Division runner-up, and recorded 40 tackles playing varsity as a freshman. His brother Michael (Class of 2016) is a 6-foot-5, 320-pound lineman at UCLA.

DB Isaac Taylor-Stuart (St. Augustine, San Diego) 6-2, 185, Jr.
Only a junior, this four-star recruit has received offers from Alabama, USC, Notre Dame, UCLA, Arizona and several other top-programs.

DB Scott Young (Helix, La Mesa) 6-0, 190, Sr.
With over a dozen offers, Young committed to Arizona this past summer. An important piece on defense for the 2015 San Diego Open Division champions, he is a lock-down defender but also strong and quick making him an offensive weapon at WR as well.

DB Tariq Thompson (St. Augustine, San Diego) 5-11, 190, Sr.
Though a talented offensive player (6 TDs last season), it is his defensive skills that has earned him a position to play defensive back at San Diego State.

DB Azizi Hearn (Oceanside) 6-2, 188, Sr.
With 4.43 speed in combination with Division 1 size, this athletic and physical cornerback also started on the USA Under-17 National Football Team.

P Drew Schmid (La Jolla Country Day) 6-0, 205, Sr.
Committed to play football at Columbia, Schmid’s brother, Zach, plays at Harvard and was an all-state P/K at Francis Parker of San Diego just a few years ago.


QB/RB Braxton Burmeister (La Jolla Country Day) 6-1, 190, Sr.
He is simply one of the top quarterbacks in the nation. The dual threat and future Arizona Wildcat produced 20 TDs on the ground and 31 in the air last season.
CIF San Diego Section
FS/ATH Jordan Genmark-Heath (Cathedral Catholic, San Diego) 6-1, 205, Sr.
With offers from Cal, Washington State, Utah, Boston College, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Vanderbilt, Genmark-Heath is literally on the field at all times playing at RB, WR, TE, QB, FS, DB and KR. He moved to San Diego from Sweden after visiting the U.S. as part of the Swedish National football team.

RB/LB Chris Brown (El Camino, Oceanside) 6-0, 205, Jr.
Already receiving offers from UCLA and Utah, Brown’s statistics were equally impressive on both ends of the ball last season (882 yards rushing, 7 Tds, 61 tackles) so we’re listing him at multi-purpose among this group.

LB/TE Caleb Phillips (Santa Fe Christian, Solana Beach) 6-5, 198, Sr.
Almost a one man team and a true definition of a two-way player, Phillips dominates (136 tackles, 732 yards receiving, 7 TDs) on both sides of the ball.

WR/KR Brandon Lewis (Madison, San Diego) 5-10,175, Sr.
The leader in receiving yards (500) and touchdowns (10) for Madison, Lewis will be the team’s best option at the position after Madison’s top two returners graduated in 2016. He also competes in the 200M, High Jump, and Long Jump, and is committed to play at Air Force.

DB/ATH Josh Olave (Mission Hills, San Marcos) 5-10,170, Sr.
Playing at WR, RB, DB, and as a KR/PR in 2015, Olave’s skill-set will blossom in 2016 under coach Chris Hauser’s offensive attack at Mission Hills. Class of 2018 phenom QB Jack Tuttle will certainly help his cause.
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MP Jake Gerardi (Oceanside) 6-4, 210, Sr.
QB Jack Tuttle (Mission Hills, San Marcos) Jr.
DB Isaiah McDaniels (Madison, San Diego) Sr.
RB Tyler Rodgers (San Marcos) Sr.
QB Terrell Carter (Madison, San Diego) Sr.
WR Tah’Jai Sullivan (Mt. Carmel, San Diego) Sr.
QB Hunter Gaines (Grossmont, El Cajon) Sr.
RB Jared Adelman (Poway) Sr.
QB Rodney Thompson (St. Augustine, San Diego) Sr.
WR Domonique Guevara (Grossmont, El Cajon) Sr.
QB Bryson Bolin (San Marcos) Sr.
RB Bobby Wallace (Santana, Santee) Sr.
DB Colton Larceval (Steele Canyon, Spring Valley) Sr.
RB A.J. Leonard (Westview, San Diego) Sr.
DB Anthony Portillo (Valhalla, El Cajon) Sr.
LB Ryan LaRiccia (La Jolla Country Day) Sr.
RB Demontauz Gray (Hoover, San Diego) Sr.
WR Kyle Philips (San Marcos) Jr.
DE Malu Malutumau (El Camino, Oceanside) Sr.
WR Mozes Mooney (Bishop’s, La Jolla) Jr.
RB Zach Goodkin (La Costa Canyon, Carlsbad) Sr..
QB Tanner Clark (La Costa Canyon, Carlsbad) Sr.
WR Je’Von Figaro (Cathedral Catholic, San Diego) Sr.
DB D’ Angelo Gunter (Del Norte, San Diego) Sr.
DE Cameron Thomas (Carlsbad) Jr.

Thomas Gutierrez & Eric Williams are free-lance high school sports writers who have done a lot of work for San Diego Football Nights Lights Magazine. To see more of their work, CLICK HERE. Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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  1. Pirate Boy
    Posted August 17, 2016 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Oceanside has a team. It is not all Helix and Maddog.

    • I am Jam
      Posted August 18, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      I think St. Augustine is the team to beat. Madison is legit. CC find a way to loose. Helix is over confident and new coach.

    Posted August 18, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Helix always has more of a talent pool to chuse from being a charter school. Madison is well coached and is private like cathedral so they can recruit players. Over the years coach Carroll of oceanside has done an outsanding job with the Pirates practice field to passing tourneys to state titles Oceanside never really has a ton of players to chose from they have to be athletic strong n smart selfliss players. Its a big year for the new coach Rodriguez if he can get the same from his players like the great coaches from before. Alot of new coaches at Oside continuity is important so again this is a big year for the Pirates and the coaching staff.

    • Ernesto Gonzalez
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Helix smash pirates and all these other teams. just giv Helix the open bowl chapiomship now. Helix baby !

  3. JaJa Binks
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Most Helix players are not in that district. They over confident. Charter School can do that.

  4. I am Jam
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I think St. Augustine is the team to beat. Madison is legit. CC find a way to loose. Helix is over confident and new coach.

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