Hometown Report

Ex-Folsom football stars Browning, Williams to meet on big stage

Going from teammates and friends to opponents, two Folsom High School graduates will take the field at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Dec. 31 for the biggest football game of their lives.

Quarterback Jake Browning will lead Washington against defending national champion Alabama, which includes starting right tackle Jonah Williams, in the Peach Bowl in a College Football Playoff semifinal.

Both were pillars on perhaps the greatest prep team in regional history, the 2014 Folsom squad that went 16-0 behind Browning’s national-record 91 touchdown passes. His left tackle and blind-side protector was Williams, a five-star recruit deemed by area coaches as the top local lineman prospect they had ever seen.

Both started as freshmen in college, Browning in 2015 and Williams this season.

“What Jonah and Jake have done is incredible, and we’re just so proud of them,” Folsom coach Kris Richardson said. “I text Jonah and tease him after he grades out by his coaches for having a perfect grade after a game, which must be rare at that level. And Jake, what more can we say about him? Those two have worked so hard, and they’re pretty darn talented.”

All-time greats – In 2000, The Sacramento Bee listed the 100 greatest high school football players in regional history.

Unstoppable Roseville linebacker Tedy Bruschi (1990-91) was No. 1, followed by nationally recognized Cordova running back Kevin Willhite (1980-81) and tough Grant running back Onterrio Smith (1996-98).

If we were to update that list, we might put Browning and Williams in the top three. Browning is the most prolific high school football player ever in terms of total touchdowns passing and rushing, and Williams has no peers.

Hawk talk – Since being hired as UC Davis’ football coach last week, Dan Hawkins hasn’t announced any hires to his staff. But on his short list is Sam Young, the defensive coordinator at Modesto Junior College and a longtime friend and mentor.

Both coached at UCD under Jim Sochor in the early 1980s. The two met last week after Hawkins’ introductory news conference last Tuesday.

During his remarks, Hawkins stopped when he spotted Young in the audience, saying, “Get up here right now!” Hawkins added, “If I could find one guy in America that knew the most about football, it’s that guy. My man Sam Young, Singin’ Sammy.”

Vanderdoes to NFL – UCLA junior defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes (Placer) announced he will enter the NFL draft. He has labored through ankle and knee injuries, missing most of the 2015 season because of a torn ACL, but is an intriguing prospect.

Vanderdoes is projected to be chosen in the first three rounds, though strong predraft workouts can elevate a prospect’s stock. The 6-foot-3, 325-pound Vanderdoes this season had 29 tackles and 1.5 sacks while generally being double-teamed.

Arroyo draws interestMarcus Arroyo (Colfax) has been mentioned as a candidate for several college football coaching jobs. The Oklahoma State running backs coach reportedly is being considered for the offensive coordinator job at Fresno State. Arroyo and new Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford worked on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ staff in 2014, when Arroyo was the quarterbacks coach and Tedford the offensive coordinator. Arroyo also coached quarterbacks at Cal in 2012 under Tedford.

San Jose State and Nevada also reportedly have expressed interest in Arroyo for their head-coaching openings, though he has never been a head coach. Arroyo played quarterback at San Jose State from 1998 to 2002 and was an assistant coach there from 2005 to ’08. Arroyo’s wife, Kelly, swam for San Jose State.

Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD

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