Joe Davidson

Folsom High School football trio ready for next challenge

Folsom quarterback Jake Jeffrey, talks with Jonah Williams, right and Kooper Richardson, left, during practice at Folsom High School on Sept. 21, 2015.
Folsom quarterback Jake Jeffrey, talks with Jonah Williams, right and Kooper Richardson, left, during practice at Folsom High School on Sept. 21, 2015.

The bookend tackles will play at the next level on different sides of the country, and the quarterback they protected last fall will also be in a college football summer camp.

Folsom High School’s football team continues to make news into the winter months. In December, prep All-America left tackle Jonah Williams enrolled early at Alabama. He will participate in spring drills for the defending national champions.

Folsom right tackle Kooper Richardson signed with UC Davis on Wednesday, and Bee Offensive Player of the Year Jake Jeffrey signed with one of the Aggies’ rivals – Cal Poly.

The trio represents the full gamut of potential and odds.

There was the blue chip, can’t miss prospect in 6-foot-5, 305-pound Williams, deemed by longtime area coaches as the most dominant, college-ready lineman they have seen from this region. Then there was the late bloomer in 6-5, 310-pound Richardson, who a year ago struggled to do lateral moves in practice without losing a cleat or his balance, or both. He worked himself into a formidable player, earning Bee All-Metro honors as a senior.

And there was Jeffrey, the 6-foot, classic overachiever, perceived by recruiters as skilled but too small to handle the rigors of the college game. What the three Bulldogs had in common was a strong will to succeed as athletes and scholars. No grades, no chance. No drive, no chance.

“I’m so proud of all of our guys,” Jeffrey said Friday, still sounding like the Bulldogs team leader. “I know how good Jonah is. Amazing, dominant, ferocious. Goodness, he’s everything. I saw how hard Koop worked to get in this position. And I worked nonstop to get a chance, and it’s paid off. Anytime there’s competition in life – to do anything – it brings out the best in you. It did for us.”

Williams is the first Sacramento-area football player to land at Alabama, though others have been offered scholarships by the Tide. Richardson is the latest of many local prospects to choose UCD.

Jeffrey is the third Folsom star quarterback to attend Cal Poly, following Bee 2010 Player of the Year Dano Graves and Bee 2011 Offensive Player of the Year Tanner Trosin – who left San Luis Obispo to play at American River College and is now at Southern Oregon.

Graves will be a senior this fall, and here comes Jeffrey, ready to give the veteran a run for his money. Graves and Jeffrey will compete with sophomore Khaleel Jenkins for the starting job.

“I’m ready, I’m excited, and I’m never afraid for a challenge,” Jeffrey said with a laugh.

Jeffrey passed for 4,194 yards and 50 touchdowns for the 14-1 Bulldogs in 2015. He caught 14 touchdowns as a receiver in 2014 while also starting in the secondary. Translation: Jeffrey will be given every opportunity to compete for a job anywhere on the field.

“Jeffrey is extremely athletic and will get the opportunity to play a lot of positions,” Cal Poly coach Tim Walsh said in a prepared statement. “As good as he is at quarterback, he has the skill set to play other positions as well. We’re getting a guy you want in your program, and he wins.”

Folsom running back Tre Green signed with Cal Poly on national signing day. Former Folsom wide receiver Carson McMurtrey, is currently playing at Cal Poly. Center Stephen Sippel and linebacker Burton De Koning, both former Bulldogs, completed their college careers at Cal Poly in 2015.

Coaching bonanza – The 36th Max Miller Clinic of Champions, a collection of high school and college coaches from across the country, is Feb. 26-27 in Reno.

Guest speakers scheduled to attend include Cal coach Sonny Dykes, Nevada coach Brian Polian, Walsh of Cal Poly, Sacramento State assistants Fred Kelley and Bill Laveroni, and those from Michigan State, Portland State and other programs.

North Dakota State defensive-line coach Jamar Cain, a Valley and Sacramento City College alum, will speak about how a Football Championship Subdivision school can recruit and win, the Bison having won the past five FCS titles.

Area coaches speaking include Casey Taylor of Del Oro, whose team won the 2015 CIF State Division II-AA title, Oak Ridge offensive coordinator Mark Watson and Scott Brownholtz, co-founder of the Jesuit Junior Marauders feeder program.

Miller, the founder of the clinic, said 425 coaches attended his first event. More than 1,400 are expected this year.

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