Post-Passing Circuit All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 10 Wide Receivers … CAST YOUR VOTE! …

Just get Bonita’s Garrett Horine the ball and he’ll take care of the rest

NOTE: Like QB, there is no better position to get a read on a player during summer passing games than receiver. Now, the trouble with this is that some receivers will look much better than what they really are because of the nature of a passing game. There’s no rush on the QB, who can usually get off a pretty nice pass, and it’s probably easier to get open sans pads. Anyway, you could still see who has nice hands, runs good routes and has good speed. Lastly, let me add, WR is a position where there could SEVERAL sleepers this season.

1. Taylor Lagace, Arcadia — Lagace moves into the top spot after an excellent summer that saw him flash the strengths that led him to a scholarship to play in 2012 at Washington. Lagace has become the top beneficiary of QB Myles Carr taking yet another step forward. The Apaches had some great showings this summer and probably tipped their hand about what a great offense awaits fans this fall. Lagace does it all; speed, hands, smart route runner. He deserves the top spot in an area loaded with excellent wideouts.

2. Travis Talianko, St. Francis
— Talianko just picked up an offer from San Jose St. and more figure to come. What I like about Talianko is that he is probably the most physical receiver around. Throw in good speed and very good hands, and you’ve got a nice package. The Knights had some nice showings this summer, so QB Jared Leibowitz is probably a good bet to have a nice year, which means Talianko should as well.

3. Chris Gilchrist, Charter Oak — Consistency is all that’s needed from Gilchrist to move him even further up the list. At 6-foot-5, he simply laughed at defenders, literally laughed, on some plays this summer. Gilchrist probably has the best all-around package of skills in the area and has a QB like Travis Santiago to ensure he gets the ball. If he dominates play in and play out, a monster season is forthcoming.

4. Brett Bartolone, La Habra — Bartolone was No. 1 on the previous list, and the main reasons he got there have not changed. He’s extremely fluid, has excellent speed and is very reliable to catch even the most difficult balls. The reason he drops is because the Highlanders will shift him to running back in a lot of sets because of all the talent they have at WR (could be best group in school history). And the QB situation at La Habra still needs to work itself out. If you put Bartolone out wide with a D-1 kid throwing him the ball, he may be one of the top 10 targets in the Southland. But given that he’ll wear a couple different hats this year, he drops on this list a tad. The offer from Air Force is still there and one from BYU is apparently forthcoming.

5. Vinny Venegas, Covina
— Venegas is a very proven product. He can take over games once the ball gets in his hands. He doesn’t have the size of some of the others on the list, but can do everything they can do. Venegas had a strong summer. Most reports said he was right at home with all the other athletes on the field when Covina visited Charter Oak this summer. Having QB Billy Livingston delivering him the ball ensures another big year from Venegas is coming.

6. Kevon Seymour, Muir — It’s hard to get a firm read on what exactly Seymour will be doing on offense this fall. In the passing games I saw, he was not at QB. But he will surely get into wildcat formations like last year. He was mostly used at WR, but I have to think he’ll see some time at RB. But most of Seymour’s time will be spent at WR when the pads come on and that should mean big things IF Muir’s QB can get him the ball. Seymour is far and away the best DB in the entire area, with offers from Florida and USC. Hopefully, he gets the chance to shine on offense, too.

7. George Katrib, Diamond Bar
— Katrib, like the entire Brahmas offense, had a monster summer. He remains the sure target of QB Henry Omana. The emergence of fellow wideout Dante Harris, at least in passing league, eliminated some of the attention that’s usually focused on Katrib. With Omana looking like a major force this year, Katrib’s numbers will only benefit.

8. Adam Aguirre, Cantwell — I didn’t get a chance to see Cantwell this summer, so there’s not much new to report here. I will just reiterate that last season Aguirre averaged a sparkling 19.6 yards per catch. With Cantwell expected to be even better in the pass game and the focus of the offense shifting more that way a bit, Aguirre is ready for another big year.

9. Garrett Horine, Bonita — Man, if Bonita finds a QB, Horine is set to do something special. His size really stands out and he’s about as savvy as they come when it comes to getting the edge on DBs. Horine is the total package and should take the load off Tanner Diebold in pressure situations.

