Block and Catch
In our next spotlight position we take a look at the big men who can block and still have enough athleticism to catch the ball as well.
Once again the state will lose some big time players from this position because of graduation. All three of these tight ends will be playing ball in college next season. Cal has received a commitment from Sabino's Cody Jones, Boise State has earned the services of Greenway's Ritchie Brokel and NAU will welcome Shaun Fitzpatrick to their program next season. Once again the question is who's coming back?
One of the state's top prospects for next season plays for the defending state champion Moon Valley Rockets. TE Jeff Jones (6-3 225) last season took over for ASU bound Andrew Pettes and quickly made a name for himself. Jones averaged over 14 yards a catch and found the end zone 9 times, big question is what will Jeff do as the opponents game plan to stop him this season. As with last year, one of the states top linebacker prospects doubles as one heck of a tight end. North's Cody Dowd has a chance to replicate what Greenway's Ritchie Brockel was able to accomplish. Dowd is a good blocker and has the size colleges love (6-3 225). What do they put in the water at Salpointe? Every year they have huge players and top flight division one kids. Next season will be no different, the Lancers feature one of the states better prospects in Andrew Berryhill (6-4 230). Berryhill has a chance to be the next Salpointe grad to get a major division one scholarship. Over in Scottsdale Ronnie Lucko (6-4 200) returns for his senior season hoping to help lead the Sabercats on another long playoff run. Lucko averaged over 14 yards a catch last season for the Sabercats, he should be a major factor next season. Mountain Pointe's Travis Hardee returns for the pride. As with the other players mentioned in this piece, Hardee excels in both blocking and catching and has size to go with it (6-2 200). Lastly, Amphi's Joe Smith (6-3 215) is out to prove his worth next season, Smith will be a major factor for the Panthers who hope to make a return to the playoffs next year.
Other to watch going into Spring Ball and Passing League:
AJ Jackson – Tucson
Mike Wendell - Catalina
*Please note, only seniors of 2005 were mentioned in this piece, look for a piece regarding underclassmen in the near future.