1. Michael Ortega, St. Paul, Sr., 5-11, 176 — Ortega sets the tone, combing speed and power. He’s the key to the Swordsmen’s success this season after rushing for 1,196 yards and seven touchdowns in 2010. He also averaged an impressive 8.5 yards per attempt.
2. Tony Botello, Pioneer, Sr., 5-5, 155 — The Titans struggled in the Del Rio League, but it wasn’t because of Botello, who enjoyed a banner season, rushing for 1,189 yards and 12 scores. He will need another type year if Pioneer is to improve on its 5-5 overall record. Most believe he can.
3. Grant Escobar, Whittier Christian, Sr., 5-10, 165 — Escobar is one of the few holdovers from the Herald’s run to the Mid-Valley title game. He was a machine last season, rushing for 1,084 yards and 16 TDs. He’s one of the more versatile backs in the area, also taking time to catch 38 passes for 401 yards and two scores.
4. O.J. Medina, La Serna, Sr., 5-8, 170 —Medina saw limited action behind Richard Alvarez last season, but now it’s his turn and has the ability to be the go-to-guy after rushing for 765 yards and eight TDs. He also pulled eight yards a run in 2010.
5. Ronell Lone, El Rancho, Sr., 5-9, 172 — There is plenty of plus-side for Lone, who averaged more than 7 yards a carry last season, finishing 613 yards. He’s a key to El Rancho challenging in the Del Rio League.