This fall figures to be a big season for regional high school football, even bigger for student-athletes already high on the national recruiting radar.
Folsom and Jesuit are lining up to repeat as Nos. 1 and 2 in The Bee’s preseason rankings. Both programs are anchored by players attracting interest from hordes of major colleges.
Bee Player of the Year Joseph Ngata of Folsom, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound wide receiver, has scholarship offers from across the country, including Alabama and Clemson. His sophomore brother, all-purpose back Daniyel Ngata, just received an offer from Notre Dame. Quarterback teammate Kaiden Bennett has an offer from Utah.
As scholarship offers trickle in for legitimate prospects, they tend to snowball. Recruiters compete, too. Nothing is binding until a national letter of intent is signed.
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Ngata announced his Alabama offer Feb. 7 on Twitter, saying, “It really doesn’t get any bigger than this.”
Jesuit has two blue-chip recruits in cornerback Isaiah Rutherford and 6-5, 240-pound defensive end/tight end Laiatu Latu. Rutherford has offers from Alabama, Notre Dame, Oregon, Nebraska, USC and Utah, among others. Latu’s suitors include Georgia, Nebraska, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington.
“Sacramento doesn’t always have guys who should be toward the top of all national recruiting rankings, but there has always been a lot of top prospects every year from Sacramento,” said Cal-Hi Sports editor Mark Tennis. “Joe Ngata is just as much of a top prospect, and maybe better, as Mater Dei’s Bru McCoy, who some are putting as the No. 1 prospect for the West Coast. Isaiah Rutherford also is about as elite as you can get as a cover-corner prospect. Joe and Isaiah have five-star possibilities.”
Sacramento has been a recruiting hotbed for decades. That especially holds true at running back: Herb Jackson of McClatchy in 1952 chose Cal over Notre Dame, Alan Henderson of Folsom in 1962 wound up at Oklahoma, Rod Connors of Cordova in 1973 landed at USC, Marc Hicks of Davis in 1984 went to Cal, Onterrio Smith of Grant in 1998 selected Tennessee.
In recent years, linemen Armond and Arik Armstead of Pleasant Grove went to USC and Oregon, respectively, and Jonah Williams of Folsom is an All-America tackle at Alabama.
There are scores of other area players preparing for their senior seasons who expect to receive scholarship offers starting this spring as good film, good grades and good conduct all matter.
A closer look at some prospects for the 2019 class:
Carson Jarratt, Del Oro – Mobile and good size at 6-3 and 200 pounds.
Matt Jenner, Oak Ridge – Big at 6-4, 210 with a strong arm and dazzled in the playoffs.
Tommy Turner, Lincoln – He’s 6-5, 190 with poise and quick release.
Alvin Banks, Cordova – Good hands, prolific and explosive.
Caleb Nelson, Folsom – Comes from a football family and has offers from San Jose State and Howard.
Paris Warren Jr., Grant – His father by same name was a late-bloomer recruit, too.
Blake Baughman, Placer – Growing by the day at 6-5, 240, Baughman has an offer from Nevada.
Evan Bennett, Capital Christian – Powerhouse tackle at 6-4, 285 with offers from Fresno State and San Diego State.
Joey Capra, Placer – At 6-5, 270, Capra aims to follow brothers Johnny at Utah and Jacob at Oregon with offer from Nevada.
Julien French, Casa Roble – Best lineman prospect for the Rams in years.
Tyler Hardeman, Folsom – Quick off the snap and a key stopper for a 16-0 team is sure to get notice.
Gage Kick, Oak Ridge – At 6-4, 230, Kick will have offers because he’s a superb longsnapper.
Kaden Richardson, Folsom – A thinker in the trenches, the son of coach Kris Richardson has excelled at center.
Zach Welch, Oak Ridge – Big, coachable, physical and finishes plays.
Levelle Bailey, Burbank – Multi-sport star is physical and quick.
Cade Brownholtz, Jesuit – Great genes as brothers Calvin and Cole are playing college QB.
Tatuo Martinson, Del Oro – Fast, physical and makes plays.
Tyler Green, Christian Brothers – Makes interceptions, makes plays at receiver and on special teams.
D’Marcus Ross, Capital Christian – Physical running back can close and hit in secondary.
Isaiah Ward, Inderkum – Fast, instinctive and also plays quarterback.
Jackson Canaan, Jesuit – Can run the ball, defend and has good grades.
Parker Clayton, Folsom – A receiver, a blocker and a defender with size.
Dawson Hurst, Del Oro – Plays both sides of the ball; brother Mason is at Cal Poly.
Zach Larrier, Monterey Trail – Dual-threat quarterback who plays defense has an offer from Fresno State.
Carter Krupp, Woodcreek – Plays quarterback, defense and special teams.
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