Attached is a list of Oregon’s top 15 teams for the 2016 season, with a few sleepers. There is a lot that can happen before the year kicks off but if the season were to start today this is how I would have it. We look forward to seeing the region’s top athletes in Portland on June 3rd for the NW Best Collegiate Showcase. You may receive additional info and register below.
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Breakdown: Oregon 6A top 15 + Sleepers
1. WEST LINN– All of the pieces are in place for the Lions to win the 2016 state title. 2X Oregon Gatorade Player of the Year TIm Tawa 17′ is a proven winner and one of the top HS QB’s ever to suit up in Oregon. Elijah Molden 17′ is one of the country’s elite, and single handily the most dominant player in the state. When healthy the 4* star DB is one of the top RB’s on the West Coast.
Add to this a potential All American candidate in Alex Forsyth 6-4 295 T 17′, leading a legit line with size, and you have a group that will be tough to beat. Jake Porter 6-4 240 17′ is one of the state’s top D ends. He will be joined by academic standout Hunter Lampson 6-6 270 OL/DL 17′ and all conference center Conner Maloney 17′.
One big question mark for the Lions will come via the graduation of all everything LB’s Sam Chitty and Blake Fletcher. Both D1 athletes who led the defense. A lot of the responsibility will fall on All TRL sophomore backer Zack Huffstutter 6-1 205 LB 18′. Z Huff looks to be one of Oregon’s best for 2018.
Qawi Ntsasa 18′ earned 1st team all league honors as sophomore and is one of the most electric athletes in the Northwest. He is a game breaker and will off set all of the attention that will be given to Molden.
Two big additions that need to be factored into next years equation are 1st team all state transfer Zach Shelton 17′, and 5A state statistical leader Justin Altenhofen 17′. Both kids made the move from Wilsonville. Shelton is one of the nation’s top lacrosse athletes and will help make up for the loss of Oregon St bound CB Jaydon Grant + Safety/WR’s Cody Coppedge and Connor Berggren.
Altenhofen will have the potential to thrive opposite WR Jake Meisen 17′. The transfer makes sense with 6-5 TE/WR Jonny Neville and 6-4 WR Harrison Steiger also catching a host of balls for the Wildcats.
In summary the Lion’s have a real shot. Current freshman Dawson Jolley RB 19′ will be one of Oregon’s best for the 2019 class. Look for this Chris Miller led West Linn group to be almost unstoppable on O and a the #1 ranked team to start the year.
2. JESUIT– The Crusaders will once again be in the state title hunt, even after losing 36 seniors to graduation. Any time you lose the Metro League Offensive (Jason Talley- Eastern Washington) and Defensive (Jordan Happle-Boise St) Player of the Year you will have some work to do.
That said the Crusaders return the top offensive line in the state, led by 6-7 305 pound monster Jaxson Kirkland 17′. The talented tackle will likely hold offers from most of the Pac 12 before he is done. He will be joined by one of the top Centers on the west coast for the class of 2018, Travis Spreen 6-3 275, and all conference/state twins Jarred 6-4 245 17′ and Joel Daul 6-4 240 17′.
The loss of a very talented and deep 2016 state championship class should not be understated. This said as they return an elite upfront foundation that will give the Crusaders a chance to repeat. The key being big time future D1 standoutsDemetrius Douglas 17′ and Trey Lowe 18′. Both athletes have the ability to go to the house any time they touch the ball.Isaiah Henderson-Brazie 6-1 220 18′ earned 2nd team all league honors last season and will be one of the top players in Oregon for his class. If the team can stay healthy this is a deadly combination of line and perimeter skill kids.
The biggest question will come at the QB spot with the loss of all everything QB Eric Restic. The 3 year starter leaves some big shoes to fill. Florida transfer Sam Mueller 17′ and 6-4 Sophomore Alex Brown 18′ will vie for the position.
3. SHELDON- If the Irish are going to make a state title run it will be this season. They return a host of all conference talent, led by a line filled with experience and division 1 kids. Cody Shear 6-4 285 17′ returns, holding offers from 10+ D1’s, including schools such as Arizona, Oregon St, Nevada, and Hawaii. Kyle Rygg 6-5 245 T/DL 17′ and Ryan Walk 6-3 260 OL 17′ both are back after all SWC seasons, with Rygg holding offers from Montana St, PSU, and N. Arizona.
