All-State FB 2017: 1st Team Defense

Two of those selected first team all-state for defense are Olaijah Griffin of Mission Viejo (left) and Atonio Mafi from Serra of San Mateo. Griffin will be at USC next while Mafi will be at UCLA. Photos: Craig Taketa/SoCalSidelines.com & @GetSportsFocus / YouTube.com.


Presented by Blast Athletics, we also are honored to announce these 11 players on the defensive side of the ball for the 39th annual Cal-Hi Sports All-State Teams who are first team overall plus a punter and three more of the six multi-purpose players. For defense this year, we ended up going with three other defensive linemen alongside State Defensive Player of the Year Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oaks Christian, and have three linebackers and four defensive backs. Blast Athletics is a new partner of Cal-Hi Sports and is about to become one of the hottest fundraising options for high school activities & athletics programs in the state. For details, CLICK HERE.

For this year’s First Team Offense plus three more multi-purpose players, CLICK HERE.

For this year’s Second & Third Team (Gold Club post), CLICK HERE.

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To order a commemorative, official All-State Football patch for those who’ve been named to one of our all-state teams for the 2017 season, go to this link from our friends at Billy Tees, which has been the official merchandiser of the CIF for many years.

FIRST TEAM ALL-STATE DEFENSE (ELITE)

DL – Nathan Logoleo (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 5-11, 245, Sr.
As if Mater Dei this season wasn’t going to be strong enough, but the emergence of Logoleo as a force on the defensive line made it almost unfair. Playing on the same defense as linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu, Logoleo in fact had such a great year that he basically forced us to put him on first team. This also forced us to have five on first team from Mater Dei 2017 because the other four were pretty solid locks and this is the first time in the 39 years of doing these teams that one school has had five on first team overall. Tuliaupupu, after all, has been getting national honors. Locally, however, Logoleo was the Orange County Register’s Defensive Player of the Year. He was second on the team in tackles and set a school record in sacks with 17. The D1 college part of it hadn’t happened yet for him when this year’s all-state teams were going out, but it wasn’t bothering him. Logoleo also had 23 tackles for loss and made big plays in all of Mater Dei’s biggest games, including the two against St. John Bosco, the one against Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas and in the CIF state final vs. De La Salle.

Jeremiah Martin probably stopped counting sacks this season after his first few games and probably stopped counting D1 college offers more than a year ago. Photo: Twitter.com.


DL – Atonio Mafi (Serra, San Mateo) 6-3, 360, Sr.
With all of the great pass rushers on this team (see above & below) we thought about putting a massive run-stuffer up the middle and Atonio was the one who best fit the bill. He emerged as a top all-state candidate when he was chosen as the West Catholic Athletic League Player of the Year (pretty rare indeed for a 360-pounder). Mafi dominated on both sides of the ball for a Serra team that didn’t lose a league game and then won the CIF D2-AA state title. He missed the team’s final playoff games, however, with an Achilles injury. The first team All-Bay Area pick had a commitment to Cal, but recently switched and signed with UCLA.

DL – Jeremiah Martin (Cajon, San Bernardino) 6-6, 245, Sr.
When you get in there for an astounding 30.5 sacks that set an Inland Empire area record and is among the top five in state history, that makes it easier for any player to be first team all-state. Martin also became one of the top unsigned seniors on the national recruiting stage as well. The San Bernardino Sun/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin Defensive Player of the Year was considering offers from Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington and USC among others as national signing day was approaching.

DL – Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oaks Christian, Westlake Village) 6-5, 230, Jr.
It’s not clear what Kayvon did to drop from being the No. 1 prospect in the nation for the Class of 2019 as has happened for at least one recruiting network. He’d still be No. 1 in the state for our player rankings after he had a stellar season. Thibodeaux was the L.A. Daily News Player of the Year and already was selected as our State Defensive Player of the Year. He had 20 sacks for a team that won the CIFSS D2 title, including four in the section final vs. Valencia. Kayvon also had 99 tackles, 28 that went for a loss. At last report, he had 26 D1 offers and another reason for that is outstanding academics.

LB – Camron Pitcher (Centennial, Corona) 6-0, 215, Sr.
Everybody makes mistakes and we did last year for not including Pitcher on the all-state juniors team. He had a tremendous senior season for the Huskies (who were No. 3 in the final state rankings) and has been named the Riverside Press-Enterprise Defensive Player of the Year. Pitcher averaged almost 10 tackles per game and had seven sacks. He led Centennial’s defense when it hampered both Narbonne of Harbor City and Pittsburg in preseason wins. Those teams went on to play in the CIF D1-A state final. Pitcher is still waiting for a solid D1 college offer, but he has a commitment to Columbia with Ivy League academics.

LB – Solomon Tuliaupupu (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 6-3, 235, Sr.
The senior transfer from Claremont (where he was an all-state first team junior in 2016) did what he was supposed to do and then some for the Monarchs. Shoring up a run defense that was a weakness from the season before, Tuliaupupu posted 63 tackles and provided a presence with his speed, power and intensity that is hard to quantify. Although he suffered a season-ending foot injury in the CIFSS D1 semifinals, Solomon has been honored by this year’s Butkus Award, which is given to the top linebacker in the nation. Like Mater Dei teammates JT Daniels and Amon-Ra St. Brown, Tuliaupupu is headed to USC.

RB/LB Henry To’oto’o would have to be considered the top all-state candidate this year from CIF Open Division state finalist De La Salle. Photo: Mark Tennis.


