So fast it’s absolutely necessary to get you the ball. But it was obvious you weren’t quite heavy enough to take the pounding of a running back. And so you were born: The High School Football Receiver. Some call you finesse. But it’s OK, receiver is a finesse position. Some call you play maker, and it’s true. When the team is down 10 in the fourth and needs something big to happen, who do they look to? When the game is tied and it’s 4th-and-8, they need you to come up with that pass over the middle. When it’s play action time, they need you to run by the corner who bit on the run. Ahh, but wait, you need a QB for any of us to see just how good you are. Then you need a coach who knows how to utilize you best. Are you the kind of guy who can’t beat anyone deep, but any jump ball is yours? Or, are you as good as gone with a little shake and some daylight? Or are you both? While I personally don’t condone any NFL team taking a receiver with a first round draft pick, I don’t completely discount the position either. It’s rare that you’ll see a championship football team at any level point to its receivers as the reason why they’re wearing the rings. Unless you’re the Detroit Lions, the position is kind of an afterthought. A football team needs a good QB. It needs a good offensive line. It needs a good running back. You got those things, and the QB has enough time to get the ball to the open receiever, who is only open because the defense concentrated on stopping the good running back first. And they say O-Line is a thankless position. Sheesh! Here we go …
1. Dorian Wells, South Hills – Who else, right? I stand by it, on any team, Wells is the best player in the SGV. Just so happens he plays receiver (mostly). Personally, I don’t think it’s a coincidence Wells ended up at South Hills. There’s probably no other place in the Valley that he’d be showcased better. Wells will be the No. 1 target for whomever is under center. The stats should follow, as should the wins. South Hills projects for a 14 game season and I’d expect Wells’ stats to benefit greatly from that. After this year, we’ll see Dorian on Saturdays.
2. Tommy Cogburn, South El Monte – If you’ve seen him play, you know that Cogburn could line up for just about anybody in SoCal. Talk about a nice blend of speed and hands. Mission Valley League coaches know that if Tommy has the ball in the open field, it’s curtains for their defense. Cogburn is another product of the SpeedKillz program and it should show. As good as the talent is in the MVL this year, it’s my belief that he’s your early favorite for league MVP. Cogburn had 1,195 yards receiving and 14 TDs last year. I’d expect some improvement on those already good numbers.
3. Mikey Harrell, Charter Oak – He caught the game winning TD in the final minute of CO’s win over Diamond Ranch last season. He caught CO’s only score in the championship game loss to El Dorado. Harrell made his bones last year as the No. 2 receiver behind standout Michael Johnson. This season, he’s the No.1 guy and gets the pleasure of having a fully developed Chris Allen to throw to him. Harrell might be the most fun to watch of any player on the list. They don’t come more elusive and he looks better physically after an off-season of maturity and working out.
4. Kyle Warren, Diamond Bar – Warren often gets lost in the fog of Diamond Bar’s overall struggles. But make no mistake, he’s got the frame and athletic ability to be called one of the top WRs in the area. I’m not sure how new coach John Martin is going to utilize him this year, but his 430 yards and 5 TDs in last year’s season from hell actually don’t seem so bad. I expect those numbers to imrpove along with the team. Warren is one of the top weapons around.
5. Dimitri De La Fuente, South Hills – Yes, the pitcher can play a little catch. DLF’s overall numbers may have taken a hit with Wells’ arrival, but there could be enough to go around this season. DLF goes from being the No. 1 target to a clear No. 2. But sometimes that means only big plays and he can certainly deliver those. South Hills’ WR depth goes very deep, but expect DLF to have some big moments.
6. Taylor Herrera, Damien – The more I think about this Damien team, the more the glass looks half full as opposed to half empty. Herrera can flat out fly. He’s got a great QB in Danny Pertusati to work with, too. Imagine this scenario: Pertusati gets flushed from the pocket, he makes a move to stay alive and sets up to go deep. There’s Herrera running all alone behind the secondary … TOUCHDOWN Damien! There should be a lot of that this year.
7. Kevin Jones, Northview – I’m Kevin Jones, don’t like you don’t know my name. Ain’t nothin’ changed … OK, sorry I couldn’t resist a “Back Then” Mike Jones reference. Anyway, we’ve discussed the skill position explosion taking place at NView and Jones is a big part of it. I like the Vikes passing game lots this year. QB Oscar Robles should love what he sees when he looks down field. It’s either Jones or Anthony Farmer. Ooooh, I like the upside of this team! It’s breakout time!
8. Darius Reese, Duarte – I’m going to place Reese on this list, but the truth is that he can and will do it everything for coach Wardell Crutchfield. Like Wells, Reese is the definition of an all-purpose player. Just like most of the names on this list, Reese + open field = points. An offensive Big Three of Austin Goldsmith, Chris Harris and Reese should have Duarte in store for another big season.
9. Tony Seanez, Los Altos – Little Tony Seanez … what can you say? The kid just gets it done. He won’t scare opposing secondaries, but they’ll have a hard time getting in position to make a good tackle on him. And therein lies Seanez’s biggest strength – he’s elusive. I’m not sure what to make of LA’s passing game yet, but Seanez is as sure handed as they come and he’ll deceive some DBs to the tune of embarrassment.
10. Anthony Farmer, Northview – Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Farmer have just as big of a season as Jones. There’s gonna be enough to go around at Northview as the offensive circus at District Field will now be conducted by the Vikes and not Covina.