10. Andrew Fischer, Diamond Ranch — I saw Fischer go against Charter Oak and Muir, and he was right at home with all the athletes on the field. Fischer has some of the best deep speed I saw this summer and hands to match. D-Ranch needs QB Isiah Locke to play this fall how he did this summer. If he does, Fischer is sure to benefit.

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Arroyo coach Jim Singiser puts it best: “All summer passing tells us is who should be starting the first day of pads. And that can change by lunch that first day.”

It’s sophomore QB Adan Guillen’s turn to run the show at Rosemead

The Mission Valley League kicks off my league predictions from top to bottom. Tell me where I went wrong (or right) by casting your vote.

1. Arroyo — Best overall player in the league = league championship. That’s how it’s been the past two years and that’s how it will be this year. QB/S Steven Rivera is the league’s best offensive and defensive player. He allows Arroyo to do something that no other MVL team can do — pass the ball effectively. The Knights three-peat … but then ….?????
Predicted record: 9-1 overall, 5-0 in league
Playoffs: Yes. Top-four seed in Mid-Valley.

2. Rosemead — The Panthers have plenty of experience back on defense and they weren’t exactly embarrassed on that side of the ball when they lost to Arroyo last year. But until a running back and quarterback are established, this is a team playing with arm tied behind its back. The defense will be counted on too heavily to win the tougher games on the schedule. The offense should be finally hitting its stride by the end of the season, but it cannot be anywhere near as good as ’10 when an experience Matt Macias was running the show and Matt Fregoso was running wild.
Predicted record: 6-4 overall, 4-1 in league.
Playoffs: Yes.

3. El Monte — The Lions have a major factor to replace in Mike Jimenez, who came out of nowhere to rush for 1,800 yards. Can the Lions find another surprise like that? Got me. The QB situation has seen last year’s starter Manuel Santa Cruz supplanted by Brandon Martinez, but now Santa Cruz gives the Lions another weapon elsewhere. The receivers led by Memo Silva are solid. Can El Monte stop anyone? That’s the issue. Arroyo may be too tall of an order, but they certainly showed they can score on Rosemead last year. So now they need to stop the Panthers. Do that in the league opener and this could be a playoff team, which is still might be if CIF is kind.
Predicted record: 5-5 overall, 3-2 in league.
Playoffs: No.

4. Gabrielino
— Typically, teams that don’t post rosters on Maxpreps for two straight years are bad bets to have winning seasons. That’s what you’ve got going on at Gabrielino, where the Eags have gone 7-13 the past two years. This once-certain MVL contender has floundered in recent years, but there’s talk that a Perini-led run attack could lead to an improved situation. In any event, The Fightin Tongva had better shore up a defense that allowed 30 points per game in league last year. Numbers like that don’t fly when you score only 13 a game.
Predicted record: 4-6 overall, 2-3 in league.
Playoffs: No.

5. South El Monte
— I like what new coach Ibis Aguilar is doing. He enlisted the help of longtime Bonita DC Ray Medina to come up with a better scheme for his team. That should help. He also switched to a spread on offense, which while I don’t understand how, helps teams that can’t play smashmouth. Aguilar is getting more kids on campus involved, which should also help. But when all your losses the season prior come by 14 points or more, you have to wonder just how far the gap can be closed in less than a year.
Predicted record: 1-9 overall, 1-4 in league.
Playoffs: No.

6. Mountain View — Year 2 of Jimmy Wilson’s Wing T may not go as well as some are expecting. Now that the rest of the league has had a chance to see it and has ample films on it, the Vikes may not be such a gimmick this season. Plus, there’s a lot to replace in terms of skill guys. RBs like Jossymar Ullloa don’t fall off trees at places like Mountain View, so replacing him will be tough. Plus, a new QB will be running the show. The change in tactics have breathed life into the program after going 5-5 last season, but I see a big step back this year before another step forward.
Predicted record: 2-8 overall, 0-5 in league.
Playoffs: No.

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Post-Passing Circuit All-Encompassing SGV(N) Top 10 running backs … CAST YOUR VOTE!

Moore of Jalen running wild is something to expect this fall

NOTE: It’s hard to do much more than gauge physical appearance, speed, quicks and ability to catch from the running backs during the passing circuit. Running backs are just kinda out there during passing games … and most of them get more action on defense rather than offense. So, there aren’t too many changes, maybe just some shuffling around, to this Top 10.

