Class of 2020
The Eastside Catholic foursome
These Crusaders have a chance to be one of the best teams in Washington state history, and they’re led by a foursome of Division-I bound seniors: receiver Gee Scott Jr., running back/defensive back Sam Adams II, tight end D.J. Rogers and cornerback Ayden Hector.
In Scott and Adams, headed to Ohio State and Washington next year, respectively, as well as Rogers, a four-star recruit who has yet to commit, the Crusaders return their three biggest playmakers from last season’s state-championship team.
Defensively, they’ll be counting on Hector to step up having lost three of their four leading tacklers from last season, including secondary-mates Andrew Pederson and Tohi Angilau.
We’ll get a sense of how good this Eastside squad really is early on with out-of-state matchups the first three weeks of the season against Grant (Sacramento, Calif.), Central Catholic (Portland) and, especially, Pinnacle (Phoenix).
LB/WR Sav’ell Smalls (Kennedy Catholic)
After spending the past two seasons at Garfield, Sav’ell Smalls is back where he began his high-school career.
The Lancers could be the state’s most potent offense (more on that below), but the addition of Smalls, who had 21 tackles for loss and seven sacks last season, gives them star power to match on defense.
Smalls, an equally hard worker in the classroom as on the field, had said he wanted to expand his horizons and leave the Seattle area for school, but recently included Washington in his top six, anyway.
WR/CB Kasen Kinchen (Lake Stevens)
Kinchen profiles as a nickel corner in college — he has Pac-12 offers from Oregon and Cal — but he plays on both sides of the ball for the 2018 state runner-up. As a junior, he hauled in a team-leading 13 touchdowns and 1,051 receiving yards, along with seven interceptions on defense. But he’ll have a new quarterback throwing him the ball this season with the graduation of Tre’ Long.
“He made a big impression on offense, but I think long-term, his best side of the ball is defense,” said Brandon Huffman, a national recruiting analyst for 247Sports.
OL Levi Rogers (Woodinville)
The 6-foot-5, 275-pound left tackle moved from Boston two years ago and immediately began mauling opposing defenders. He’s the reigning KingCo 4A offensive lineman of the year and the anchor of a strong Woodinville offensive line that won the league title last season.
A three-star recruit with offers from from most of the Pac-12, but notably not Washington, spent his spring visiting those schools, as well as Notre Dame, from which he also has an offer.
Class of 2021
The Kennedy Catholic threesome
Ah, yes, potentially the most potent offense in the state: With QB Sam Huard throwing the ball to receivers Jabez Tinae and Junior Alexander, the Lancers had no trouble scoring last season, averaging 49.7 points and 526 yards per game.
Alexander made the Star Times team as a sophomore last season after reeling in 71 catches for 1,197 yards and 10 TDs. Tinae finished with more yards (1,221) on fewer receptions (59) and is considered a slightly better college prospect. (The Lancers return a third player with over 1,000 yards last season, senior all-purpose back Justin Baker, who’s committed to Cal).
But Huard is the most exciting of all. Already committed to Washington, Huard should be challenging state records by his senior season. Recently upgraded to a five-star prospect by 247Sports, Huard threw for 4,141 yards and 42 TDs as a sophomore last season.
This trio will be terrorizing defense for the next two seasons.
DL J.T. Tuimoloau (Eastside Catholic)
Tuimoloau has been the best player on the field since he first stepped onto it as a freshman two years ago. Now entering his junior season as the top-ranked recruit in the nation, Tuimoloau said his goal is to make his junior season his best yet.
To do that, he’ll have to top the 17 tackles for loss and six sacks he recorded last season.
ATH Emeka Egbuka (Steilacoom)
Egbuka is a difference-maker in all three phases of the game. The speedy 6-1 athlete is a return specialist, playmaking receiver and elite safety. While Tuimoloau is quickly becoming one of the most-hyped prospects in recent state history, Egbuka is challenging him for the top spot just in this class.
“I think Emeka is the best two-way prospect in the country,” said Huffman, who called him a clone of former USC star JuJu Smith-Schuster. “Any other year, he’s probably the No. 1 player in the state of Washington.”
