We’re rolling out the content that will be in our Prep Xtra Football section on Aug. 26 bit by bit.
Earlier this week we unveiled the area’s top 10 prospects and soon we’ll give you a countdown of the top 10 teams.
Today it’s our Pre-Season All-Area team. If there is anything harder than picking one at the end of the season, it’s picking one BEFORE it starts. You have to go a lot on last year and what players are already known and there are always some that have breakouts years.
Here is the link to that.
Yes I had a hard time narrowing it down because there are so many great players from which to choose.
But here are 10 others I think are poised for great seasons. A couple guidelines – I didn’t want to pick more than one player from the school and I wanted to have representations from different geographic areas.
* QB Angel Matute, Rancho Cucamonga, Sr.
The Cougars boast a lot of Division I prospects and Matute, who will be starting for the third year, will be one of those. He’s 6-4 and mobile. Colleges love that. He threw for 2,000 yards last year and it wasn’t even a great one for the Cougars.
* RB Grady O’Donnell, Chino Hills, Sr.
He was kind of unknown going into last season but when Brysen Charbonier got hurt he took advantage of the opportunity and ran with it (pun intended). With the Huskies breaking in a new quarterback, he will be counted on heavily and have the opportunity to shine.
* RB Dylan Thigpen, Damien, Sr.
He’s already had two great season so it isn’t like he’s an unknown commodity. But he has a great lineman in front of him in Liam Ryan and the Spartans should be a little more competitive this season, their second in the Baseline. He should put him bug numbers, even more impressive given the competition.
* RB Duy Tran-Sampson, Claremont, Jr.
How do you put yourself on the nap? You rush for 1,525 yards as a sophomore. Like Thigpen, not unknown. But not in a program that has garnered a lot of attention recently. Didn’t want to include so many running backs here, but couldn’t leave him out.
* RB-CB Davion Gaisie, Diamond Ranch, Sr.
He very quietly rushed for more than 1,000 yards last year in a so-so season for the Panthers. It will be interesting to see what he does under a new coach in a new offense. He’ll also be a contributor on defense.
* WR-DB Leni Toailoa, Carter, Sr.
Everyone knows his more heralded brother Lokeni but Leni is a solid player in his own right. He committed to San Jose State but now has offers from higher profile programs including UCLA. We’ll see where he ends up.
* WR Chris Jackson, Pomona, Sr.
He was a great player last year but since he was at Garey, barely anyone noticed. (Ok I did because I did a story on him). But he’ll be in a higher profile program which graduated a ton of players so his contribution will be huge if the Red Devils are to repeat.
* OL Raymond Matelau, Upland, Sr.
Upland always has lineman and he is the most experienced one Coach Tim Salter has. With so many new starters he will be counted on heavily.
* LB Aidan Anderson, Etiwanda, Sr.
The Eagles have always had great players, especially on defense. They had a lot of them last year too so Anderson didn’t get a lot of recognition. This year that will change. Not only has he stepped it up performance-wise, new coach Kevin Davis also singles him out as a great team leader.
* MLB Cody Darrow, Ayala, Sr.
The Bulldog standout is drawling a lot interest right now from Big Sky type schools. But a good season will likely land him some higher profile offers. Ayala has a ton of players coming back and he’s one of those. Good things can be on the horizon for Darrow and his teammates.