1. Chris Solomon, West Covina
— After being named Tribune Player of the Year, Solomon vowed he would use the offseason to get even better by working hard in the weight room and other various forms of training. Well, it’s obvious he’s done just that. He’s bulked up, stayed fast and took home MVP honors at Nike Camp up north. During passing games, though, he became the favorite target of West Covina QBs, who loved throwing to him … but only for about 5 yards. See why I’m worried about WestCo’s pass game? Anyway, Solomon looked on great on defense, too. What separates him from the rest, for me, is that he’s the truest home run hitter we have in the Valley at running back.

2. Jalen Moore, Bishop Amat
— Talk about offseason strides in terms of physique. Can’t say it enough, Moore has become a specimen. Good thing, too. Amat is gonna rely on him more than ever with the QB situation in question for a few games. Moore can do it all and looks ready for another huge year. The D-1 offers have to be forthcoming.

3. De’Shawn Ramirez, Monrovia — Disclaimer: I’m not a De’Shawn Ramirez homer. I love all my backs equally. I’ve only met the kid once. This guy may be the surest bet in the ENTIRE Valley to put up a monster season. Any doubts about whether Ramirez will transfer his sophomore year form + his physical maturation in that time to his senior year were somewhat quelled when he dominated at the Ultimate 100 combine this summer and was named MVP of the event. Ramirez scored 10 of his 7-on-7 team’s 11 touchdowns at the event. Scary.

4. Jamel Hart, South Hills — I won’t lie to to you, when Hart came in to the office to take his preview issue shot, our collective jaws dropped. Yet another local back who has made great strides, Robledo wanted to put him on the postseason All-Area team right then and there. Yes, I said postseason. I like what I saw of Hart in passing games. He’s a legit threat to catch balls and can make things happen when he does. Hopefully, South Hills’ rebuilt o-line can be adequate enough to give him holes.

5. Tairen Owens, Muir — It was kind of rough to see the Washington-bound Owens at some passing games this summer, because you don’t really get to see what he can … while the Muir pass attack languishes. Anyway, Muir’s inconsistency in the passing game this summer can actually be looked at as a good thing for Owens, who will surely see even more carries until the pass attack sorts itself out. This kid has exceptional speed and was clearly one of the best athletes on the field the two times I saw him this summer.

6. Michael Ortega, St. Paul
— Ortega was slowed a bit by a hamstring pull this summer, but he’ll be more than ready to go when camp opens for the Swordsmen in a few weeks. St. Paul isn’t much for the passing circuit, because the run is their thing. But coaches say Ortega has gotten even quicker in the offseason and should put on another show (1,100 yards last year) once the games begin.

7. Corey Victoria, Glendora
— I really liked what I saw of Victoria this summer. He’s a firebrand, literally. Glendora needs more kids like that to survive in the Baseline. And if you don’t know what I’m referring to, then ask around … and yes, Aram KNOWS EVERYTHING. Anyway, Victoria showed a propensity to catch the deep ball this summer, which is nice, but means little because he’s not gonna be in many routes 40 yards down field, but it’s nice to know he’s got that kinda range. Physique-wise, he took another step forward as kids will often do. He and Jalen remain the best short-yardage guys in the area.

8. Kurt Scoby, Charter Oak — Well, we now know Scoby can catch the rock out of the backfield, too. But despite that, Scoby’s physique was the talk of summer and has to be the root of Chino Hills coach Derek Bub’s P90X comment. But what do you expect from a kid between his frosh and soph seasons? Anyway, Scoby put on display improved speed compared to last year and looks poised to at least double last year’s numbers.

9. Tony Botello, Pioneer
— From what I hear, Pioneer has passed the eye test this summer. Botello is part of that, although he’s tiny. Nearly 1,200 yards when everybody knows you’re getting the ball is no east feat. I like this team as a mild surprise this year and Botello is a major reason why.

10. O.J. Medina, La Serna — With the show all his and everybody knowing who to focus on, Medina’s got some pressure on himself this year. I still like La Serna to be able to pound the rock and they’ve got the right back to roll up yards. The Del Rio rushing title race between Botello and Medina should be something to see … that’s assuming nobody else joins the fray.

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