Compiling a list of top players in any sport at any level is purely subjective, but not complete guess work.
So here we are, gluttons for punishment in our effort to unveil The Sacramento Bee’s first Top 50 list. Just as well strap me to a blocking sled and unleash the overlooked for additional grief, right?
We’re confident in our top players, but, really, who’s to say that No. 12 on this list is any better than No. 27? Or 44? Or 50?
Not all of these players will land scholarships as fewer than 2 percent of high school athletes in the U.S. receive rides. Size, skills, grades, effort, character and film that pops land players on the recruiting radar.
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There are tens of thousands of prep players competing and scrambling for hundreds of scholarships, so the math never adds up favorably. When he heard we were compiling a list, Sheldon assistant coach Dale Ellingsworth smiled and said, “You mean Folsom and then everyone else?” Something like that.
The Top 50 was compiled based on college recruiting projections, past performances, input from area coaches, media and scouts, as well as personal observations.
In this installment, we break down Nos. 26-50 of the top high school football players entering the 2018 season:
26. Carter Sullivan, Antelope, OLB/TE, 6-3, 225
He can catch touchdowns as a tight end and make stops, including five sacks, for a 10-2 team that plays Folsom early.
27. Gage King, Oak Ridge, TE, 6-4, 240
Lesson to all who want scholarship rides: Learn to long snap. It’s done wonders for King, also a fine tight end.
28. Dean Rice, River Valley, OT, 6-4, 280
A fast-rising program includes a fast-rising prospect with offers from Fresno State, among others.
29. Paris Warren Jr., Grant, WR/TE, 6-2, 210
His father by the same name was a national recruit in 2001 and played in the NFL and says the son can be better. Son loves the pressure.
30. Brandon Knott, Inderkum, DT, 6-2, 255
More offers are expected once the season starts to roll as there’s always a need for active stoppers.
31. Jackson Canaan, Jesuit, OLB, 6-3, 220
An aggressive tackler and a defensive leader, Canaan has Mountain West offers, including San Jose State. Can also run the ball.
32. Tyler Hardeman, Folsom, DT, 6-3, 265
It’s not just the O-Line that gets the job done with this program. The pass rushers make plays, too.
33. DeShawn Lynch, Folsom, DL/OL, 6-4, 270
The sight of Lynch charging downfield on special teams to upend foes had people wondering how good he can be.
34. Isaiah Ward, Inderkum, RB/LB, 6-1, 205
The program’s next versatile leader, Ward has Big Sky Conference interest for his ability to run and tackle.
35. Kaden Richardson, Folsom, C, 6-1, 255
The kid brother of Kooper (set to be a starting tackle at UC Davis), Kaden has come into his own as an excellent student and leader of the line.
36. Calder Kunde, Bear River, WR/DB, 6-3, 195
Dazzled in playoffs last year with runs and defensive plays and is among program’s greatest talents.
37. Cade Wyant, Rocklin, QB, 6-1, 190
Fast becoming the best QB at the dinner table as father Drew was a Sacramento State leader in the 1980s.
38. Tyler Green, Christian Brothers, DB/WR, 5-11, 180
Burst onto the scene as a sophomore with 12 interceptions in helping the Falcons to their best era since 1980s.
39. Tommy Turner, Lincoln, QB, 6-4, 190
A pro-style drop-back passer in an era of the spread, TT has the size and skills to spark recruiting interest.
40. Parker Clayton, Folsom, WR/DB, 6-1, 185
A superb student and a versatile player on a team full of them, Clayton helped turn games in 2017 with catches and stops.
41. Joe Wagner, Folsom, 6-4, OL, 265
A lineman leader as the motto has been, “keep the quarterback upright,” Wagner has an offer from Sacramento State.
42. Carson Jarratt, Del Oro, QB, 6-3, 200
A big senior season will do wonders for Jarratt and Del Oro, as recruiters remind that film does not lie.
43. Carter Krupp, Woodcreek, QB/DB, 6-1, 185
A one-man army with Swiss Army Knife skills, Krupp rarely leaves the field. An all-time program great.
44. Will Buck, Capital Christian, DL, 6-0, 240
Prime example where rankings don’t do this man justice. He’s a stopper with good grades and character.
45. Marshall Chapman, Placer, RB/DB, 5-11, 175
A key player for a team that reached a CIF state final, Chapman’s versatility will get him on the recruiting radar.
46. Levi Markey, Del Campo, 5-11, RB, 210
The program’s next grinder of a back is a reminder that there’s always room in college for a guy of his size and drive.
47. Dawson Fay, Nevada Union, RB/LB, 6-1, 185
Plays hard and inspired, including competing for two beloved teammates who died in a spring car crash.
48. Elijah King, Cosumnes Oaks, WR/DB, 5-11, 170
One of the team’s top leaders is also a top student as Ivy League and Big Sky Conference schools have expressed interest.
49. Tyson Ybarra, Rio Linda, QB/DB, 6-0, 175
Won games with his playmaking skills, leadership and with stops in the secondary. Never mind the size – heart.
50. Cameron Skattebo, Rio Linda, RB/LB, 5-10, 205
Powerhouse runners and tacklers like this often find a college home.