Team Preview: Saddleback

Saddleback is coming off a solid 2011 season that saw them go 8-3 and this year they will try and improve on that record with several top prospects who are already getting attention from several four-year programs. takes a look at which top prospects to keep an eye on this fall and what fans can expect...

One reason for concern for the Gauchos is the fact that QB Ben Gomez, who passed for 3,651 yards with 33 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions.

Vying for the starting job will be San Diego State bounceback Colton Morrison as well as several promising freshmen.

Whoever wins the starting job under center for Saddleback this fall, he will have a solid target in Terrell Johnson who finished second on the team with 48 receptions for 632 yards and four touchdowns.

The running back duties will, at least early on, will fall to a committee of tailbacks who have yet to distinguish themselves.

Every year, Saddleback produces at least a couple of sought-after linemen and the three getting attention from schools already are C Drew Miner, G Alex Dole and G Braden Peterson.

They will be counted on to lead the way for the Gauchos' rushing attack and to keep the new quarterback upright.

On defense, Saddleback has several prospects that will play at the next level, including DE Jake Belnap who is big enough to play inside, but quick enough to get a good push outside as well.

As a freshman last season, Belnap put up solid numbers, posting 27 tackles, 5.5 tackles-for-loss and one sack in eight games.

Darnell Morris and Erik Nelson will man two of the linebacker spots.

Nelson had a very good freshman campaign in 2011, posting 41 tackles, 12 tackles-for-loss and six sacks and Morris also was a solid contributor racking up 34 tackles from his middle linebacker spot in eight games.

The secondary has three prospects to keep an eye on this fall.

Cornerbacks Yogi Hale and Denzel Wilson both lock it down in coverage while safety J.B. Torsy is a solid tackler who can cover a lot of ground in the deep patrol.

The Gauchos have a tough first three games of the season with a game against Mt. San Antonio this weekend to start their schedule and then travel to Canyons before returning home to take on Riverside.

Things don't get easier with games against Ventura, Fullerton and Palomar on the road toward the end of the season, but with their productivity last season as well as the talent they have coming up this fall, the Gauchos have a chance to be a team to contend with as the season moves along.

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