With an all-state junior and sophomore team to go by from just last January, it might seem like doing a preseason all-state team would be easy cheesy. But in this age of rapid-fire transfers (some for players leaving the state) and others exploding up the charts in the spring and summer events, there are quite a few changes to consider and some of the picks were not easy. This also is a team in which juniors and seniors are mixed together, although we only picked two for first team and one for second team.
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Six players who weren’t on last season’s All-State Juniors Team are now showing up on the 2017 Cal-Hi Sports Preseason All-State Football First Team.
Two of those players are juniors who were on the sophomore team — Mater Dei of Santa Ana QB J.T. Daniels and Oaks Christian of Westlake Village DE Kayvon Thibodeaux. They also are two of the top-ranked juniors in the nation. Daniels passed for 67 TDs and more than 4,800 yards in 14 games for the Monarchs last season and recently committed to USC. Thibodeaux, who played last year at Dorsey of Los Angeles, had 18 sacks.
The other four have moved up from second team juniors or from an even more previously obscure position.
Perhaps the most highest-rising of them all has been Devon Williams from Antelope Valley of Lancaster. He is a 6-foot-5, 190-pounder who passed for 1,150 yards and 11 TDs, rushed for 400 yards and five scores and displayed an ability to catch passes as well. He is now considered the No. 1 “Athlete” recruit in the country by many and has offers from Alabama, Notre Dame, Oregon and many more. At the next level, Williams may be a receiver, a safety, a linebacker or a tight end if he grows into being a 6-foot-5, 240 or 250-pounder.
The others who have moved up onto first team are offensive lineman Will Craig of Granite Bay, running back Branden Rankins from Aquinas of San Bernardino and linebacker Jack Lamb from Great Oak of Temecula. We also had to find a spot for Texas-bound QB Cameron Rising of Newbury Park, who wasn’t on last season’s honors teams due to injury but is now reported as being healthy for the start of his senior season. Rising was the State Sophomore of the Year for 2015.
Players transferring out of state and obviously needing to be replaced are running back T.J. Pledger from Chaminade (West Hills) and defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles of Calabasas. They both went to IMG Academy in Florida.
Players who transferred within the state and stayed in the All-State template are receiver Jalen Hall of Long Beach Poly (previously Hawkins of L.A.), linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu of Mater Dei (previously Claremont), defensive back Isaac Taylor-Stuart of La Mesa Helix (previously San Diego St. Augustine) and quarterback Matt Corral of Long Beach Poly (previously Oaks Christian).
With Daniels getting the nod as first team QB over all seniors (including Jalen Chapman of Narbonne, our 2016 State Junior of the Year), that meant that Chapman had to move to the multi-purpose category to stay on first team. He did have some rushing yards so he fit fine.
Cal-Hi Sports All-State Football
PRESEASON 2017 TEAMS
First Team Offense
WR Jalen Hall (Long Beach Poly, Long Beach) 6-3, 195, Sr.
WR Marquis Spiker (Murrieta Valley, Murrieta) 6-1, 190, Sr.
WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 6-1, 190, Sr.
OL Tommy Brown (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 6-7, 300
OL Will Craig (Granite Bay) 6-5, 280, Sr.
OL Justin Dedich (Chaparral, Temecula) 6-2, 290, Sr.
OL Blake McDonald (San Ramon Valley, Danville) 6-5, 305, Sr.
OL Solo Vaipulu (Centennial, Corona) 6-2, 280, Sr.
QB J.T. Daniels (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 6-2, 205, Jr.
RB Dusty Frampton (St. Mary’s, Stockton) 6-2, 205, Sr.
RB Branden Rankins (Aquinas, San Bernardino) 5-10, 205, Sr.
PK Eli Riofrio (Clovis West, Fresno) 6-2, 180, Sr.
First Team Defense
DL Tuli Letuligasenoa (De La Salle, Concord) 6-2, 300, Sr.
DL Aaron Maldonado (Bishop Amat, La Puente) 6-3, 290, Sr.
DL Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oaks Christian, Westlake Village) 6-5, 235, Jr.