Zach Diehl 17′ and Sam Olsson 17′ return, as both are considered two of the top overall athletes in the conference. Diehl earned 1st team all league honors from his safety spot and 2nd team accolades on offense. Olsson was a 2nd team selection at LB. You could potentially see either one running the offense, with the departure of 6-6 Duck QB commit Justin Herbert. Each has grown up playing the position and run the Irish offense effectively.
You could very well see Tanner Zenke Slot/RB 17′ taking the bulk of the carries out of the backfield. The talented Junior broke people off this past season, going for double digit TD’s and 1000+ yards. The 1st team all league athlete will be key along with Oregon elite Sophomore Jaren banks LB/S/RB 18′. Look for Banks to be one of the better players in the SWC on both sides of the football.
One thing you can say about Sheldon is that they are consistent. Year in and year out Lane and Marty Johnson have their kids dialed and in state title contention. Look for current freshman Patrick Herbert 6-4 215 WR 19′ to be one of the top players in Oregon. Yes another Herbert.
4. SHERWOOD– I’m assuming the 50 point pasting by West Linn, during last years state semi finals, will be something used as motivation heading into 2016. The Bowmen are loaded up front and at the skill positions, with David Morris RB/S 6-3 205 17′ being the best overall athlete ever to walk the halls at Sherwood.
Morris projects defensively, but will be tough for anyone to stop on offense, averaging 17 yards per touch with 15 TD’s last season. Look for Zack Jenkins RB/S 18′ to be one of the breakout athletes in the TRL. He will help off set all of the attention given to Morris. Two year starter Adam Vasquez departs at QB, with 6-3 190 pound Kevin Skurdahl 17′ taking over the reigns.
The Bowmen will be helped by a solid defense led by the big boys up front. 6-6 235 DE/TE 17′ Luka Nixon earned 1st team all league honors in 2015 and Josh Bowcut 6-5 270 DT 17′ will be a handful for opponents next year. He was a 2nd team all conference selection and will be a multi offer D1 kid. Nic Garrison 5-10 255 DT/OL 18′ was an all TRL kid on both sides of the ball, with fellow Sophomores Jayden Cuthbertson 18′ and Carsen Christenson 18′ also looking like immediate contributors.
Sherwood runs one of the best programs in the Northwest from the youth on up. All of the kids are on the same page from a young age. They will be one of Oregon’s best next year. It will once again come down to who steps up and fills some of the necessary spots left by talented seniors Adley Rutschman, Emmett Floyd, and Kobe Higgins.
5. CENTRAL CATHOLIC– On paper the Rams have as much talent as anyone in the state. Much like last season they will be loaded with future D1 athletes on both sides of the football. The loss of All American Duck commits Brady Breeze and LaMar Winston to graduation, along with RB/LB Ronnie Rust and lineman Tobe Okafor is big.
Trey Davis 17′ WR could be the most underrated player in the state. Vincenzo Logan 18′ and Korbin Williams 18′ have the potential of being the state’s breakout duo of the year. Both are ranked as two of the top 2018’s in Oregon. Add to this All Conference TE Malik Thirdgill 6-4 235 17′, who is an unquestioned D1 kid, and you have a lethal cast of receivers.
Michael Abraham 6-3 220 H Back/OLB 17′ can play multiple spots and has a stock that is rising quickly. The question becomes who will be able to distribute the ball. There isn’t an Aidan Wilder type QB and the days of Cam Scarlett and Ryan Nall coming out of the backfield are over. Future D1’s Travis Mackay 6-6 265 T/DL and Daniel McDougall 6-5 260 OL 18′ will lead up front.
Defensively CC is super legit, but young. Elijah Winston 6-3 220 18′ LB and Malakai Salu 6-2 220 18′ LB are two of the top Sophomore backers on the west coast. Austin Hill 6-1 195 S 18′ and Kitan Oladapo 6-1 175 CB 18′ are also ranked two of the state’s best for 2018.
Head Coach Pyne has some elite freshman talent coming in with the likes of Silas Starr, Cade Knighton, and Ethan Flynn.It’s hard to justify not winning with the amount of talent on the roster, so the pressure to win will remain consistent.
6. TIGARD– Don’t read to much into the Tigers (5-6) season last year. They return a host of talent, including one of the top players in the country for the 2018 class in Braden Lenzy 6-1 165 ATH 18′. The 4* speedster, earned 1st team all league honors on both sides of the ball in 2015. He will be a conference and state player of the year candidate the next two seasons. Fellow Junior to be Spencer Smith 18′ started last year and is another top 2018 athlete.
