We always preface the rankings by saying it is still VERY EARLY in the process. Players will move up and down quite a bit over the next two years and we're already seeing that with the 2018 class.
These rankings are based not just on, on-field production but more importantly, next level upside and projection. Some players peak early, others develop later and it's safe to say when we update this class next year, there will be some dramatic changes. With that being said, here is our early look at the class of 2019.
The West Coast region was very well represented in the just released 2019 Scout 125 with 31 players total making the cut.
The battle for the top spot came down to two players, defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux and quarterback J.T. Daniels. It was close as Thibodeaux checks in as the No. 4 overall prospect in the country and Daniels No. 6 after a vote by the entire Scout team.
Both players were also awarded five-stars and will be in the running for top overall recruit in the nation the next time rankings are updated.
Thibodeaux is a long, athletic defensive end that checks off every box you’re looking for in an elite level pass rusher. He’s 6-4, pushing 6-5, a solid 235 pounds and has high level athletic ability. He is already a talented edge rusher who can explode past an opposing tackle but has more than just a speed move and can beat his man in a variety of ways.
He always looks on balance and doesn’t run himself out of position by trying to run around the edge every play but has the ability to shed blockers at the point of attack and the strength to hold his ground on plays run directly at him. He’s tremendous in pursuit and routinely runs down plays from behind and shows off a great motor to match his skill level.
Locally, USC is doing well but Thibodeaux is a national recruit who has already visited LSU and loved his time in Baton Rouge. The Alabama Crimson Tide, Michigan Wolverines, Stanford Cardinal, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns and UCLA Bruins are just a few other schools making a big push for the rush end at this time.
Daniels was a Pop-Warner legend and someone everyone already knew about before he even entered high school. He made an immediate impact as a freshman at Mater Dei and put up video game numbers this past season. Daniels was 315-423 (75%) for 4,849 yards and threw 67 touchdowns with just six interceptions.
What makes Daniels so special? He has an advanced feel for the game that is almost at a college level right now. He is such a smart, high IQ quarterback, knows where to go with the football and his ability to read a defense and throw with timing and anticipation is extremely high.
He has a quick release and can throw from different arm angles depending on whether he’s in the pocket or rolling to his right or left. His accuracy is tremendous and he throws with tremendous touch down the field. He shows poise and a fearlessness and isn’t afraid to stand in the pocket and take a shot to get rid of the football.
Daniels also has a tremendous work ethic off the field and an almost manic desire to be great and get to the highest level of football. He has worked hard this off-season to improve his pocket mobility and quickness and should have another huge season when the pads come on.
On the recruiting front, Daniels just visited USC twice in the last week and the Trojans are doing well here. Stanford and Washington are also extremely high on his list and he said he plans to visit Michigan and Nebraska in July.
The No. 3 rated player out West is Concord (Calif.) De La Salle’s Henry To'oto'o, who checks in at No. 8 nationally. A year ago at this time, the two players battling for the No. 1 spot in the West were quarterback Matt Corral and wide out Jalen Hall but linebacker Palaie Gaoteote blew past both by the middle of their junior seasons.
Could lighting strike twice this year with To’oto’o? It would not shock us as the ‘backer is a big time talent and jumps off the screen when you watch him. He’s a blur blowing past blockers and getting in to the backfield, flashing tremendous quickness and closing speed.
Coming from De La Salle, you know To’oto’o is going to be well coached and physical and both traits are easy to see with him. He hits like a truck, doesn’t run around blockers but takes them head on and wins every physical battle. He’s smart and instinctive, shows great timing on the blitz and is very comfortable playing in space and making plays in the flat.
Surprisingly, To’oto’o’s recruitment hasn’t taken off nationally just yet as his offers are all from the Pac-12. Arizona, Cal, Colorado, Oregon, UCLA, Washington and Washington State have offered up to this point but we expect that list to double very shortly.
Two other players who cracked the national top 20 and round out the top five out west are Honolulu (Hawaii) St. Louis defensive lineman Faatui Tuitele and Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei athlete Bru McCoy.
Title checks in at No. 11 nationally and is a player that wowed us at the Nike Opening Regional Camp in Los Angeles. He shows a great combination of power and quickness, has a strong body and flashes the talent to project as both a run stuffer who can also get to the quarterback.
McCoy comes in at No. 19 nationally and can play several different positions in college. Wide receiver looks to be his favorite spot but he might have even more upside down the road as a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end. He’s a natural pass rusher who can fly around the edge and is very comfortable in space.