LB – Henry To’oto’o (De La Salle, Concord) 6-2, 210, Jr.
As De La Salle continued its 26-year reign in the CIF North Coast Section and also went to the CIF state finals for the 11th straight season, we obviously looked at the Spartans first for NorCal and Bay Area representation on the all-state teams. Henry was pretty easily their top honors candidate. He became a team leader on defense and also stepped up on offense, rushing for nearly 500 yards. On the day we were writing up each all-state first team player, To’oto’o committed to the U.S. Army All-American Game to played next January. He’s also gained a plethora of D1 college offers, including those from Alabama, UCLA, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

DB – Sean Dourseau (Citrus Hill, Perris)
6-0, 175, Sr.

As Citrus Hill was making its push for the CIFSS D2 playoffs, it seemed like Dourseau was getting multiple interceptions every game. He finished with 13, which led the state and tied the Inland area single-season record. He also had 75 tackles and one forced fumble. Dourseau also started getting more D1 recruiting attention as his season was unfolding and has committed to Fresno State.

DB – Olaijah Griffin (Mission Viejo) 6-0, 175, Sr.
A player we got to interview early in the season for a SportStars Magazine feature, Griffin was a lock for first team all-state. The only question was whether we’d list him on defense or for multi-purpose. Since we had a lot of QBs who could run the ball that we wanted to get onto the first team, defense became the slot for him. Griffin was MVP of the South Coast League for his cover corner skills. His biggest defensive play of the season was a 57-yard interception return for a TD that clinched the Diablos’ 12-7 win over Long Beach Poly. He also led the team in TD catches with 12 and could break it big anytime on kick returns. Griffin, the son of rap industry icon Warren G, will play next at USC.

DB – Rashad Scott (Helix, La Mesa) 6-2, 190, Sr.
Scott was chosen recently as the CIF San Diego Section Defensive Player of the Year and that vote was taken before he came up with a 27-yard interception return for a TD that turned the game in Helix’s favor when it beat Oaks Christian 28-13 in the CIF SoCal D1-AA regional final. Scott finished with eight interceptions and simply just did too much so that he had to be considered higher for all-state honors than teammate Isaac Taylor-Stuart (who has been more highly recruited). Rashad also caught 29 passes for the Scotties with seven going for TDs. He will play next at San Diego State.

DB – Steve Stephens (Edison, Fresno) 6-0, 185, Sr.
It was a bittersweet season for Stephens and all other DBs from the Fresno area due to the death in November of Tony Perry, an Edison legend not just in the Central Valley but throughout the state. Stephens, another of Perry’s prospects, was an Under Armour All-American. He had 53 tackles with four interceptions and one caused fumble. Stephens also had 899 all-purpose yards on offense for the 7-5 Tigers with three touchdowns. In addition, on special teams, he returned two punts for scores.

P – Jack Luckhurst (Bishop Diego, Santa Barbara) 6-2, 160, Jr.
First team punter is similar to place-kicker, but for this year we went with someone with a booming punting average instead of simply using the punter slot to write up another kicker. Luckhurst is the son of former NFL and Cal kicker Mick Luckhurst and was a huge weapon for the CIF Division 3-AA state champions. He averaged a reported state-leading 53.3-yard punting average with a long of 83 yards. Luckhurst also kicked six field goals with a long of 49 and went 79 of 82 on PATs.

Mission Hills QB Jack Tuttle hopes to be as successful at the University of Utah as Alex Smith, another QB from the San Diego area who went there. Photo: Mark Tennis.


FIRST TEAM MULTI-PURPOSE
(Three more first team multi-purpose choices listed with first team offense)

QB/RB Tanner McKee (Centennial, Corona) 6-6, 220, Sr.
What to do with McKee was a conundrum for this year’s selections. He certainly played in enough games to be eligible for first team and he’s perhaps the most gifted QB that head coach Matt Logan has had so far in his illustrious career. But McKee couldn’t play in Centennial’s CIFSS D1 semifinal against St. John Bosco and he missed most of the game against nationally ranked IMG Academy with injuries. Still, he passed for 2,147 yards and 27 TDs and he averaged more than 11 yards per carry with 11 TDs running the ball. Tanner’s college destination was unknown as this writeup was being done but Stanford, Alabama and others were offering. He’s a strong Mormon and will be going on his two-year mission before he goes to college.

QB/RB Jack Tuttle (Mission Hills, San Marcos) 6-2, 190, Sr.
The CIF San Diego Section Offensive Player of the Year blew up last spring and summer as a college prospect and generated offers from places like even Alabama. But Tuttle has stayed firm in his commitment to Utah and recently signed his letter of intent with the Utes. He lived up that acclaim during the season as well. In leading Mission Hills to a 12-1 record and to the SDS Open Division title, Jack passed for 3,171 yards and 41 TDs with just four interceptions. He also rushed for 420 yards, which is great for us because then that gave us the opportunity to get him up onto the first team in the multi-purpose category. For his three-year career at Mission Hills, Tuttle amassed 7,179 yards passing and 69 TDs.

QB/RB D.J. Uigalelei (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) 6-4, 235, Soph.
One of the final decisions for this year’s first team was which player or players from the CIF Southern Section Division I runner-up (and No. 2 team in the final state rankings) Braves should be on it. We kept coming back to the way that Uigalelei took over the offense when it was struggling a bit during week 4 and week 5 of the regular season and how that made such a big difference. Since the team didn’t have as many stat stuffing no brainers as in recent years for all-state honors, D.J. to us emerged as the top candidate. He was State Sophomore of the Year, first team All-CIFSS D1 and despite only playing 12 games he passed for 2,905 yards and 31 TDs and he rushed for 379 yards with four more scores. He’s also already collected dozens of major college scholarship offers.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports


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