OK, so Jimmy and I introduced you to some teams we thought might surprise yesterday. Today, we’ll extend that thought process to some individuals that might be flying under the radar.
What players might have a breakout season this year?
Last year, we had some absolute studs break onto the scene. One was Monte Vista’s Bryce McGovern, who had a record-breaking season as just a junior. It seems like every year we have someone step onto the scene that we just weren’t expecting.
This year, I can think of a couple guys that might be flying under the radar a little. The first one that comes to mind is Concord WR Kelly Starnes. Concord throws… a lot. Starnes is going to be the No. 1 receiver in that high-powered offense, he has a Division I quarterback in Ricky Lloyd and he has hands that won’t quit (he’s a good baseball player too). He could put up monster numbers this year.
Another is new Las Lomas QB Jackson Miller. Those who follow swimming know the name. He’s already a NCS-title winner in the pool, and this year he takes over the Knights offense as just a sophomore. What makes him even more promising is the fact that he won’t be asked to do too much because Marquis Waters is the focus of the offense.
Finally, I’m going to pick someone that I just recently saw for the first time in California QB Drew Reil. I saw the Grizzlies at the Pittsburg scrimmage last weekend and, while there were some rough edges, you could see definite potential in Cal’s new signal-caller. I have to think that the underneath routes and screens that Dave Kravitz used extensively at San Ramon Valley will make an appearance in Cal’s offense, and I think they will serve Reil well in his attempt to hit the ground running.
Jimmy, what say you?
My first pick as a surprise, probably isn’t really that much of a surprise. But he is a guy that I think could become a household name. That’s Berkeley’s Michael Ned. He averaged nearly 10 yards per carry last year as Rickey Galvin’s backup and finished with over 700 yards and nine touchdowns. That came primarily during the second half of blowouts when he took over for Galvin. With him taking over the full load this year and still having a guy like OL Isaiah Henderson to run behind, I’d expect him to easily eclipse the 1,000 yard mark and work his way into the top-five in the East Bay in rushing.
I’ll stay in Berkeley for my next pick and go with St. Mary’s RB Isaac Richard III. He had a couple of big games toward the end of last season after Demetrius Brown-Ryan got injured and delivered quite well. Panthers coach Keith Minor praised his offseason work, saying he dropped about 15 pounds and is in great shape to have a breakout season as the primary back.
Alright, let’s hear from you who will emerge this season. And be sure to join us tomorrow as we wrap up our 30 Questions to Kickoff feature.