Just how good is Arcadia’s Myles Carr?
Note: Obviously, a lot more will be learned over the summer about the guys on this list and how their teams will use them. And I will do another list after that. But for now, this is a pretty guideline as to who the top signal callers in the “area” are. As always, let me know where I’ve screwed up, if I’ve screwed up, point out some nuggets I may not have heard of, and I will pay extra-close attention to them this summer.
1. Nine, Sr., Bishop Amat — It’s hard to gauge just how good Nine was or wasn’t last season. To see him play in person, you’d be hard pressed to find a better combo of raw arm strength and athleticism. But in the biggest games of the year — Alemany and Tesoro — Nine threw for 384 yards with a 2-3 TD/INT ratio (both losses). The early part of the season is also difficult to read because Amat’s strength of sked wasn’t so hot. For as great as we’ve hyped him (and no, it’s not fair to do that to anyone), it was his first season under center, under the lights. That would be a learning experience for anybody and Nine is human after all. Last year’s 2,000 yards passing and 19-7 TD/INT ratio was a nice IPO. I just think when you combine Nine’s leadership skills with his athletic ability with a year of experience with a few games against big-time opponents under his belt, he has to get the nod atop this list.
2. Andrew Elfers, Jr., Maranatha — All Elfers did as a sophomore was lead the Mid-Valley Division in yards with 3,328 and a whopping 37 touchdowns. He is obviously the darling of many recruiters already eyeing the Class of 2013 and justifiably so. It’s reasonable to expect Elfers to be even better this year as some of their young skill players also got some valuable time under the lights last year. Not sure the Minutemen can stop the class teams of the division, but they’ll certainly be able to put up numbers of their own.
3. Travis Santiago, Sr., Charter Oak — Santiago was blessed with an amazing cast of receivers last year. He will have some good talent to throw to this season, but probably not to last year’s levels. Santiago braved injury and an entirely different class of competition than he saw as a sophomore, yet the numbers were quite strong — 2,418 yards and 21 TDs (good for No. 4 in the Inland Division). Maybe the numbers don’t get better without Thropay and Rufus to throw to, but is there any doubt that Santiago would be on any coach’s short list of QBs he’d like to build a team around.
4. Steven Rivera, Sr., Arroyo — Rivera is good enough to start and perform well on just about any team in the Valley. His numbers at Arroyo have been simply dazzling. He got hurt last year and missed time, but still threw for 1,963 yards and a savvy 21-4 TD/INT ratio. Rivera will have some new faces to work with this year, but I just don’t see many teams on Arroyo’s schedule that should keep him from flirting with a 2,000-yard/20-TD season. But a playoff win may be how everyone judges his success.
5. Billy Livingston, Sr., Covina — The experience gained in his sophomore season coupled with an offseason of being mentored by some pretty big names helped Livingston really take a big step forward as a junior. 2,838 yards and 25 TDs are nothing to sneeze at. With a veteran team around him this season, Livingston’s numbers could be even better and that’s scary. You could be looking at the Mid-Valley Division MVP if the numbers and postseason wins are there.
6. Henry Omana, Sr., Diamond Bar — Omana has the tools and college recruiters are taking notice. He also has the weapons in WR Katrib and RB Clayton to put up some major numbers. Not only that, the rest of the league and division seem to line up nicely as several teams won’t be as good as last year whereas D-Bar should be as good or better. Omana has the raw tools to come away with a scholarship, but does he have what it takes to get D-Bar back in the postseason?
7. Jared Leibowitz, Jr., St. Francis — The Vermont transfer is 6-3, nearly 200 lbs. and going to be junior. He gets to work with St. Francis coach Jim Bonds, who knows a thing or two about grooming top-notch QBs. Leibowitz threw for five TDs in a game last fall while in Vermont. The more I think about it … he’s got the frame, he’s got the arm strength, he’s got Bonds and he’s got Travis Talianko to throw to. He’s got to move up on this list, no? I will see him in two weeks and let you know.
8. Kevon Seymour, Sr., Muir — Seymour’s offers from Florida, USC, et al aren’t to play QB. He’ll be a DB or WR in college. But as for his senior season, he’s involved in a serious three-way battle to be Muir’s QB this season. Seymour got ample time under center last year when starter Jeff Davis was hurt. Even if he doesn’t win the job, which is something I can’t see happening, Muir coach Ken Howard said Seymour will be at QB 30 percent of the time. Again, that’s if he doesn’t out and out win the job. He’ll win it. I firmly believe it and you’ll see one of the best all-purpose QBs around. I’ll get my first look at just how things are going in a couple of weeks.
9. Myles Carr, Sr., Arcadia — You know what stands out to me about Carr’s junior season? 26 TDs and only 4 picks. Very nice ratio. Carr has some outstanding skill talent to work with this season, led by the heavily recruited Taylor Lagace. I can’t remember Arcadia having this much skill talent. Anyway, Carr looks like a good bet to improve on last year’s numbers and now you might be seeing why I like this team as much as I do in the Top 25.
10. Vince Hernandez, Sr., South Hills — Hernandez has a legit gripe in that his top target — Jaime Canada — hasn’t been there for him due to injury. With Canada, Hernandez’s numbers should shoot up. Hernandez also has RB Jamel Hart to take the pressure off. South Hills lost a lot along the O-line this year, so that might be a concern because protection will be key in the Sierra League. Hernandez has the natural skills to put up a solid season if all the offense’s working parts are healthy.
THOUGHTS AND SLEEPERS: What struck me in doing my research is that there’s a lot of questions at QB in the Whittier area. Last year there were guys like Clements and Cantu, but this year it seems to be quite a bit down. I have heard that Cantwell got a transfer from St. John Bosco, a junior-to-be named Walsh (first name?) and coaches think he’ll be special. Also, I can’t get a read on St. Paul’s Paul Telles. Can somebody tell me if they think he truly belongs on this list. Give me some stats and whatnot. There are some guys with strong numbers from last season who didn’t make the list like El Monte’s Manuel Santa Cruz. He could get some consideration later this summer once I see how everything goes. Same with San Gabriel’s Andy Guerrero. Chino Hills has a strong candidate in Andrew Chavez, who was solid as a junior but lost a lot from his supporting cast. Monrovia’s George Frazier is lacking experience, but could join the list later on. Again, I’m not trying to be a genius here. I’m doing this off what I saw last year and what I’ve heard so far this year. So if I’ve missed someone glaring, PLEASE TELL ME. I just want to have it all right going into all the passing games I’m going to be seeing.