Preseason Players to Watch
Top Offensive Player: WR Rolando Jefferson (6-2, 190), Fresno Edison. There is no bigger offensive threat in the West than Jefferson, aka Bubba. The standout displays an uncanny playmaking ability that is simply stupefying. He averaged just under 24 yards per reception in 2007 with 11 touchdowns for nearly 1,000 yards while sitting out the second half of most games. If Edison can find an adequate replacement for Jerry Davis at quarterback, Jefferson should shatter those numbers. Plain and simple, Bubba is raw. Academics may be an issue, but he should have a laundry list of schools begging for his services, including hometown Fresno State.
Top Defensive Player: LB Travis Brown (6-2, 225), Clovis West. He is arguably the best linebacker to ever come out of the Fresno area. Few if any defensive players before him are as sound and polished. Brown has amassed over 300 tackles the last two seasons. He is the quintessential Mike LB top programs at the next level covet. He compares his style of play to NFL standout A.J. Hawk. Brown can play sideline to sideline, but above all he is a student of the game. He is the son of Fresno State Defensive Coordinator Dan Brown. The Bulldogs are currently his top school, but many top programs will be after him, including family favorite Notre Dame.
Top Lineman: OT Greg Capella (6-5, 330), Visalia El Diamante. This gentle giant can plow through just about any defensive lineman when he wants to. While big, Capella is hardly "fat". He is flying a bit under the radar after helping the Miners to a 12-1 record and nearly earning a berth into the state Division II title game. His stock should rise after solid showing in spring and summer camps. In spite of loading up on offensive linemen in the 08 class, Capella could be a prospect Fresno State might not be able to pass up.
Top Specialist: CB Cliff Harris (6-0, 160) Fresno Edison. He was named MVP of the U.S. Army Combine in San Antonio last month as a cornerback. Nonetheless, he is just as good as a kick-returner. Defensively, he is the best DB to come through what is often referred to as the nation's top DB factory – Fresno Edison – according to position coach Tony Perry. Whether returning punts, kicks, or after an interception, when the ball is in his hands, Harris – aka "Woo" – is a threat to score any time. USC is hot on his trail with an official offer. Fresno State, Arizona, Oregon, and a host of other Pac-10 schools will have to out-duel the Trojans. But as Woo told us a few weeks back, he is in no hurry to make his decision.
Preseason Class of 2009 All-Central Cali Team
WR – Rashaun Schaefer (6-3, 190) Fresno Edison
OL – Damon Bragner (6-3, 285) Los Banos
OL – David Born (6-8. 330) Bakersfield
OL – Ben Savaii (6-0, 250) Taft
OL – Josh Hamlin (6-4, 260) Clovis East
OL – Luis Diaz (6-4, 285) Bakersfield Stockdale
TE – Evan Wolff (6-4, 225) Clovis
WR- Kenny Cooper (6-4, 225) Merced
QB – Cody Vaz (6-2, 182) Stockton St. Mary's
RB – Stephon Mathis (5-9, 185) Merced
RB – Demareya Nelson (6-2, 205) Stockton Chavez
UT – Nathan Fellner (6-0, 195) Clovis West
DL – Tevin Jackson (6-2, 240 ) Bakersfield
DL – Nikko Motto (6-3, 265) Sanger
DL – Nat Harrison (6-2, 220) Fresno Edison
DL – Nate Ware (6-2, 220) Visalia El Diamante
LB – James Guerrero (6-0, 215) Tulare
LB – Pat Su'a ( 6-2, 217) Bakersfield Highland
LB – Dexter Coward (6-1, 185) Atwater
SS – T.J. McDonald (6-2, 185) Fresno Edison
CB – Bernard Bolden (5-10, 180) Merced
CB – Brian Easter (5-10, 180) Fresno Central
FS – Marte Sears (6-2, 190) Fresno McLane
UT – Allen Huddleston (6-1, 170) Merced
PK – Colton Schmidt (5-11, 170) Bakersfield Liberty
P/AP – Ben Bowen (5-10, 200) Visalia Mt. Whitney
RS – Dion Curry (5-7, 160) Bakersfield West