Part of the Bay Area News Group

30Q-2-KICKOFF (Day 1): Who will be the best in 2012?

By Jimmy Durkin
Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 at 10:00 am in 30 Questions to Kickoff, East Bay Football.

Yes, it’s time again for your favorite summer time feature: 30 Questions to Kickoff, our annual journey to the start of the high school football season. If it seems like we’re starting this early this year, we are. The first day teams are eligible to play games in Thursday, Aug. 24. Yowsers! There will be a decent slate of games that weekend and everybody will be underway the following week on Aug. 31, meaning August football for everyone! That means an early start to 30Q-2-K. So early, that Ben and I are both still away on vacation as we post this. Thank goodness for technology on the ability to auto-schedule posts.

We’ll start this off with an ol’ favorite.

Who will be the East Bay Player of the Year in 2012?

Jimmy Durkin: There are some good candidates to choose from this year. Of course, last year’s player of the year was only a junior in Concord’s Olito Thompson. The record-setting running back will easily be one of the top players to watch this year. There are players like USC commit Michael Hutchings of De La Salle and Washington commit Darrell Daniels of Freedom. But I’m going to go with a guy who had already had two great years on the gridiron and could be poised for another one. That’s James Logan’s Warren Miles Long. The Northwestern commit will be a third-year starter at running back for the Colts. He racked up 2,859 yards during his sophomore and junior years for Logan. If he can deliver similar numbers, along with continuing to deliver strong play at linebacker, he could jump from his spot last year as a first-team All-East Bay running back up into the player of the year talk.

Also, with Logan competing as a independent, whatever numbers he does deliver will have some extra significance. The Colts are playing a solid schedule this year, with games against Reed-Sparks (Nev.), San Ramon Valley and Del Oro-Loomis the highlights. If he can near 1,500 yards and 20 TDs and help Logan make a deep playoff run, I think he could be a very strong POY contender.

Ben Enos: Jimmy has started the season with some outside the box thinking, which I like. Long is going to be a beast this season.

It feels wrong to me to not pick the defending player of the year here. Thompson was just a sheer force last season, and as crazy as it sounds, I think he has the potential to be a much better football player this season. I underlined football player because I think he’s going to get less carries and, as a result, play more on defense this year. I would not want that dude coming at me if I had the ball.

I really think Daniels is going to be a show-stopper this year as well. Not many players in recent memory have had his explosiveness on both sides of the ball. He’s also got a very good quarterback in Dante Mayes, and Daniels is going to be a leader this season for Freedom. If he lands this award come season’s end, absolutely no one should be surprised.

My pick though comes from the home of the defending CIF Open Division champs. I’ve covered De La Salle up close for the past two seasons, and I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with two of the smartest, toughest players I’ve ever met in Blake Renaud and Michael Barton. Both physical, instinctive players at the middle linebacker position who are going to be fantastic college players. Michael Hutchings has the ability to be that next leader of De La Salle’s defense.

I think this year’s defense at De La Salle could be scary good. You don’t see a collection of talent like that very often. I think Hutchings has that Renaud/Barton-type ability to lead both with his pads and his brains. Also, if needed, he can make plays on offense as well. I think if he fills the leadership void left by Barton, he will join that list of elite DLS linebackers.

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • bval

    Freedom’s Daniels is hands down the best athlete in the entire bay area and he has the most D-1 potential. I think some other guys in the area might be better football players overall but he is a physical specimen.

    I would caution giving him the player of the year award now, he has a lot of hype and media attention surrounding him. He has had some character issues in the past (seems he has cleared them up now) but still, the hype and attention could bring along added pressure and although I’d like to see him succeed there is a chance the hype could flat out overwhelm him.

  • TJ

    I disagree, he still is very immature… from the brief moments I seen at Laney. They were just too obvious. But ya the kid is built like a grown man.

  • http://aol BigDog

    Does Daniel’s play defense?

  • http://ibabuzz.com PERKIN

    Not even gonna mention Stevens from Campo?

  • ManDown

    I think another name to look out for is Marcellus Pippins from El Cerrito High. He is one of the best “athletes” in the bay area and is a bit under rated IMO. You will see him line up everywhere on the field and he puts on a show when the ball is in his hands.

