Video/Looking Ahead to 2018: Sophomores Who Impacted 2017 & Will Continue to Grow

Filed in Uncategorized by on January 14, 2018

Black Hat Football started looking ahead to the 2018 football season about 5 minutes after we finished announcing our 2017 Starbucks/Black Hat Football All-209 Team. As we say goodbye to those seniors that made 2017 so much fun, let’s remind you of 17 impact sophomores who will return for 2018.

If you think we missed someone (had to be play varsity in 2017) Tweet us @BlackHatFootbal:

** QB Logan Fife, Tracy Bulldogs: The 6-foot, 175-pounder completed 55 percent of his throws (102 of 184) and averaged 17.5 yards per completion, with 17 TDs and 6 INTs. He also can run (455 yards, 5 TDs), not surprising considering he’s a heck of a baseball player, as well. What’s he capable of? How about 8 of 13 for 207 yards and 4 TDs in a 51-30 rout of Buhach Colony, a Division 2 playoff team. Fife was fourth among California sophomores for passing yardage.

** QB Davis Reya-Ruiz, Edison Vikings: The 6-foot, 170-pounder led Section sophomores with 2,548 passing yards and 28 TDs, and he was 10th in the state in passing and 9th in TD passes for call California sophomores. He also plays in a scheme that encourages crazy offensive numbers, In the 58-22 playoff loss to St. Mary’s, Reya-Ruiz completed 26 of 42 throws for 276 yards and 3 TDs – and the sophomore finished the season strong by completing 83 of 131 throws for 1,192 yards with 9 TDs and just one INT.

** QB Dalton Durosette, Ceres Bulldogs: Was fifth among Section sophomores with 1,672 yards, though his risk/reward ratio (7 INTs vs. 15 TDs) needs to be improved greatly – that number’s a bit artificial, because Durosette was staring at 7 INTs vs. 10 TDs before throwing 5 scoring passes in the season finale loss to rival Central Valley. A 55 percent completion percentage is too low for a QB averaging less than 13 yards per completion – needs to be above 60%. The  6-foot-3, 215-pounder also plays baseball, and has the best ‘pocket passer’ stature of these sophomore QBs.

** RB Javyn Drobnick, Big Valley Christian Lions: He led the Section’s sophomores with 1,608 yards and 20 TDs (in 9 games). The 5-foot-7, 165-pounder averaged 9.1 yards per carry while playing a schedule against some of the state’s smallest football-playing schools, so he remains a mystery to most everyone in The 209. He’ll remain a mystery unless the Lions schedule a TVL-caliber foe, so give us a look at Drobnick running against Division 4/5 competition.

** RB Charles Jackson, Atwater Falcons: He’s the top-ranked sophomore RB in The 209, having run for 951 yards and 10 TDs while playing in the rugged Central California Conference. His game-to-game stats were erratic, more of a reflection of the Falcons’ struggles than Jackson’s skills. He had 12 carries for 126 yards and a TD in 14-13 win over Golden Valley and had TD runs of 81, 79 and 72 yards as a sophomore. He was an all-or-nothing RB this past fall, and next year needs to become more consistent on each carry — and his line will need to play a key role in that.

** RB Trabron Russell, Manteca Buffaloes: The 5-foot-9, 160-pounder was the top RB for a team that stunned Oakdale for the Section Division 3 title, rushing for 825 yards and a whopping 16 TDs. His biggest games came against the weakest defenses, so in 2018 he’ll need to show he can produce 100-yard games vs. the likes of Oakdale, Tracy and Central Catholic. The good news? Manteca will be loaded in 2018 with a dynamic sophomore class arriving.

** RB Kaden Christensen, Escalon Cougars: The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder is more of a hybrid than an RB, having run for 616 yards and catching 3 TD passes. He had 1,382 yards offense and 12 TDs, including a 91-yard kickoff return for a TD and a 50-yard punt return. He should average 15 touches a game in 2018, which could deliver a league title to Escalon under first-year coach … We’re all assuming the coach will be Andrew Beam, correct?!?!

** WR Jacob DeJesus, Manteca Buffaloes: The 5-foot-7. 150-pounder was second among all Section sophomores with 711 yards receiving, was first with 57 catches and was third with 6 TDs. With the graduation of QB Gino Campiotti – the 2017 Starbucks/Black Hat Football Player of the Year – it will be difficult for DeJesus to have as great an impact in 2018. While he won’t catch 57 passes, his yards-per-catch (12.5) should increase by 4 or 5 yards a reception.

** WR Darian Ioane Pollard, Lincoln Trojans: The 6-foot, 190-pounder caught passes in 7 games, finishing with 39 catches for 538 yards (13.8-yard average) and 6 TDs. He had 7 catches for 92 yards in a 28-27 loss to Tracy. and he will be running routes alongside junior Merle Bass – was was on the 2017 Starbucks/Black Hat Football All-209 Team.

** DB Youlas Dickson III, Buhach Colony Thunder: The 5-foot-9, 160-pounder led the Section’s sophomores with 4 INTs in 2017 (29 solo tackles), while averaging 9.4 yards a carry as an RB and helping BC to the playoffs. He also defended 9 passes.

** DB Nick Cummins, Downey Knights: When you play DB for the Knights, there are always opportunities to snag errant throws as foes attack the secondary. He had 3 INTs, as well as 6.5 sacks. Be interesting to see how he develops in the offseason, considering Downey’s need to rebuild its defense for the 2018 season after giving up 30 points a game.

** LB Jabari Pharms, Stagg Delta Kings: The 5-foot-8, 150-pound would be too small to play LB in some conferences, where the physical demands would be too much, but he’s an ideal fit for the aggressive defense Stagg is forced to play against pass-happy teams in Stockton. He got in on 95 tackles, including 14 in a win over SJAA runner-up McNair. He also defended 4 passes and recovered 2 fumbles – and everyone loves a guy who gets turnovers.

** OL/DL Logan Foumai, Patterson Tigers: The 6-foot-1. 275-pounder was a first-team all-Western Athletic Conference selection on both sides of the line, tearing it up as much on offense as did on defense.

** LB Adrian Atangan, Los Banos Tigers: The 6-foot, 195-pounder joined the varsity just in time for WAC play and finished with 52 tackles and was selected to the All-WAC First Team defense.

** LB Luke Milan, Tokay Tigers: The 5-foot-6, 180-pounder was in on 82 tackles and also recovered 3 fumbles. He also ran for 275 yards and 3 TDs, and figures in the Tigers’ plans on both side of the ball the next two years.

** DE Xavier Carlton, Modesto Christian Crusaders: He’s got big-time size at 6-foot-6, 235 pounds – that has the potential to terrorize 6-foot QBs trying to throw a quick out. He should be dominant in the small-school Trans-Valley League the next two seasons, after getting in on 82 tackles. He also caught 17 passes and scored 3 TDs – numbers that will climb in 2018.

** RB/DB Elijah Gilliam, Merced Bears: He had a few showcase games (194 yards rushing, 3 TDs vs Atwater; 13 tackles, sack vs Pitman; 10 tackles vs Del Campo) & hopefully will be stringing together those numbers consistently these next two years. He’s a physical player at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds.




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