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They're big! They're fast! They're the #FAB15
There is a quarterback at the top of the list, but this year’s Fab 15 belongs to the wide receivers.
Seven speedy wideouts made the Register’s annual ranking of the best high school recruits from the Western United States heading into National Signing Day on Wednesday.
The group swells to 12 of the 30 players selected if the multi-talented recruits listed at “athlete” end up at wide receiver.
Orange County placed a quarterback and wide receiver on the list - Santa Margarita’s duo of quarterback KJ Costello and wideout Dylan Crawford, who are expected to sign with Stanford and Michigan, respectively.
Javon McKinley of Centennial of Corona, expected to sign with Notre Dame, ranks as the No. 1 wide receiver in the West.
Quarterback Jacob Eason from Lake Stevens of Washington - an early signee with Georgia - is the top overall prospect.
Last year, the No. 1 ranking went to USC defensive back Iman Marshall. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, the Pac-12 freshman offensive player of the year, was two spots behind at No. 3.
The Fab 15 is dotted with questions. Five first-team selections head to National Signing Day uncommitted. Announcements from Mique Juarez of North Torrance and De La Salle of Concord’s Devin Asiasi and Boss Tagaloa will be among the most anticipated for college football recruiting fans.
The Fab 15’s region consists of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington. The selections consider rankings by the major recruiting websites and reporter observations.
FAB 15 FIRST TEAM
1. Jacob Eason
QB, 6-5, 217
Lake Stevens (Wash.)
Eason is Georgia’s best QB recruit since Matthew Stafford. Scout.com ranks the strong-armed Eason second only to Mississippi QB commit Shea Patterson of Florida’s IMG Academy. Eason’s father, Tony, played at Notre Dame but isn’t the former NFL quarterback with the same name.
Status: Georgia (signed)
2. Mique Juarez
OLB, 6-2, 235
Juarez has excellent speed (4.69 in the 40-yard dash) and athleticism for his size. Scout.com ranks him as the No. 1 outside linebacker in the nation. The former USC commit is expected to announce his decision on National Signing Day. He made trips to BYU, Alabama, Washington, Oklahoma and Mississippi.
3. Oluwole Betiku
DE, 6-4, 239
Betiku is relatively new to football but is the top-ranked defensive end in the West by Scout.com, which slotted him third nationally. His biggest strength could be his 4.57 speed. The one-time UCLA commit has already enrolled at USC. Huntington Beach defensive end Liam Jimmons also enrolled early at USC.
Status: USC (signed)
4. Caleb Kelly
OLB, 6-2, 220
It’s a deep year in the West at outside linebacker. Kelly and Mique Juarez ranked first-second in the region by Scout.com, just ahead off Mater Dei’s Curtis Robinson (Stanford). Kelly distinguished himself with his well-rounded play. His decision is expected to be between Oklahoma and Notre Dame.
5. Javon McKinley
WR, 6-2, 200
Scouting insiders like McKinley, but he’s still ranked surprisingly low nationally by Scout.com, Rivals, ESPN and 247 Sports. From the one-handed catches to pure speed, he flashed plenty of playmaking skills for the Huskies. His Pac-5 rivals know there wasn’t a more dangerous receiver in their division.
Status: Notre Dame (commit)
6. KJ Costello
QB, 6-5, 215
The strong-armed Costello, who broke some of Carson Palmer’s records at Santa Margarita, is hungry to play as quickly as possible at Stanford. He earned a personal-best 4.3 grade-point average in the first semester of his senior year, so expect him to learn and progress quickly with the Cardinal.
Status: Stanford (commit)
7. Jonah Williams
OL, 6-5, 280
Williams was a first-team all-state selection by CalHiSports.com. CalHi noted that some longtime observers in the Sacramento area believe he is the best offensive lineman they’ve seen. Folsom loves to pass the ball, so Williams is well-schooled on pass protection.
Status: Alabama (commit)
8. David Long
CB, 6-0, 175
Loyola (Los Angeles)
Long is one of the fastest of the top prospects in the West. (Scout.com estimates his time as 4.4 in the 40.) He plays with a burst and earned the reputation of being a shutdown cornerback. He’s a major recruiting prize out the West for Coach Jim Harbaugh.
Status: Michigan (commit)
9. Jack Jones
ATH, 5-11, 175
Long Beach Poly
The wide receiver/cornerback is another burner, featuring 4.55 speed in the 40. He had 42 receptions for 837 yards and 11 touchdowns in nine games last season. Here is a fun Twitter handle to check Wednesday: JackJonesToUA … as in Alabama.
10. Lamar Jackson
S, 6-2, 210
Franklin (Elk Grove)
The West’s top safety is physically imposing, runs well and plays tough. He committed to Nebraska on Tuesday, bolstering a recruiting class that includes San Juan Hills quarterback and early signee Patrick O’Brien. Jackson earns bonus points with his creative video announcement.
Status: Nebraska (commit)
11. Tyler Vaughns
WR, 6-2, 172
Bishop Amat (La Puente)
Vaughns isn’t a burner, but he is an athletic target who caught a touchdown pass from Fab 15 QB KJ Costello in the U.S. Army All-America Bowl in January. Scout.com ranks him as the No. 1 receiver in the West and believes he could play defensive back in college.
Status: USC (commit)
12. Devin Asiasi
TE, 6-4, 265
De La Salle (Concord)
Asiasi was a monster target for one of the state’s powerhouse teams. He showed athleticism and strong hands. He caught a long TD on a seam route from FAB 15 QB KJ Costello last month at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Scout.com notes that he also could play defensive end in college. USC and UCLA are competing to sign Asiasi, who could be a package deal with teammate Boss Tagaloa.
13. Boss Tagaloa
DT, 6-1, 295
De La Salle (Concord)
Tagaloa bulls forward and knows how to finish tackles. He recorded 61/2 sacks and 15 tackles for losses last season for the state champion Spartans. He ranks as the best defensive tackle in the West by Scout.com. He also could sign as a package deal with teammate Devin Asiasi. USC, UCLA, Washington and Michigan are in contention.
14. N’Keal Harry
WR, 6-3, 210
The West’s strength this year is at wide receiver, and Harry is another reason why. With his blend of size and speed, he is similar to Javon McKinley. He is a huge in-state keeper for the Sun Devils.
Status: Arizona State (commit)
15. Malik Henry
QB, 6-2, 185
Long Beach Poly
There’s a debate about how good the well-traveled and touted Henry will be in college. This much is certain: The former Oaks Christian, Westlake and IMG Academy QB has the potential to be a standout. Henry is an athletic quarterback who can escape the pocket and he possesses the passing skills to burn defenses.
Status: Florida State (commit)
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