  • EBfootball

    What about a pre-season All East Bay team? One of the WR’s,LB’s, and RB’s covered so far.

  • mvalfan

    Everyone needs to check out the RB from Moreau Catholic. Name is Jason Hinton, will be a sophmore this year and will start at RB. He is a freak of nature. Not sure how he ended up at moreau, but I have heard great things about this kid. Saw him play as a freshman last season on jv and he was truly a man among boys. Big time special teams threat. And i kow its only passing league but saw him also at San Lorenzo passing league and hands down no one could check him off the line and he flew past people. Just keep an ear out for the kid. HAs threw the rook potential.

  • mvalfan

    Everyone needs to check out the RB from Moreau Catholic. Name is Jason Hinton, will be a sophmore this year and will start at RB. He is a freak of nature. Not sure how he ended up at moreau, but I have heard great things about this kid. Saw him play as a freshman last season on jv and he was truly a man among boys. Big time special teams threat. And i kow its only passing league but saw him also at San Lorenzo passing league and hands down no one could check him off the line and he flew past people. Just keep an ear out for the kid. HAs through the roof potential.

  • DJ

    @Mandown good call El Cerrito has a couple D1 athletes in addition to Pippins also Jalen Harvey bigtime WR ,Derik Calhoun LB and also Marshon Ardoin big quick RB Ec is loaded coaching is lacking not very creative offensively with the amount of athletes they have but should have a good year.

  • http://ibabuzz.com PERKIN

    No doubt the talent is there at EC & always been. But are you all saying that they are gonna win their league? Or they have better players then everyone else but can’t win their league?

  • 617lemon

    el cerrito alwayz has da horses but dat head coach aint da sharpest tool n da shed! winning there league shouldnt b 2 difficult if they can beat pinole valley n salesian.

  • ManDown

    EC has all type of talent on the roster. No doubt they should be much better than what they have shown over the years. If they don’t win league and win at least one playoff game this season then coach Kenny Kahn should remove himself as the head coach just because he can’t get it done. I believe he’s been there since 2008 and its time to do something with those horses you have.

  • Moreaufan2

    I think EC has all the tools to be super successful this year. I cant agree on Kahn, he is a good coach, and sometimes ur not going to be the smartest coach but being able to put good coaches around you is the key, and I think he has that, plus a load of talent, so we will see!!!

  • DJ

    Ec definitely has more talent this year than in recent years but their offensive scheme is underwhelming always seem to waste these athletes with plain offensive game plan

  • DJ

    If Ec had an imaginative offensive cordinator like Macy at campolindo they would be unstoppable come playoff time you have to rely more on coaching than just athletes Kahn is weak when it comes to making halftime adjustments with the x’s and o’s ….will admit though their off season program is excellent and ec has a pipeline from one of the top pop warner programs in the state the Richmond Steelers also they are finally getting their field turf installed for next season

  • Uglyfball

    An under tha radar player to watch this season Is RB/FS from Clayton Valley Joe Protheroe. I’ve watched this kid play since his frosh days on Var at MT. He was first team all league both ways last two years. Dont be surprises if him and Olito battle for the league title and POY. This new run oriented offense they are running at CV should feature mr. Protheroe

  • Dragon

    EC and O’dowd scrimmage in 3 weeks… looking forward to watching some talent go at it

  • DJ

    @Dragon where when and what time is that scrimmage? Would love to see that

  • Dragon

    friday August 17th 7:00@ odowd

  • Oh Boy

    Finally catching up on the 30Q.

    It looks like EC has a strong fan base among prep fans. Gonna be interesting too see how they fare in the new league w/ all the privates like Valley Christian and Salesian. Will be in the house for the EC/O’Dowd scrimmage looking for playmakers!

  • http://aol BigJoe

    El Cerrito always a great fan base. Those under the lite games at their old field were stirring!
    Sammy Burns, Battle and Greg Williams supplied some big time horsepower in the ealy seventies. Rember when they started out 5-0 and beat Vallejo and broke Alameda’s 29 game win streak with Williams going 49 around end after bouncing off a tackler. BHS also started out 5-0.When the dust cleared at season’s end the guachos 6-3, BHS 5-4 and St. Mary’s 7-2, outranking and winning their league over the area’s teams.