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It's all about the linemen in the West.
In eight states, an offensive or defensive linemen tops the list, with an offensive linemen heading the charts in six of them and defensive ends in the other two. Only the Big Sky state rankings (which includes Alaska, Idaho and Montana) and New Mexico State rankings have a skill position player at the top, in both cases a quarterback.
The Sacramento area is also home to the region's top skill position player, Shaquille Thompson, the nation's top safety, from Sacramento Grant, who could also be a five-star running back. San Clemente tackle Kyle Murphy is Southern California's top prospect, coming in at third in the state rankings. Monrovia defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy, Bellflower St. John Bosco receiver Bryce Treggs and Fresno Central cornerback Tee Shepard round out the group of Scout Top 50 members from the Golden State.
In the Arizona Top 100, Andrus Peat from Tempe Corona del Sol is the top prospect, and the number three prospect nationally by Scout.com. A close second is Scottsdale Chaparral's Davonte' Neal, a two-way threat in the Scout 100.
"Peat is massive, standing 6-7 and 305, but is light on his feet. He is as good as an offensive lineman as you will find in the entire country," said Jason Jewell, Southwest Recruiting Analyst. "Neal could play either wide receiver or corner at the next level and has offers on both sides of the ball. A varsity starter since his freshman year, Neal is looking to help the Firebirds win their second straight state title.
The Washington Top 50 has two members of the Scout Top 50, both offensive linemen, in the nation's top offensive guard, Puyallup's Joshua Garnett and five-star offensive tackle Zach Banner from Lakewood Lakes.
"Garnett might be the most college ready lineman in the country," said Jake Worthen, Northwest Recruiting Analyst.
"Thurston picked the Cornhuskers over offers from Arkansas, Notre Dame, Michigan and Colorado amongst about 20 other schools and Nebraska is getting a very sound player that has the ability to play multiple positions along the offensive line," said Jewell.
"Three players sit just outside the Scout 300 and have a chance to earn a fourth star over the season. Pleasant Grove (Utah) lineman Brandon Fanaika is one of the best guards in the West. South Jordan (Utah) Bingham linebacker Jared Afalava is a freak of an athlete and an ideal outside linebacker. And Hinds' teammate at Davis, offensive tackle Zach Lindsay, had also been committed to BYU before opening things up to take a look at Utah," said Worthen.
The Oregon Top 25 is led by an Oregon State verbal, and one of the top interior offensive linemen in the country in Corvallis' Isaac Seumalo, ranked fourth nationally among offensive guards. Portland Central Catholic defensive end Alex Balducci comes in behind Seumalo and he's a commit to the Beavers' rival, Oregon.
"Seumalo is an intense player with immaculate technique. His father coaches at Oregon State and Seumalo has already committed to staying home and playing for the Beavers," said Worthen. "Balducci is the next prospect in a string of talented defensive lineman Central Catholic has produced."
The Nevada Top 20 doesn't have the depth that it has had in years past, but the top two are as good a 1-2 punch as the state has produced in some time, and they're both offensive tackles, Las Vegas Bishop Gorman's Ronnie Stanley and Las Vegas Desert Pines' Jeremiah Poutasi, both members of the Scout 300."Both national level prospects and both are still very open in their recruitment," said Jewell. "Stanley is very athletic and could play either tackle spot while the massive Poutasi looks like a right tackle or guard."
"The two 6-7 bookends from the same high school, Honolulu Punahou are two of the top defensive linemen in the West and have their choice of Pac-12 programs," said Worthen.
The New Mexico Top 15 features a quarterback at the top, one of only two states in the West not led by a lineman, but one who could end up playing different positions in college in Rio Rancho Cleveland's Cole Gautsche.
"Gautsche is an amazing athlete and at 6-4 220, one could see him possibly playing tight end or linebacker at the next level," said Jewell. "Gautsche committed to New Mexico State very early on because the Aggies said they will let him play quarterback."
The Big Sky Top 5 which combines Alaska, Idaho and Montana, is topped by one of the nation's best passers, Eagle (Idaho) quarterback Tanner Mangum (a BYU commit) and followed by Butte (Mont.) defensive end Cody Carriger (an Oregon verbal).
"No prospect in the country raised his stock over the summer as much as Mangum," said Worthen. "Mangum was named co-MVP of the Elite 11 and showed very well at The Opening."