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OCVarsity rankings: O.C.'s top 10 receivers and tight ends
With the start of the high school season quickly approaching, the Register has put together its lists of the top 10 players in the county at each position.
These lists are based on the observations of the Register’s reporters, the input of football coaches around the county and the amount of interest shown by college scouts.
Here is a look at the top wide receivers and tight ends going into the season:
1. Dylan Crawford, Santa Margarita, Sr.
The transfer from St. Francis of La Canada comes into the area surrounded by a ton of hype after a phenomenal junior season in which he caught 44 passes for 1,006 yards and 13 touchdowns. Crawford is an explosive athlete with plus size (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) who is capable of taking the top off the defense while possessing the elusiveness to turn a simple bubble screen into six points. He is regarded as the county’s second most sought after recruit, receiving offers from USC, UCLA, Oregon, Michigan, Notre Dame and Stanford, to name a few. With his quarterback, KJ Costello, considered the county’s top recruit, look for Crawford to put up big numbers – ala Kyle Sweet in 2014 – and establishing himself as the county’s premier playmaker on what could be a devastating Santa Margarita offense.
2. Colin Kentros, El Toro, Sr.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Kentros hauled in 77 passes for 1,049 yards, both county top-10 marks in 2014. Those numbers could increase this fall as El Toro – known for its up-tempo passing attack – graduated four of its top five receivers, which equates to 219 receptions and 2,769 yards now departed. Kentros hopes to pick up where he left off last season, concluding the year with a 10-catch, 200-yard performance against Great Oak in the West Valley Division quarterfinals.
3. Andre Collins, Mater Dei, Sr.
Stats simply don’t tell the story when looking at Collins and his potential for this upcoming season. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound wideout played in just five games in 2014 before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in the Monarchs’ Trinity League opener. Now back at 100 percent and playing with something to prove, Collins impressed recruiters throughout the summer circuit and received his first offer from North Texas after turning heads at the Battle at the Beach passing tournament in July. More offers should stream in if Collins stays healthy this fall.
4. Cole Fotheringham, San Clemente, Sr.
There’s no better security blanket for a first-year starting quarterback then a reliable tight end, and Fotheringham is as good as it gets in Orange County. At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, the Utah-bound Fotheringham boasts excellent size with a tremendous catch radius, making life a tad easier on San Clemente’s new starter under center, Jack Sears. The tight end led the team in catches (50) and touchdown receptions (8), while finishing second in yardage (585). Adding to Fotheringham’s value is his blocking ability, where he’ll help open up holes for “Thunder and Lightning” – San Clemente’s running back tandem of Vlad Dzhabiyev and Brandon Reaves.
5. Ryan Scotti, Troy, Sr.
Scotti was one of two receivers in Orange County to put together a stretch of four consecutive 100-yard receiving performances in 2014. The recent Brown commit finished last season with 52 catches for 715 yards, and he really came on in the second part of last season when teammate Dominic Vaccher missed some time with injuries. Against the elite Freeway League competition – La Habra and Buena Park – Scotti caught a total of 25 passes for 308 yards and three touchdowns. As the focal point of the Warriors offense this fall, Scotti could be amongst the county leaders in catches and yardage.
6. Garrett White, Edison. Sr.
White recently committed to Yale and enters his final campaign at Edison as the Chargers’ go-to target. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound pass catcher is one of the area’s most physical receivers and shows great field awareness on his routes, consistently moving the sticks for Edison. With quarterback Grant Lowary improving throughout the second half of last year, the Chargers’ aerial attack should continue making strides this season. White hopes to pick up where he left off his junior year: a 115-yard, two touchdown outing against Hart of Newhall in the CIF playoffs.
7. Terrell Bynum, Servite, Jr.
The Friars wideout finished second on the team in receptions (31) and yards (391) as a sophomore, and Bynum becomes the primary target this season for first-year starter Tyler Lytle. New head coach Scott Meyer has showcased his share of talented receivers in recent seasons – Bo St. Geme was third-team All-County last season at Corona del Mar – so Bynum should get his shot to stand out in Servite’s new system. The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder is already one of the county’s most sought after juniors, holding offers from USC, UCLA, Oklahoma and Nebraska among others.
8. Carter Jaenichen, Tesoro, Sr.
Unlike every other player on this list, Jaenichen is the only receiver who will begin the season with the same quarterback who started every game for its respective team in 2014. And he’s got one of the county’s best slinging him the ball in Arizona-bound Devon Modster. As juniors, Modster and Jaenichen connected 59 times for 701 yards and 10 touchdowns, tops in every statistical receiving category. Benefiting from another offseason together, that connection will only continue to flourish, likely meaning more wins for Coach Matt Poston’s team.
9. Jeremiah Hawkins, Buena Park, Jr.
The name should look and sound familiar because Jeremiah is related to former Buena Park stud Jaylinn Hawkins, who is now at Cal. The Yorba Linda transfer will have some big shoes to fill, but Coach Anthony White is excited about the speed and athleticism the younger Hawkins brings to the table. The Coyotes already have one of the best returning signal callers in senior Zach Taylor, who thrived a year ago at getting his playmakers the ball in space. Already offered by Utah, Washington and Nebraska, Hawkins should shine in his first real opportunity to start.
10. Lance Vecchio, Villa Park, Sr.
The defending Crestview League player of the year returns for his final campaign at Villa Park, where he’s expected to do a little bit of everything this fall. Vecchio led the Spartans with 38 catches for 708 yards last year, and with junior quarterback Nick Sipe improving throughout camp, the passing game should be even better this season. At 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, Vecchio boasts great size and speed, and should receive some offers as the season progresses.
Others to watch: Brennan Corbin, Villa Park, Sr.; Nick Crabtree, Huntington Beach, Sr.; Derrick Deese, Kennedy, Sr.; Jacob Gasser, Los Alamitos, Jr.; Jacob Huff, San Juan Hills, Jr.; Mitchell Nickovich, Capistrano Valley, Sr.; Nick Shanks, St. Margaret’s, Sr.; Osiris St. Brown, Mater Dei, Jr.
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