Others in the National Top 50
The top running back in the region is Oakland (Calif.Bishop O’Dowd’s Austin Jones, who ranks as the No. 21 player in the nation. Jones is both quick and fast, can hit the hole and explode up the field. He’s a decisive back who can you miss in the open field and flashes home run ability.
Santa Clarita (Calif.) Golden Valley linebacker De'Gabriel Floyd is an early commitment to USC and is already among the top ‘backers in the region as a junior. The No. 24 player in the class is a physical kid, a good all around athlete and plays with a calmness that is rare for such a young player. The game just looks easy for him.
Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco defensive back Chris Steele is a part of a loaded Braves ’19 class. The UCLA commit is the No. 29 player in the class has a safety frame but is a shutdown corner and runs well enough to stay as a corner in college. He’s a physical player who excels in press coverage but can defend and make plays down the field as well.
Orange Lutheran’s (Calif.) Kyle Ford is the top rated receiver in the region and checks in at No. 32 nationally. Ford reminds us a little of a young Juju Smith in terms of his size, speed and playing style. He’s too physical to jam at the line but has the speed to get behind a defense.
Pittsburg (Calif.) defensive lineman Jacob Bandes is the No. 36 player in the nation and has looked very good this off-season. He was our choice for DL MVP at the recent Oakland Nike Opening Regional Camp, showing off a great burst and get off at the snap and was just physically overwhelming opposing offensive linemen.
The early choice for top offensive lineman in the region is San Juan Capistrano (Calif.) San Juan Hills tackle Sean Rhyan, rated the No. 39 player nationally. Ryan actually looks good on both sides of the ball and will get looks as a defensive tackle but we really like his feet and athleticism and how he projects as a left tackle in college.
Checking in at No. 44 nationally is Graham Kapowsin (Wash.) quarterback Dylan Morris. Morris is a gamer, a winner and the guy you want leading your team. He may only be a shade under 6-1, but he can play for anyone and has all the physical tools needed to excel at the next level.
Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou linebacker Maninoa Tufono comes in as the No. 47 player in the nation. Tufono is a punishing hitter with the ability to play inside or outside in college. He can really stuff a hole and probably projects best as an inside ‘backer but we love the motor and nastiness he plays with.
The Rest of the 100
No. 51, Spencer Rattler QB, Phoenix (Ariz.) Pinnacle- Drawing early Johnny Manziel comparisons for his dual-threat ability.
No. 54, Mycah Pittman, WR, Calabasas (Calif.)- Older brother Michael, sophomore at USC, told his younger brother is a much better receiver than he was in H.S.
No. 59, Ethan Rae, TE, Orange Lutheran (Calif.)- Big, physical tight end who is strong enough to be an in-line blocker but can make plays in the passing game.
No. 62, Jonah Tauanu'u, OL, Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne- Big tackle prospect had a dominant sophomore season and has tremendous next level upside.
No. 65, Sean Dollars, RB, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.)- Will be given the keys to the offense this season and should put on a show with his dynamic, big play ability.
No. 69, Matthew Pola-Mao, DL, Phoenix (Ariz.) Mountain Pointe- Older brother Isaiah just signed with USC and Mathew has just as high of upside.
No. 72, Max Williams, DB, Gardena (Calif.) Serra- In terms of pure cover ability and instincts, you won’t find many better than Williams, regardless of class.
No. 77, Joshua Pakola, LB, Mountan View (Calif.) St. Francis- Versatile defender who can rush the passer off the edge but is very good against the run as well.
No. 80, Nathaniel Kalepo, OL, Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach- A true tackle prospect with the feet and natural athleticism colleges love.
No. 84, Marist Talavou, OL, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco- Versatile lineman who plays tackle for Bosco but likely moves inside and plays guard in college.
No. 87, Mase Funa, LB, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei- Physical, tough and active, Funa will make plays all over the field for the Monarchs this year.
No. 92, Charles Mincy, RB, Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey- Dynamic player on both sides of the ball, could also end up in the secondary.
No. 95, Josh Delgado, WR, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco- Explosive down field receiver with soft hands and the ability to make plays after the catch.
No. 98, Keyon Ware-Hudson, DE, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei- Ware-Hudson has a great frame and should be able to move inside and outside along the defense line.
Rounding Out the Top 125
No. 102, Isaiah Foskey, TE, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle
No. 105, Justus Legg, DE, Auburn Riverside (Wash.)
No. 108, Stephon Wright, DE, Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral
No. 109, Jamaal Bell, RB, Lancaster (Calif.) Paraclete
No. 124, Hank Bachmeier, QB, Murrieta Valley (Calif.)