Last season, Egbuka caught 72 passes for an eye-popping 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns on offense, with a team-leading eight interceptions on defense. He ran a 4.42 40-yard dash earlier this year, raising his profile even higher.
ATH Julien Simon (Lincoln)
Simon may continue to make his biggest impact on the offensive side of the ball as a play-making receiver and running back, combining for 821 yards between the air and the ground last season.
But Simon, who stands 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, projects as a linebacker at the next level. He’s athletic enough to play in coverage but also recorded 57 tackles, eight for loss, and two sacks.
S Will Latu (Bethel)
Bethel’s defense is anchored by the Latu brothers, the elder Peter, who’s committed to Oregon, and Will, who’s a year younger and slightly higher ranked prospect. Both play more in the defensive backfield for Bethel but are expected to play linebacker in college.
Will, a consensus four-star recruit, has offers from half the Pac-12, including Washington, as well as Nebraska and Tennessee.
QB Clay Millen (Mount Si)
After two years on the depth chart behind older brother Cale, now entering his freshman year at Oregon, it’s the youngest Millen who gets to take the reins at Mount Si.
Class of 2022
LB Dishawn Misa (Eastside Catholic)
Misa started every game as a freshman for the state-champion Crusaders, making 39 tackles, including three for loss. But the athletic cover linebacker is still seeking his first high-school sack.
“He’s only going to get bigger,” Huffman said. “Playing behind J.T. on Eastside’s defense, just where he lines up, with teams trying to stop J.T., that just opens up the door for Dishawn. I think he’s probably the top sophomore in the state at this point.”
Misa earned his first offer, from Arizona State, in his first month of high school and has since been offered by Oregon, Wisconsin and Boise State, too. He debuted 55th in 247Sports’ ranking of the Class of 2022, the highest-ranked player from Washington.
OL Dave Iuli (Puyallup)
Iuli is already drawing comparisons to another big lineman from Puyallup High School: Joshua Garnett, who was drafted in the first round by the 49ers in 2016, after a four-year career at Stanford.
Entering his sophomore year, Ilui stands 6-foot-5 and checks in at 330 pounds. Texas A&M was the first to offer him followed shortly by Tennessee, Washington and Nevada.
OL Malik Agbo (Todd Beamer)
Huffman will make one guarantee: Malik Agbo is “going to be the biggest recruit Todd Beamer’s ever had.”
Now, that’s not too high a bar. But Agbo is already ranked in the top-100 nationally, the third of three players from Washington. He enters his sophomore season listed at 6-foot-5 and 295 pounds, with offers from Washington, Tennessee and Nevada.
OL Vega Ioane (Graham Kapowsin)
It’s rare for Washington to be the first, or only, program to offer a player, but that’s what assistant coach Scott Huff did here with Ioane. The 6-4, 280-pound lineman has yet to play a varsity snap but impressed at camps over the summer.
Huffman said Ioane projects as an interior lineman more than a tackle. You’ll remember the last lineman to come out of Graham-Kapowsin, Foster Sarell, left for Stanford.
“He’s no Foster Sarrell,” Huffman said. “But he says he grew up watching Foster, and that’s who he’s patterned his game after.”
ATH Kieran Collins (Kennedy Catholic)
Collins got his first scholarship offer before he even stepped on a high-school field. Training with Heir Football, as well as Willie Taggart’s connection to the Northwest, led to an early offer from Florida State.
He made three interceptions in five games as a freshman, primarily as a defensive back (though he can play on both sides of the ball), making three interceptions to go along with 11 tackles.
WR Tyrone Taylor (Rainier Beach)
Taylor is another player who received a big early offer from the southeast: Before his freshman year, Florida offered Rainier Beach’s speedy sophomore.
He entered a high school a national track champion, which prompted the early interest from the Gators, but didn’t get on the field much last season.
ATH Tobias Merriweather (Union)
Already 6-4, 175 pounds, Merriweather split his time as a freshman between receiver and defensive back. He played in 10 games for the Class 4A state champs, hauling in two passes for 33 yards and an interception.
“He’s like Dishawn Misa, where I think teams went to go see other players on his team and then happened to see him,” Huffman said. That’s already led to offers from Utah and Nevada.