All league athletes RB/LB Jashua Allen 6-1 210 17′, Brock Klosterman 6-0 195 17′, and Gavin Kim 6-0 215 17′ will give Tigard one of the top returning LB groups in the state. Allen and RB/DB Ryan Minniti 5-10 165 17′ will each play a vital role on offense and should thrive with all of the attention that will go to Lenzy. Senior Spencer Olson went off in 2015 and left some big shoes to fill.
Sateki Kinnikinni 6-3 310 DT 17′ earned 2nd team all TRL honors last season and will require a consistent double team. He has the potential to be one of the more dominant lineman state wide. Gabe Schultz 6-1 300 18′ and Laytan Tanuvasa 18′ are two other young lineman who will be crucial in 2016.
For Tigard it will come down to how they compete in the brutally tough TRL. From the youth on up it’s one of the most well run programs in the Northwest. They should be in the mix for a conference title.
7. LAKE OSWEGO- The Lakers will be young, but possess elite 2018, 19, and 20′ classes. If they can keep everyone together they will have a shot. 6-5 290 pound O Tackle Dawson Jaramillo is ranked one of the nation’s top 2 lineman for his class. Arizona St baseball commit Jake Dukart 6-2 175 returns as maybe the state’s top 2018 QB. If LO is going to be successful these two will provide the foundation.
Look for all conference WR’s Jordan Newlin 18′ and Cameron Niklos 17′ to thrive with Dukart getting them the ball. Junior lineman Shawn Elliott 6-3 255 has a big upside and will compliment Jaramillo nicely.
Other individuals who should contribute and provide senior leadership include Ben Shimota 6-3 220 17′, Drew Pieringer, 17′ Martin Sorrelhorse 17′, and Jordan Watson 17′. Bryson Breeze 19′ contributed at the varsity level last season and will be one of the state’s best for his class. Current freshman Chris Todd, Collin Bracken, and Matt Sebolsky could all play early for LO as they will be some of Oregon’s top skill kids representing the state for the 2019.
Coach Coury does a great job and will have the talent in the coming years. If he can get his talented young guys to play beyond their years, they will have a chance in the brutally tough TRL.
LIncoln will lose three big time lineman in Kayode Rufai 6-5 245 DE (Boise St), Tom Laverde 6-5 285 (Portland St), and 2015 PIL Player of the Year Blake Long. That said as they return a host of all league talent and veteran leadership. RB Edmund Slevin 6-1 195 17′ went for 1300 rushing yards and 15 TD’s and will be a leading candidate for PIL Offensive POY honors. He will be called upon to produce as it’s no secret that they will rely heavily on the run.
Nolan Ostmo 17′ tied for the state lead in INT’s (8) last season and is one of the top overall athletes in Oregon. Look for him to contribute offensively and team with Ben Hoge 17′ in the defensive backfield. Hoge was clutch in the playoffs picking off 3 passes in 2 games.
Add to this LB/ATH Sam Paris 6-3 210 and WR Phil Rodgers 17′ and you have a nucleus that gives them a chance. Paris made 77 tackles last year and has the frame to play at a high level collegiately with continued progression. Rodgers went somewhat under the radar, but is another kid that can make a difference.
Last years Lincoln squad was a special group. Michael Angyus could have been the most underrated kid in Oregon. If not for injuries he is a D1 kid at some level. The Cardinal will be good, but it will be hard to match up with a team that virtually shut down Sherwood in the 6A quarterfinals. If they can produce on the line they should be alright.
9. TUALATIN – Without question the T Wolves were the turnaround team of the year in 2015. Give coach Z a lot of credit as he was able to come in during his first season and help Tualatin finish 3rd in the state’s toughest conference. This after a brutal 0-9 2014 campaign.
What was even more impressive is that he did this with a relatively young team. LB/SS Mack Matthews returns after a 1st team all league season, that saw him finish as the state’s leading tackler. He will be a leading candidate for TRL Defensive Player of the Year honors alongside 6-6 DE/TE Jared Ellisen who wreaked havoc coming off the edge. Much like Matthews Ellisen has D1 genes, and broke former Duck and current Philadelphia Eagles D lineman Taylor Hart’s record for sacks in a year.
Cody Brown 17′, Dominca Rocha 17′, Chris Freese 18′ and Lucas Noland 18′ will all return at the skill positions. Brown was 2nd on the team in carries with (86), , with 5 TD’s.
The biggest question will come up front where they will need some young guys to step up on the line. Gerald Saina (6-2 300 18′) is back, but if you don’t have the necessary trench kids in a conference like the TRL, you are in trouble.
