California only gets one player in the first round for the second straight year, but we can still point with pride at the 2018 draft when there were five in the top 15. Oaks Christian of Westlake Village is the only school that had two alums named this year and we have three chosen who are among the all-time state leaders for receptions.
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First Round (No. 25)
Jordan Love (Liberty, Bakersfield) QB
After it seemed some other teams passed on the former Liberty standout (who only got one FBS offer out of high school and made it count at Utah State), the Green Bay Packers took him toward end of the round. It will no doubt be a great opportunity for Jordan to learn under Packers’ all-time great Aaron Rodgers, who also is from California (Pleasant Valley of Chico) and also was not a big-time major college recruit as a senior in high school.
Second Round (No. 34)
Michael Pittman (Oaks Christian, Westlake Village)
He had a prolific senior season of receiving before going to USC. Pittman only needed to be a couple of spots higher to be in the first round, which is a big difference in the state having two instead of just one first-round pick. He was chosen by the Indianapolis Colts. Pittman appears in the Cal-Hi Sports state record book for most TD catches in a career (36 in just 22 games) and for most receiving yards in a season (1,990 in 2015). His younger brother, Mycah, now at Oregon, could join him in the NFL
in a couple of years.
Second Round (No. 50)
Jaylon Johnson (Central, Fresno)
Projected by some to be late in the first round, the University of Utah DB went in the second round to the Chicago Bears. While coming up the ranks, Johnson was pointed out to us at a Nike camp by the late Tony Perry, the famous DB coach from Edison of Fresno and Central. One of Tony’s best players, Ricky Manning, also began his NFL career with the Bears. Tony never missed on evaluating DBs and we’re sorry he wasn’t around to witness Jaylon’s big day.
Second Round (No. 68)
Ashtyn Davis (Santa Cruz)
Great example of a walk-on at a college going on to earn a high spot in the NFL Draft. Davis did that at Cal and will now play for the New York Jets. The Jets once had running back Johnny Johnson from Santa Cruz High in mid-1990s and also picked a Santa Cruz County athlete, DB Dwight Lowery, in the 4th round in 2008.
Third Round (No. 91)
Devin Asiasi (De La Salle, Concord)
He was a varsity performer as a freshman in basketball before we started hearing about him in football. Devin was a TE/DE for the Spartans for their 2014 and 2015 back-to-back CIF Open Division state title teams. He was selected as a tight end out of UCLA by the New England Patriots.
Third Round (No. 94)
Josiah Deguara (Folsom)
Let the debate between Folsom 2014 and DLS 2014 continue. Just three spots after Asiasi, Folsom follows up from its first-round pick from last season (OT Jonah Williams) with Deguara going to the Packers. He played in college at Cincinnati where he successfully developed into a tight end for the NFL. Deguara appears in the Cal-Hi Sports state record book for career receptions (240), career receiving yards (3,274) and career TD catches (42).
Fourth Round (No. 110)
Darnay Holmes (Calabasas)
He’ll reportedly be the first from Calabasas to go to the NFL. Holmes was highly regarded as a cover corner early in his prep career at Newbury Park and transferred to Calabasas prior to his senior season. Holmes, who played in college at UCLA, was selected by the New York Giants.
Fourth Round (No. 119)
Mychal Walker (Vacaville)
After getting no D1 offers, Walker headed to Azusa Pacifc and later transferred to Fresno State. He went from that lineage to a top 120 pick in the NFL Draft. He was chosen by the Atlanta Falcons.
Fourth Round (No. 132)
Troy Dye (Norco)
The Minnesota Vikings once drafted all-time Norco great Toby Gerhart and this year went for Dye in the fourth round. He was an all-state DB in high school who transitioned to elite LB at the University of Oregon.
Fourth Round (No. 133)
Colby Parkinson (Oaks Christian, Westlake Village)
Picked right after Dye, Parkinson also became the second player from Oaks Christian to be chosen in the draft. He was a grid-hooper for the Lions who went to Stanford after playing in high school.
Fourth Round (No. 134)
Jaylinn Hawkins (Buena Park)
It generally was a weak year for the Golden State in this year’s draft, so it was extra-special when we got three in a row in the fourth round. Hawkins was the one at No. 134 as the former Cal Golden Bear went to the Atlanta Falcons.
Fifth Round (No. 156)
Keith Ismael (Sacred Heart Cathedral, S.F.)
Players may want to try to be a center down the road in their career because NFL teams do like to draft them. Ismael played that position and played it well at San Diego State. He will play next for the Washington Redskins.
Fifth Round (No. 160)
Nick Harris (JSerra, San Juan Capistrano)
One recruiting profile on Nick listed him as from Junipero Serra with Gardena, Calif., as his hometown. He isn’t from that Serra, but instead is from JSerra. He’s had a great career at the University of Washington and was picked by the Cleveland Browns.
Fifth Round (No. 164)
Curtis Weaver (St. Anthony, Long Beach)
As many were still thinking that Cal’s Evan Weaver would get picked, the Miami Dolphins went with a different Weaver. Curtis is a pass-rushing defensive end who was a standout at Boise State.
Fifth Round (No. 165)
Collin Johnson (Valley Christian, San Jose)
The West Catholic Athletic League scored again with this pick to go with Keith Ismael. Johnson was a tall, rangy wideout for the Warriors who caught everything thrown his way. He’s coming out of Texas for the NFL and was chosen by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Sixth Round (No. 204)
Cassh Maluia (Paramount)
After getting 110 tackles in his senior year with the Pirates, Cassh headed to the University of Wyoming. He was selected by the New England Patriots, so that means someday he might be tackling former University of Wyoming teammate Josh Allen of the Bills.
Sixth Round (No. 207)
Isaiah Hodgins (Berean Christian, Walnut Creek)
He set the Cal-Hi Sports state record for career receptions with 297 at Berean Christian in 2016 and also holds the NorCal records for career receiving yards (4,612) and career TD catches (65). Hodgins went to Oregon State for college and was chosen in the NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.
Sixth Round (No. 208)
Jake Hanson (Eureka)
It hasn’t been that long since Eureka grad Rey “The Freaka from Eureka” Maualuga retired as an NFL linebacker. Hanson is one of those who’s consistently improved every year and will now get his chance as an interior offensive lineman with the Green Bay Packers.
Sixth Round (No. 212)
Casey Toohill (Cathedral Catholic, San Diego)
The state’s final NFL drafted player of the year is a defensive end from Stanford going to the Colts. Casey was a second team all-state choice for the Dons.
Good luck to all of these players in the coming years.