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Among the top linebackers in the county for 2016 are, from upper left, John Stamos (Villa Park), Christian Lavalle (Mission Viejo), Camron Rivas (La Habra), Colin Schooler (Mission Viejo), Cedric Dashiel (Buena Park and Drew Platt (Los Alamitos).

OCVarsity Rankings: O.C.'s top 10 linebackers

STAFF WRITER

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 linebackers going into the season:

1. John Stamos, Villa Park, Sr.

Stamos (6-2, 225) is everything you want in a football player. Coach Dusan Ancich calls Stamos “the face of our football program.” Stamos received seven offers, including one from Fresno State. (Editor's note: Stamos announced Saturday that he had committed to Navy.) He was All-CIF and first-team All-County last year. Stamos recorded 139 tackles last year and was selected the Crestview League player of the year. He also rushed for nearly 500 yards. Look for big things again this year from Stamos.

2. Colin Schooler, Mission Viejo, Sr.

Diablos coach Bob Johnson summed up Schooler (6-1, 230) this way: “He’s just dominating and so smart,” Johnson said. Schooler did just about everything on defense last year (125 tackles, nine sacks). He also played an important role on offense late in the season, taking over at running back, to help the Diablos win CIF-SS and CIF State titles. Schooler has offers from UNLV and Nevada. “He’s an outstanding football player,” Johnson added.

3. Fa’avae Fa’avae, Mater Dei, Sr.

Fa’ave (6-1, 210) is a key player on a Monarchs defense that will cause sleepless nights for opposing offensive coordinators. The senior linebacker is up to 14 offers and that number will continue to rise. Fa’avae was second-team All-County last year as he recorded 59 tackles and 11 sacks.

4. Camron Rivas, La Habra, Sr.

Rivas (5-10, 215) was a dominant force on the field last year for the CIF-SS Southwest Division champions. Rivas was the Freeway League defensive player of the year, recording 150 tackles, 16 for loss and four sacks. Coach Frank Mazzotta says Rivas’ leadership skills are one of his best traits. Look for another big year from the senior linebacker.

5. Cedric Dashiell, Buena Park, Sr.

Dashiell put up eye-popping numbers in his first three years for the Coyotes. Dashiell has 326 tackles with 31 sacks and 11 forced fumbles. “He’s our field general, our version of Lawrence Taylor off the edge,” Buena Park coach Anthony White said. “If you want to see someone that’s a great student-athlete, never misses practice and always does his job, then come see No. 22.” Dashiell has a couple of offers (UC San Diego, Idaho State). More are likely on the way if he continues to play the way he did the previous three years.

6. Marcus Carrasco, La Habra, Sr.

The Highlanders’ opponents will probably think it’s unfair that they have Carrasco and Camron Rivas on the field together. Carrasco (6-3, 221) earned second-team all-league honors last season, and he appears poised to earn many more honors this year. “He’s super tough and physical,” La Habra coach Frank Mazzotta said of Carrasco. The senior has three offers (Northern Arizona, UTEP and Hawaii).

7. Issaiah Johnson, Los Alamitos, Jr.

It didn’t take long for Johnson (6-3, 215) to catch the eye of the Griffins’ new coach, Ray Fenton. “I’ve never seen anything like him before,” Fenton said. “The way he covers, his athleticism, he’s amazing. It is fun to watch.” Johnson earned second-team all-Sunset League honors last year. He recorded 76 tackles and eight sacks.

8. Christian Lavalle, Mission Viejo, Jr.

Lavalle gained valuable experience last year, starting every game for the state championship-winning Diablos. Coach Bob Johnson believes Lavalle has All-County potential. “He’s so bright and he studies hard,” Johnson said. “He’s a tough, outstanding football player.”

9. Drew Platt, Los Alamitos, Sr.

Platt (6-4, 230) is making the switch to inside linebacker this season. He is also a tight end on offense. He recorded four sacks and 49 tackles last season. Coach Ray Fenton praises what he calls Platt’s high football IQ and expects big things from the senior.

10. Marwin Zaragoza, Tustin, Sr.

Myron Miller is back on the sidelines for the Tillers, and Zaragoza fits the bill as a Miller-type player. Zaragoza figures to be busy at fullback and linebacker. He was first-team, all-league on defense last season, and Miller expects him to be a make a huge impact again this season. He has been a two-way starter since he was a sophomore.

OTHERS TO WATCH

Jason Allen, Brea Olinda, Sr.; Ryan Russell, San Clemente, Sr.; Rene Gonzalez, Saddleback, Sr.; AJ Aguilar, El Toro, Sr.; Tyler Romo, El Toro, Sr.; Matt Davisson, Laguna Hills, Sr.; Bear Greene, Aliso Niguel, Sr.; Julian Casillas, Dana Hills, Jr.; Richy Tochihuitli, Godinez, Sr.; Isaac Rex, San Clemnete; RC Cannon, Buena Park, Sr.; Dylan Porter, Canyon, Jr.; Jaydin Moses, Corona del Mar, Sr.; Devin Jenkins, Capistrano Valley, Sr.; Karstn Graves, Woodbridge, Sr.; Ronnie Velasquez, Valencia, Sr.

Contact the writer: dcalhoun@scng.com

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OCVARSITY PRESEASON RANKINGS

TOP LINEBACKERS

TOP DEFENSIVE BACKS

TOP DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

TOP OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

TOP RECEIVERS AND TIGHT ENDS


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