Arizona top-30

Arizona may not produce high school football talent on a level with California or Texas, but the overall quality of athletes coming from the Grand Canyon State is getting better. This year's crop has some elite level recruits and some others with a load of potential.

This list is the opinion of the Wildcat Insider staff. It is based on personal evaluations, video tape evaluations, conversations with high school coaches, other players and recruiting analysts. Other criteria taken into account were who has been recruiting the players and what their national reputations are.

This list is subject to change and certainly will as the players begin their senior seasons. Players will move up and down, while new ones will emerge.

1—Everson Griffen—DE, Agua Fria

Griffen is without a doubt the top player in the state and is one of the top players to come out of Arizona in a decade. Freakish athleticism, extreme work ethic and technical proficiency set Griffen apart from the rest of the field.

2—Kristofer O'Dowd—OL, Salpointe Catholic

The only player in the state that even approaches Griffen is O'Dowd. Amazing athleticism for a guy his size. Solid frame and physically ready to play right away. Has the ability to play either guard spot or either tackle spot at the next level. He was the best OL in the state during his sophomore year and nothing has changed.

3—Javario Burkes—OL, Moon Valley

Big, athletic and dedicated. Burkes is a great combination of athleticism and hard work that rarely comes along. Solid on the basketball court but surprisingly does not possess the greatest feet for a kid with his overall athleticism. Is destined for tackle at the next level.

4— Will Yancy—DE, Ironwood

Very fast edge rusher with good bloodlines. Very speedy rushing the quarterback which makes him dangerous in recovery as well. Not the most disciplined rusher but athleticism lets him get away with it at the high school level. Very coachable and dedicated.

5— Kerry Taylor—WR, Hamilton

Very soft hands, decent route running ability and obviously good bloodlines. Concentration and ability to separate are the only things keeping him from being truly elite. Definitely possesses all of the tools needed to be very successful at a major university.

6—Devin Veal—Athlete, Buena

Best athlete on his team which actually hurts him since he is forced to play quarterback. Is destined for wide receiver or defensive back at the next level. Showed great athleticism at the Arizona camp but more importantly the willingness to learn and listen. High ceiling. Committed to Arizona


Devin Veal

7—Cameron Jordan—DE, Chandler

Strong and athletic off the edge. Can easily bulk up and move inside at the next level, which makes Jordan even more dangerous with his athleticism. The only question mark is his overall toughness and drive.

8— James Brooks—DE, Flagstaff

Brooks is the Northern Arizona version of Griffen. RB, WR, TE, DE, LB, he dos it all for his team. While he does not have Griffen's athleticism or speed he is not that far behind. Strength and speed are his best attributes but his drive and coachability are question marks

9—Colin Parker—LB, Hamilton

Solid and very fluid linebacker. Can play sideline to sideline and possesses pretty good natural instincts for the position. Needs to add strength but is the best linebacker in the state without question. Committed to Arizona State

10—Blake Behrens—OL, Brophy

Big, athletic and strong. Work ethic is noticeable and he has the versatility that college coaches like. He could play tackle or guard at the next level. Technically improving, and has a good football IQ.

11—Marcel Jones—OL, Trevor Browne

Big, athletic and mean offensive tackle. Great frame to work with and is very dedicated but is extremely raw technically. Footwork has gotten better but needs more improvement for the tackle position.

12—T.J. Simpson—WR, Peoria

Tall and wiry receiver with good hands and very good overall athleticism. Absolutely needs to add strength but runs solid routes and is surprisingly disciplined for still being so raw.

13—Eric Williams—DE, Tolleson

Athletic big man that also plays running back. Strong and versatile but physically is more of a tweener. Where he will play at the next level depends on his senior year. He needs to show on defense that he has the speed off the edge. Needs to play with more passion


Cameron Jordan

14—Kyle Newhall-Caballero—QB, Gilbert

The best QB in the state and had a very good spring evaluation period. Showed good arm strength and overall technique at the Wildcat Elite camp. Definitely moving up the charts.

15—Michael Williams—RB, Paradise Valley

Good overall running back package. Great athlete with good field vision and all the moves. Some think he is destined to move to the secondary at the next level.

16—Ridge Nielsen—RB, Mountain View

Fierce competitor and leader with good athleticism and good field vision. Good in the open field and can play in between the tackles. Not overly fast but he plays with heart and is very smart on the field.

17—Prince Amukamara—RB, Apollo

Good field vision and is dynamite in the open field. Hip swivel and athleticism are there but he is still very raw but coachable.

18—Vinnie Paciulli—OL, Moon Valley

Short, strong and bullish line player with the ability to play either line. Pure center on offense and on defense could go 3-technique or nose depending on the system.

19—Shane Anderson—WR, Saguaro

Great athlete but lacks as a pure football player. Nice hands and route running ability. With his athleticism he should jump out on film but he doesn't.

20—Max Fritz—QB, Salpointe Catholic

Not the most physically gifted QB but he makes plays. Poise and leadership are strong characteristics and he plays with heart and emotion at an important position.

21—Jonathan Ott—S, Mountain Ridge

Good athleticism and a high motor player that can lay the wood if needed. Not the most instinctual player but has a knack for making the big play when needed.

22—Eric Hagg—WR, Ironwood

Hagg possesses good body control and has a good set of hands. Not the greatest route runner but has a knack for getting open and using his athleticism.

23—Justin Salum—Athlete, Hamilton

Salum is an enigma. He possesses great athleticism and sky high potential but he lacks experience and a definite position. Injuries forced him to sit out the majority of his junior season. Has the potential to be a major college contributor at running back, wide receiver or in the defensive secondary. Potential is there but he has to prove it.

24—Rodney Shaw—LB, Chaparral

Athletic and instinctual linebacker. Can play sideline to sideline and has the ability to be a solid contributor at the next level.

25—Riley Nielsen—Athlete, Mountain View

Solid overall athlete with a number of positional opportunities. He can play running back, receiver or safety at the next level. Not very big but is very strong for his size and he plays with the one thing that you cannot coach, heart.

26—Mitchell Zembik—OL, Prescott

Perfect size and ability for the center position. He can play guard but is a very natural center both physically and mentally. Also is a very good long snapper, which should help him in recruiting.

27—Andrew Serrano—LB, Brophy

Physically gifted and possesses nice natural instincts. A little on the stiff side but plays smart and has a good motor.

28—Rory Ross—TE, Peoria

Athletic, smooth runner and soft hands. Doesn't possess the greatest overall athleticism for the position so a bulked up move to the OL could be a good thing.

29—Matt Sanford—LB, Hamilton

Instinctual linebacker that has a good motor. Not very fast or big but plays with heart and fire and makes plays.

30—Brad Gruner—QB, Hamilton

Solid QB with a decent arm and good decision making abilities. Good leadership skills and knows how to lead his team by example. Good overall athlete. Can he come back from the bad injury suffered last year?


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