Typically you wouldn’t think a team losing their all everything QB (Justin Herbert) to the Ducks, would be ranked the top team in the state the following year. 2016 could be a unique exception.
The Irish bring back a host of all conference talent and one of the top lines in the Northwest. Lane and Marty Johnson consistently reload and next year won’t be any different. 1st team all league and all state lineman Cody Shear (6-4 280 Jr. T) will be one of Oregon’s most recruited kids, recently being offered by Hawaii.
Ryan Walk (6-3 240 Jr. G/DE) earned 2nd team all league honors and will be one of the top O lineman returning state wide. Kyle Rygg (6-5 245 Jr. DE) possesses legit size and gained valuable experience, adding 20 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, and 5 sacks on the year. Him and Berkley Neumann (6-0 270 Jr. DT) will be key factors up front. Neumann was the other all conference kid making 60+ tackles on the year.
The biggest question will come at the QB position where Herbert combined to go for 49 total TD’s (Passing, Rushing) and only 4 INT’s. Ridiculous numbers for an incredibly talented family. 6-3 215 pound freshman Patrick Herbert is next in line after Justin graduates.
Zach Diehl (6-1 195 Jr. ATH), Tanner Zenke (6-0 170 Jr. Slot), and Sam Olsson (6-0 205 Jr. LB/RB) give the Irish three of the state’s top returning skill kids from the 2017 class. Diehl is one of Oregon’s top dual threat athletes, racking up 1st team (Free Safety) and 2nd team (Slot) all conference accolades. He totaled 900 all purpose yards offensively, adding 4 TD’s on 50 receptions. Zach will also rank as one of the regions top safeties, finishing the year with 50+ tackles and 3 INT’s.
Zenke went off in 2015, going for over 1000 yards and 13 TD’s. He will be one of the most exciting perimeter kids returning next year after earning 1st team all league honors. Olsson added 50+ tackles and 2 INT’s, being named 2nd team all SWC. Diehl and Olsson have both played QB and know Sheldon’s system well. You could foreseeably see either one run the offense.
Jaren Banks (6-0 195 So. LB/RB) will lead the next generation. The talented Sophomore went for over 40 tackles and 6 tackles for loss, with 5 Senior LB’s on the roster. Other talented kids from the 2018 class include Cameron Johnson (6-3 195 WR), Zach Phillipo (6-0 235 Line), and Jax Arnold (6-3 205 DE/T). You could also see junior Cameron Collins (6-0 175 RB/LB) get in the mix.
The Irish football program continues to thrive year after year. The coaches and families from within the community should be commended, as Sheldon gets it done the right way from the youth on up.
The school has posted a (133-19) record since 2004, with three state titles. The Johnson’s and their staff have produced a successful model and set a standard for top teams state wide . We will keep you updated on the kids out of Eugene as the year continues.