10. SOUTH MEDFORD– One of the most exciting teams in the Northwest in 2016 will be the group out of Southern Oregon. The Panthers feature an elite cast of incoming junior’s that will keep the team in the SWC title hunt.
As most know Chase Cota 6-4 195 WR/S 18′ is one of the top ranked receivers in the nation. He earned 1st team all league honors on both sides of the ball and will be a leading candidate for player of the year honors the next two seasons. He will team with fellow 1st team all league slot Kaleb Franklin 18′ and two way threat RB/LB Jaylin Parnell 18′.Together this gives South maybe the top trio in the state for the class of 2018.
Robbie Patterson led the team from the QB spot as a Sophomore earning all conference honors. He will be the glue if the Panthers thrive. Fellow 2018’s Trent Snyder LB and lineman Brandon Ditty return after all SWC seasons. Much like Lake O, South Medford will be young but very talented.
11. GRANTS PASS – Coach Musser has done a good job getting the program back on track. They will have a solid perimeter led by two of the SWC’s best, in 1st team all league LB Jack Kasiah 6-2 220 and all conference DB/ATH Jerin Appling 6-2 190. Both kids possess legit size and have D1 potential.
The Cavemen do graduate some legit talent specifically up front. Conference Player of the Year Anthony DelToro DL and 6-3 215 QB/S Dylan Hanley both earned scholarships to PSU.
Look for Wyatt Mckenna 17′ to be a key member of the line and returning 2nd team all league RB Alex Jarvis to get the ball early and often. Rich England 6-1 220 LB/RB 18′ could be one of the state’s breakout Junior’s. GP will be good, but it will take some people stepping up if they want to play with Sheldon.
12. CLACKAMAS Don’t sleep on Joe Bushman’s group. 6-5 WR Cole Turner gives the Cavs a game changer. As of right now he could be the fastest rising recruit in the state. Clack will have a chance in the Mt Hood due to their line. Jack Buechler 6-3 220 17′ and Simon Grishkevich 17′ are two of the top returning D lineman in the conference/state andMichael Vance 6-5 285 T gives them a legit presence on the offense.
LB Cole Loboy 6-2 225 17′ will be a three year all conference kid and ranked one of the top returning backers state wide. He will lead what should be a talented D, that includes all conference DB Hayden Wilson 17′ and junior Braylon Bettles 18′ who’s stock is rising quickly. Look for Allen Gomez 17′ to also be a big contributor after an impressive Junior season.
QB Wyatt Hutchinson will be missed and the offense overall will be a question mark. That said the line is solid and the D will be legit, so the Cavs should be alright.
13. OREGON CITY– O.C. graduates a very talented senior class, led by Oregon St commit Trevon Bradford. Fellow D1 athletes Kiahve Dennis-Lee and 6-4 220 TE Sam Maughan will also be missed, along with 3 year all conference back Connor MItchell.
Fortunately for the Pio’s they run one of the top programs, top to bottom, in the state. Junior QB Dequahn Lee projects as one of the top QB’s in the Northwest, accounting for 37 TD’s & 6 INT’s last season. All conference DB Teron Bradford 18′ will return and also play a much more significant role on offense. In coming Sophomore Zee Lee 19′ is one o the fastest rising athletes in the state and could make an immediate impact at the Varsity level.
6-2 235 LB Tanner Smith will be a Mt Hood conference defensive player of the year favorite. They do not have the #’s or experience that they did the last few seasons, so Smith’s importance can’t be understated. Look for LB Ethan Kassenbaum 18′ and 6-3 205 TE Jack Cross 18′ to play a big role this season.
14. NEWBERG- This years Tiger group has the potential of being maybe the best team in school history. If they can stay healthy they have a shot in the ridiculously tough TRL. All everything athlete Anthony Adams ATH 17′ will be a conference player of the year candidate on both sides of the football, after earning 1st team all league honors the last two seasons.
Conner Morris 17′ and Zac Delashmutt 17′ will be two of the top players in the TRL. Both have dealt with recent injuries but were all conference kids as Sophomores. Morris is one of the better RB’s in Oregon and the 6-0 220 Delashmutt is an underrated LB. 5-6 160 RB Michael Tarakhchyan 17′ also had a breakout year in 2015.
If these four can stay healthy and the line produces the Tigers will be in the mix. Scott Friedrich 6-2 290 17′ and Jacob LaPointe 17′ will return after all conference seasons and should lead the big boys up front.
15. WESTVIEW- Head Coach Ryan Atkinson did a great job in his first year with the Wildcats. He hired an elite staff and has built momentum within the community. The progression is expected to continue, making Jesuit and Westview the clear cut #1 and #2 teams in the Metro.
All conference QB Zac Schmerber 17′ returns after a phenomenal 2015 season, where he was one of the state leaders in multiple statistical categories. The Cats like to air it out, as D1 WR Mason Elliott 6-3 180 WR 17′ returns after going for 1000+ yards and double digit TD’s. The graduation of Montana commit Samori Toure will put that much more attention on Elliott. Look for Dane Brooks RB/LB 17′ and 3* Safety/LB Jason Rucker 17′ to play a critical role on Offense.
Defensively they will have a chance to dominate up front with 2018 standouts Luke Vrvilo DT and Justin Babcock DE back, after impressive all league seasons. Both kids rank as two of the better players in the Metro. Senior Kurtis Franklin 17′ DE/TE will be another individual who should play a key role.
MADISON– What coach Don Johnson Jr has done at this Portland School is remarkable. 1.5 years ago the football program was on life support. In 2016 they will be a PIL contender. Last years record doesn’t accurately portray what they bring to the table. A handful of D1 kids will lead the Senators this season, with one of the nation’s top LB’s Daniel Green 6-4 235 17′ being a very imposing figure.
Green holds offers from the likes of Oregon St, Cal, and Colorado with many more to come. He will be a player of the year favorite. 6-4 WR Isaia Mullen is one of the top receivers in the region with the likes of Hawaii, Montana St, and PSU offering recently.
Wyryor Noil 17′, MIke Noil 18′ and incoming offensive player of the year candidate Marquis Sampson 17′ make up a dangerous crew. Wyryor earned 1st team all league honors last season and will most likely run the offense at QB. The younger Mike Noil is a threat to go to the house any time he has the ball in his hands. Sampson’s transfer from Evergreen high school in Washington is huge. He will immediately be put in the conversation with the top backs in the state, as he incredibly hard to contain.
The biggest question for Madison will be on the line. They have dudes, but will be young, so it is a wait and see. Marquis Isom 18′ and Jacky Ha 19′ will be two other young athletes who can do work on both sides of the ball. If the Senators can stay healthy and disciplined they will have a shot at a conference title.
LAKERIDGE– To put last season into perspective, the Three Rivers Conference may have been the strongest league ever assembled top to bottom in Oregon. Head coach Elvis Akpla was a great hire and the future is bright for the school.
2nd team all league RB Nick Hoddevik is one of the top 2018’s in the state. The Pacers will need him to set the tone offensively. This off season’s big addition so far is at QB, with D1 projected former IMC player of the year Mike Irwin 17′ making the transfer from Mt View in Bend. He is one of the top dual threat quarterbacks in the Western Region and an absolutely game changer.
6-6 225 TE/DE Jack Holum 17′ will be another kid who should play a key role on both sides of the ball. He is one of the more underrated kids in the state as he has D1 size and potential.
Lakeridge will need to compete up front if they want to win in the TRL. Beau Bryant DL 18′ returns as one of the better incoming junior’s in the conference, with 6-5 260 pound tackle Neil Mccarthy 18′ developing nicely. With continued progression he could be one of the TRL’s best. Another current Sophomore Brett Logsdon C/DT 18′ will be back and is raved about by the coaches. Add to this a few of Oregon’s top young guys just entering high school and you have a youthful, but talented group.
All conference DB Jack Dauphinais 17′, and fellow athletes Brandon Doblie 17′, and DJ Dalzell 17′ will need to step up big in 2016.
WEST SALEM- Coach Shawn Stanley consistently has his guys in the mix. They don’t necessarily bring back the big names, but they should still be in the conference title hunt. Anthony Zellner 17′ earned 1st team all GVC honors defensively, and all conference DB Keonte Mcmurrin 17′ is also returning. Look for Mcmurrin to be a factor on offense as his stock continues to rise. Cole Rumrill WR 17′ will be back starting at wide out.
Manny Bravo 17′ LB/SS is an impressive athlete and will return as a three year starter. Justus Gile 17′ and Blake Bucheit 17′ are two other all league kids from last season that will help on the D line.
Christian Janes 18′ TE/DE is one of the top Sophomores state wide, earning 2nd team all GVC honors at D end in 2015. The biggest questions come on offense. Over the last decade the Titans have produced a host of D1/Pac 12 kids. It will be a team effort this year if they want to advance.