|Centennial (Corona) running back J.J. Taylor, who committed to Arizona this summer, helps headline a stacked 2016 class at his school (photo contributed).|
A popular argument among college football fans is which university produces the most talent.
But what about wondering which high schools in California are the best pipelines for college football programs this season?
This will be a series for Cali Gold Mine as we look into some of the top college football factories in each region this fall, starting first with Southern California.
Note: These schools make the cut by virtue of having over five DI prospects on its roster.
Last year: 12-3, lost in the CIF Open Division title game.
Number of DI prospects: seven
Centennial, which opened its doors in 1989, has become the face of Inland Empire football by challenging the state’s heavyweights and for pumping out collegiate talent.
Defensive back Cam Bynum and offensive lineman Daniel Juarez both pledged to the Cal Golden Bears before their senior year. Cornerback Kentrell Love and running back J.J. Taylor will join their aforementioned teammates in the PAC-12 after making verbal decisions to Washington and Arizona respectively in July.
Defensive back Desmond Williams committed to Boise State on June 26. That now leaves the Huskies’ two most wanted prospects, wide receiver Javon McKinley (25 offers) and safety Chacho Ulloa (18 offers), as the only uncommitted stars for the Huskies’ 2016 class.
MATER DEI (SANTA ANA)
Last year: 9-3, lost in the second round of the CIF Southern Section PAC-5 Division playoffs.
Number of DI prospects: five
Mater Dei continues to be a feeder for the PAC-12, with its top two Class of 2016 prospects verbally announcing their intentions to join the conference after this season.
Offensive tackle Frank Martin announced his plan to join USC in April 2015. Linebacker Curtis Robinson – who’ll play in the U.S. Army All-American game in Jan. 2016 – chose Stanford in April.
Wide receiver Andre Collins holds a North Texas offer. Running back Brandon LaMarche has interest from the Mountain West Conference. Wideout Osiris St. Brown is the face of Mater Dei’s 2017 class with 10 offers already on his table including Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State and Illinois.
NARBONNE (HARBOR CITY)
Last year: 10-4, CIF Los Angeles City Section champions.
Number of DI prospects: eight
So far, Arizona and Nevada are anticipated to gain some Gaucho football players come National Signing Day, as half of Narbonne’s 2016 national recruiting class has committed to the Wildcats and Wolf Pack.
Wide receivers Sean Riley and Devaughn Cooper verbally announced their intentions to join AZ, while defensive back Daniel Brown and linebacker Lawson Hall plan to head to the Silver State and join Nevada-Reno after their prep careers wrap up.
The remaining four DI prospects are quarterback Roman Ale (Dartmouth offer), receiver Vincent Heard (UNLV offer), safety Jamal Hicks (five Mountain West offers) and 4-star offensive tackle Alex Akingbulu (11 offers including Michigan, UCLA and Utah). Narbonne’s 2017 class could be headlined by safety Malik Street, who’s already been listed as a 3-star recruit.
JUNIPERO SERRA (GARDENA)
Last year: 8-3, lost in the first round of the CIF Southern Section PAC-5 Division playoffs.
Number of DI prospects: nine
Local universities USC and UCLA usually clamor for Serra football players during the recruiting period and this year, the Trojans and Bruins have plucked away two instant impact players from Serra’s 2016 class.
Safety C.J. Pollard, who had Michigan, Oregon and 13 other teams making a run at him, decided on the Trojans this past July. UCLA snatched defensive end Wole Betiku on Aug. 6, who held 25 total offers despite playing just one season of organized football.
Serra isn’t done sending its players to the DI ranks just yet. Versatile athlete Khalil Tate chose Arizona in March 2015 while linebacker Blake Walls pledged to San Jose State in April. The top un-committed player on the Cavaliers’ depth chart is athlete Brandon Burton, who holds 21 offers including Alabama, Ohio State and Florida State.
BISHOP AMAT (LA PUENTE)
Last year: 9-4, lost in the second round of the CIF Southern Section PAC-5 Division playoffs.
Number of DI prospects: five
Bishop Amat is known for being one of the elite football teams in Los Angeles County and this year’s Lancers feature two highly-coveted prep stars.
Receiver Treveon Sidney, who held Norte Dame, Miami and Wisconsin offers, chose USC in July 2015. Fellow receiver Tyler Vaughns has the likes of Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, UCLA and USC wanting him to come on board.
Offensive tackle Matthew Brayton committed early to UNLV. Cornerbacks Chris Gaston and Aaron Austin have drawn PAC-12 interest.
ST. JOHN BOSCO (BELLFLOWER)
Last year: 12-2, lost in the CIF Southern Section PAC-5 Division title game.
Number of DI prospects: 10
Bosco shouldn’t lose a step despite losing quarterback Josh Rosen to both graduation and UCLA. The PAC-5 Division runner-ups have reloaded at the skill positions.
Washington commit Sean McGrew leads the backfield. Receivers and 3-star talents Anselem Umeh and Jared Harrell spearhead the perimeters.
Lastly, a loaded secondary features Cal pledge Traveon Beck and 4-star safety D.J. Morgan, who has Arizona State, Nebraska and Vanderbilt all after him.
LONG BEACH POLY
Last year: 11-2, lost in the CIF Southern Section PAC-5 semifinals.
Number of DI prospects: five
The PAC-12 has frequently stopped by the L.B.P. to swoop up future collegiate players over the years.
So far, 3-star athlete Davir Hamilton will be PAC-12 bound after verbally pledging to Utah in June. Defensive back De’Andre Pierce and defensive tackle Emmanuel Fesilli are two mid-major prospects, as both have been the recipient of some Mountain West interest.
But all eyes will be on where receiver Jack Jones chooses to go. The 4-star receiver prospect – who’s been compared to former Poly star Desean Jackson - has 22 offers. Florida State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma are among the marquee programs trying to lock him up.
Last year: 6-6, lost in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Northern Division playoffs.
Number of DI prospects: 12
The city of Calabasas was once known as the place where A-list celebrities live. But now? The Los Angeles County town is one of the top destinations for college football programs because of the influx of talent on Mullholland Highway.
Defensive backs Marquel Dismuke and Isaiah Hayes drive the 2016 class. Dismuke has committed to Nebraska while Hayes plans to head to Tuscon and join the Arizona Wildcats.
Linebacker Alec Stevenson added to the Coyotes’ growing list of DI recruits after landing an Ohio University offer in Aug. 2015. Then there’s the stacked 2017 class featuring Keyshawn Johnson Jr., who has USC, Ohio State and Florida State all in the fold and Newbury Park transfer Darnay Holmes, who’s bringing his 25 offers with him to the Coyotes.