There has been a Cal-Hi Sports all-state first team after every California high school football season since 1980. There also has been at least a second team added on since 1986. Here is an honor roll of the best players from Northern California starting from the first all-state team until the one done last June.
Note: This is a list of players who were either first team or second team all-state selections. It is not a list of all-time best players since not all of them were chosen that high when they were in high school for various reasons. What players did after high school was used to differentiate just among those who were on the various all-state teams. For this feature, the CIF Central Section also is being considered for Northern California.
ALL-STATE FOOTBALL PATCHES: We have been proud to partner with BillyTees.com to provide all-state football patches after the 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021 Spring seasons. Anyone who was all-state first team, second team, third team, juniors, sophomores, medium schools or small schools should be considered okay to order an all-state patch. Every patch also comes with a certificate of authentication. Ordering a patch helps Cal-Hi Sports to continue to present all of these teams in all of the sports we follow (football, boys hoops, girls hoops, baseball, softball).
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT END
Zach Ertz (Monte Vista, Danville) 2008
Lavelle Hawkins (Edison, Stockton) 2003
Austin Hooper (De La Salle, Concord) 2011*
Keith Poole (Clovis) 1991
Donte Stallworth (Grant, Sacramento) 1997
Amani Toomer (De La Salle, Concord) 1991
*Chosen all-state as DL.
Notes: Ertz also was an all-state grid-hooper for 2008-09.
Aric Armstead (Pleasant Grove, Elk Grove) 2011
Jeff Buckey (Bakersfield) 1991
Tarik Glenn (Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland) 1992
David Loverne (De La Salle, Concord) 1993
Kolton Miller (Roseville) 2013
Scott Peters (Amador Valley, Pleasanton) 1996
Aaron Taylor (De La Salle, Concord) 1989
Langston Walker (Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland) 1996
Jonah Williams (Folsom) 2015
Notes: Armstead was a two-way player in high school. Some of his honors were more for offensive line. His older brother, Armond, was first-team all-state for defensive line in 2007. We just saw Jeff Buckey’s son, Grant, playing DL for Liberty (Bakersfield). His oldest son, Zach, is currently a freshman at Stanford.
Ian Book (Oak Ridge, El Dorado Hills) 2015
Jake Browning (Folsom) 2014
Trent Edwards (Los Gatos) 2001
Randy Fasani (Del Oro, Loomis) 1996
Aaron Garcia (Grant, Sacramento) 1987
John Paye (Menlo School, Atherton) 1982
Cody Kessler (Centennial, Bakersfield) 2011
Troy Taylor (Cordova, Rancho Cordova) 1985
Notes: Tom Brady was considered the best high school QB in Bay Area when he was at Serra (San Mateo), but being on teams that were 4-6 and 4-6 prevented higher honors. Both Aaron Rodgers (Chico Pleasant Valley) and Josh Allen (Firebaugh) also are from NorCal and were mentioned in our newsletters and stat star features, but not as leading recruits or for major honors. As everyone may know, Jake Browning holds numerous state and national records. Aaron Garcia also once held the state single season passing yards record (set in 1987), but it was actually surpassed the next day by Perry Klein from Palisades of Pacific Palisades. Aaron’s son, Anthony, is one of the top QBs right now in Northern California at Capital Christian (Sacramento).
Jahvid Best (Salesian, Richmond) 2006
Deontae Butler (Grant, Sacramento) 2009
Maurice Drew (De La Salle, Concord) 2002
Najee Harris (Antioch) 2016
Marshawn Lynch (Oakland Tech) 2003
Ryan Mathews (West, Bakersfield) 2006
Kendall Milton (Buchanan, Clovis) 2019
Joe Mixon (Freedom, Oakley) 2013
Lorenzo Neal (Lemoore) 1988
Ronnie Rivers (Freedom, Oakley) 2016
Onterrio Smith (Grant, Sacramento) 1997
Kevin Willhite (Cordova, Rancho Cordova) 1981
Notes: Maurice later went by Jones-Drew at UCLA and in the NFL where he once led the league in rushing for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Mathews was selected as an all-state RB because that was going to be his college position, but as a senior at West High he ran for 3,396 yards primarily taking snaps as the quarterback. Ronnie Rivers’ dad, Ron, was first team all-state in 1989 from San Gorgonio of San Bernardino (SoCal).
Andre Carter (Oak Grove, San Jose) 1996
Shante Carver (Lincoln, Stockton) 1988
Tony Cline (Davis) 1989
Vei Moala (Grant, Sacramento) 2009
Tim Ryan (Oak Grove, San Jose) 1985
Regan Upshaw (Pittsburg) 1992
Eddie Vanderdoes (Placer, Auburn) 2012
Vita Vea (Milpitas) 2012
Notes: Upshaw got a sack to end Pitt’s 35-27 win over De La Salle in the 1991 CIF North Coast Section 3A championship, which is the last time the Spartans have not won an NCS title. Ryan is now the color commentator on the San Francisco 49ers’ radio network.
Ben Burr-Kirven (Sacred Heart Prep, Atherton) 2014
Jack Del Rio (Hayward) 1980
Mason Foster (Seaside) 2006
Terrence Kelly (De La Salle, Concord) 2003
Steve Hendrickson (Napa) 1984
Rey Maualuga (Eureka) 2004
Jamir Miller (El Cerrito) 1990
Kevin Simon (De La Salle, Concord) 2000
Cameron Smith (Granite Bay) 2014
Henry To’oto’o (De La Salle, Concord) 2018
D.J. Williams (De La Salle, Concord) 1999
Notes: Del Rio is the most prominent player from the very first all-state team that is in our archives. He’s been a head coach in the NFL (in Jacksonville when Maurice Jones-Drew also was playing there) and played in the league for many years (mostly in Dallas). D.J. Williams remains the most impressive player in California we’ve ever seen. He also still holds De La Salle records as a running back. He and Kevin Simon also are still the best pair of LBs we’ve ever seen from a California high school at the same time.
Lonzell Hill (Stagg, Stockton) 1982
Jaylon Johnson (Central, Fresno) 2016
Tim McDonald (Edison, Fresno) 1982
T.J. McDonald (Edison, Fresno) 2008
Terrence Mitchell (Burbank, Sacramento) 2009
Jason Oliver (Bakersfield) 1989
Deltha O’Neal (De La Salle, Concord) 1994
Marcus Peters (McClymonds, Oakland) 2011
Jordan Richards (Folsom) 2010
Notes: Tim & T.J. McDonald are the only father-son duo on this list and Tim was the head coach at Edison when his son played there. We also saw Jason Oliver’s son play this season at Liberty (Bakersfield). The fact that several prominent alums of Bakersfield High (not just Buckey and Oliver) have sons playing at Liberty kind of shows you how things have been going for the Drillers in recent years. Marcus Peters’ dad, Michael, was our 2018 State Coach of the Year for guiding McClymonds to a third straight CIF state title. The Warriors will be a team to watch in this year’s playoffs as well despite a tough loss on Friday to Menlo-Atherton since they will just about automatically be qualifying for a regional berth by winning an Oakland Section title.
Mike Bastianelli (De La Salle, Concord) QB/RB/PK 1994
Adrian Martinez (Clovis West, Fresno) QB/RB 2015*
Shaq Thompson (Grant, Sacramento) RB/DB 2011
*Junior Year (injured as senior).
Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: