After mentioning previously that several standout quarterbacks have graduated and that the Valley isn’t as deep at the QB position than in years past, the opposite is true at wideout, where several top notch players like South Hills’ Ify Umodo and Glendora’s Aaron Stockham are not on our top five. You can make an easy argument that they should be, but the point is the wideout position is deep, they just need consistent QB’s to get them the ball.
Above: Glendora’s Wallace Gonzales
Area’s top five returning receivers
1. Wallace Gonzales, Glendora, Jr
Division one scouts are drooling over his 6-foot-5 frame, speed and athletic ability. He may wind up earning a baseball scholarship first, but he’s set to have a big season behind quarterback Chad Jeffries, and alongside Aaron Stockhom, a returning All-Sierra League first-team receiver like Gonzales. As a sophomore, Gonzales led the area by hauling in 64 receptions for 1018 yards and five touchdowns. He averaged 84 yards a game.
2. Darien Johnson, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Will be the most influential on defense where he is expected to be a lockdown corner going against the Southland’s best receivers, but will also have a huge impact at receiver. Johnson is not only a deep threat, but a superb (RAC) run-after-catch receiver with superior speed and athletic ability. He reminds me of Desmond Reed, a two-time Star-News player of the year for Temple City who could do it all, and was asked to do it all. The big difference obviously is that Johnson has to do it in the Serra League, not the Rio Hondo.
3. Dennis Rufus, Charter Oak, Jr.
After graduating Kiely Rycraw and Eric Rogers, Rufus becomes the lead receiver on the defending champions after hauling in 17 receptions for 294 yards and three touchdowns. As a sophomore he was more of a lockdown defensive back, and his future at the next level might be in the secondary, but he will prove to be an explosive receiver if the summer passing league was any indication.
4. Geoffrey Vaughns, South Hills, Sr.
Won’t have the luxury of standout quarterback Cameron Deen, but he returns as the Huskies’ leading receiver with 47 receptions for 667 yards and seven touchdowns. Was very impressive during passing league competitions, and also provides the Huskies with a lockdown defender in the secondray. Along with Ify Umodo, this gives the Huskies two of the best in the Valley. Now all they need is a quarterback.
5. Chris Rodriguez, Arroyo, Sr.
He led the Knights in receiving with 12 receptions for 335 yards, and is expected to play a huge roll on a pass-happy Knights squad under sophomore quarterback Steven Rivera, who started on varsity as a freshman. Rodriguez was exceptional in summer passing league’s against stiff competition, and the Knights could be a sleeper than contends for the Mid Valley Division title. Might not be a popular choice since there are other WR’s with better potential at next level, but he will finish among the area’s best in receptions and yards, mark that down.