LB Jack Lamb (Great Oak, Temecula) 6-4, 210, Sr.
LB Merlin Robertson (Serra, Gardena) 6-2, 220, Sr.
LB Raymond Scott (Narbonne, Harbor City) 6-2, 220, Sr.
LB Solomon Tuliaupupu (Claremont) 6-3, 225, Sr.
DB Olaijah Griffin (Mission Viejo) 6-0, 175, Sr.
DB Steve Stephens (Edison, Fresno) 6-0, 185, Sr.
DB Isaac Taylor-Stuart (Helix, La Mesa) 6-2, 180, Sr.
DB Jaiden Woodbey (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) 6-2, 205, Sr.
P Matt Araiza (Rancho Bernardo, San Diego) 6-2, 175, Sr.
First Team Multi-Purpose
QB/RB Jalen Chatman (Narbonne, Harbor City) 6-2, 180, Sr.
QB/RB/P Matt Corral (Long Beach Poly, Long Beach) 6-2, 200, Sr.
QB/RB Tanner McKee (Centennial, Corona) 6-6, 215, Sr.
QB/RB Re-Al Mitchell (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) 5-11, 185, Sr.
QB/RB Cameron Rising (Newbury Park) 6-2, 205, Sr.
QB/WR/ATH Devin Williams (Antelope Valley, Lancaster) 6-5, 190, Sr.
Second Team Offense
WR Emoryie Edwards (Tulare) 6-0, 190, Sr.
WR Michael Wilson (Chaminade, West Hills)
6-2, 185, Sr.
TE Tae Le’ (Corona del Mar, Newport Beach)
6-4, 230, Sr.
OL Bryan Catchings (Oak Ridge, El Dorado Hills) 6-3, 270, Sr.
OL Kevin Coblentz (St. John Bosco, Bellflower)
6-3, 290, Sr.
OL Steven Jones (Chaparral, Temecula) 6-6, 250, Sr.
OL Donovan Laie (Oceanside) 6-5, 300, Sr.
OL Jarrett Patterson (Mission Viejo) 6-5, 270, Sr.
QB Jack Tuttle (Mission Hills, San Marcos) 6-4, 200, Sr.
RB K.C. Carr (Tustin) 5-11, 170, Sr.
RB Kairee Robinson (De La Salle, Concord) 5-7, 185, Sr.
PK Derrick Valencia (Centennial, Corona) 5-7, 175, Sr.
Second Team Defense
DL Reggie Hughes (Calabasas) 6-2, 210, Sr.
DL Tyler Manoa (St. Francis, Mountain View) 6-4, 290, Sr.
DL Jeremiah Martin (Cajon, San Bernardino) 6-5, 225, Sr.
LB Bo Calvert (Oaks Christian, Westlake Village) 6-2, 220, Sr.
LB Halid Djibril (Cathedral, Los Angeles) 6-1, 190, Sr.
LB Chris Fatilua (Madison, San Diego) 6-2, 220, Sr.
LB De’Gabriel Floyd (Golden Valley, Santa Clarita) 6-2, 220, Jr.
DB Stephan Blaylock (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) 5-11, 180, Sr.
DB Tariq Bracy (Milpitas) 6-0, 170, Sr.
DB Jevon Holland (Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland) 6-2, 180, Sr.
DB Julius Irvin (Servite, Anaheim) 6-2, 180, Sr.
P Brooks Stephenson (Palm Desert) 6-0, 180, Sr.
Second Team Multi-Purpose
RB/WR Travis Dye (Norco) 5-10, 185, Sr.
QB/ATH J.R. Justice (St. Augustine, San Diego) 6-3, 185, Sr.
DB/KR Malone Mataele (Santa Margarita, Rancho SM) 6-0, 175, Sr.
QB/RB Griffin O’Connor (Edison, Huntington Beach) 6-3, 200, Sr.
RB/ATH Toa Taua (Lompoc) 5-10, 205, Sr.
WR/DB Chase Williams (Roosevelt, Eastvale) 6-2, 190, Sr.