By Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s more an eye test than anything else. Compiled stats don’t always tell you how good an offensive lineman is or the impact a defensive tackle makes. So we’ll depend on input from area coaches, what we saw last year, and the feedback that we’re getting this summer.
To kick off the high school football season, which officially begins next Monday, Aug. 11th when training camps open, here is a look at the best of the best players this coming season in Southeastern, PA.
John Reid, St. Joseph’s Prep Sr. DB/WR: The 5-10, 190-pound cornerstone of the Hawks is the most prized recruit in the area. He’s gotten offers from everywhere, including Penn State, Alabama, Miami, Notre Dame, just to name a few. He has game-changing ability, and expect more from him this year offensively, though he’s being recruited as a cornerback. He’s best player in Southeastern Pennsylvania and probably the state. No team will throw his way—if they’re smart.
Ryan Bates, Archbishop Wood Sr. OT: The 6-5, 285-pound Penn State commit is, like Reid, one of the best players in the state. He has great feet, great hands, plus he’s more than a little nasty. He will be a major reason why the Vikings repeat as PIAA Class AAA state champions this year.
Jon Daniel Runyan, St. Joseph’s Prep Sr. OT/DT: One day soon maybe people will be stopping former Eagle great Jon Runyan on the street and asking, “Aren’t you Jon Daniel’s dad?” Jon Daniel really blossomed last year. The 6-6, 285-pound Michigan commit is looking more and more like his father, and is gaining that evil edge his dad had, too. All you need to know about Jon Daniel is that in his biggest game, last year’s state championship against Pittsburgh Central Catholic, he played his best ever. He was a one-man demolition squad, and for as large as he is—and still growing, has very nimble feet. Barring injury, he stands a good chance to play on Sundays like his daddy did.
Jake Cooper, Archbishop Wood Sr. LB: Call Wood Penn State East. The 6-3, 235-pound Nittany Lion commit is fast, quick, strong, and plays with a reckless abandon. He has the innate instincts as a superb run defender and the boundless energy of a great pass rusher. Most high school offenses don’t game plan around one defender, but anyone that faces Wood better find where No. 6 is.
Kyle Shurmur, La Salle Sr. QB: The 6-4 220-pound Vanderbilt commit has been very impressive this summer—throwing to Eagles’ receivers at training camp. Kyle, the son of Eagles’ offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, wowed everyone that saw him at the NovaCare Complex with his accuracy and arm strength. Kyle has great feet and beyond-his-age knowledge of the game. He threw for 2,472 yards last year, according to TedSilary.com, breaking almost every passing record in La Salle’s storied offensive history. If anyone can upset the St. Joe’s Prep juggernaut it could be Kyle.
Josh Adams, Central Bucks South Sr. RB: The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Notre Dame commit tore an ACL early last October, yet still rushed for 738 yards and 10 touchdowns, according to the Doylestown Intelligencer. He gained the attention of big-time schools by rushing for 2,091 yards and 28 touchdowns as a sophomore. Despite coming off the injury, he’s still one of the most dangerous game-breakers in the area.
Olamide Zaccheaus, St. Joseph’s Prep Sr. RB/DB: The 5-8, 180-pound speedster just committed to Virginia. He ran for a team-leading 875 yards, according to TedSilary.com, and rushed for a team-best 12 TDs. He’s explosive, deceptive and can now enjoy his senior year knowing his college destination.
D’Andre Swift, St. Joseph’s Prep So. RB: Yep, the 5-8, 185-pound speedster makes this list. He’s one of the fastest runners in the nation in his age group and showed how dynamic he could be after rushing for 635 yards on 113 carries and four touchdowns, according to TedSilary.com. He has the versatility to catch in the open field, with 33 receptions for 424 yards and five touchdowns his freshman year. He could be the most dangerous player in Southeastern Pennsylvania, along with Adams, in the open field.
Collin DiGalbo, Bonner-Prendergast Sr. QB: The 6-3, 220-pound DiGalbo has a cannon for an arm, and a never-say-die attitude. He threw for 1,636 yards with 16 touchdowns and a QB rating of 118.50, according to the Delco Times. Above all, he doesn’t flinch under adversity. He directed the Friars to a 41-38 come-from-behind victory over archrival Cardinal O’Hara in the Catholic League Class AAA semifinals last year—after the Friars were trailing 35-7 at halftime.
D.J. Moore, Imhotep Charter Sr. WR: The 6-0, 200-pound Maryland commit caught 39 passes for 827 yards and 13 touchdowns last year, according to TedSilary.com. He has great size and speed to stretch the field. Moore chose the Terps, the new guys in the Big 10, over Penn State, Purdue and Illinois, Boston College, Pitt and Rutgers.
Honorable mentions: Cary Angeline, Downingtown East Jr. TE; Ryan Bischoff, Plymouth Whitemarsh Sr. OG; Ray Bordley, West Chester Rustin Jr. OT/DT; Ryan Buchholz, Great Valley Sr. DT/OT; Samir Bullock, Archbishop Ryan Sr. RB; Shawn Harris, St. Joe’s Prep LB; Jimmy Herron, La Salle Sr. DB/WR; Alex Hornibrook, Malvern Prep Sr. QB; Tyler Higgins, Bonner-Prendergast Sr. TE/DB; Jonah Jackson, Penncrest Sr. OL/DL; Tom Johnson, St. Joe’s Prep Sr. DB; Andrew Jones, Unionville Sr. OL; Dimetri Kelly, Roman Catholic Sr. DB; Terry Loper, W.C. Rustin Sr. RB; Hayden Mahoney, Malvern Prep Sr. OT; Jarrett McClenton, Archbishop Wood Sr. RB; Brandon McIlwain, C.R. North Jr. QB; D’Andre Pollard, Neshaminy Sr. RB; Charles Snorweah, Pennsbury Sr. DB/RB; Jay Stocker, Coatesville Sr. WR/DB; Jake Strain, St. Joe’s Prep Sr. DE/DT; Frank Tranzilli, North Penn Sr. OT; Naseir Upshur, Imhotep Charter, Jr. TE; Nick Vandevere, St. Joe’s Prep Jr. LB; Benny Walls, St. Joe’s Prep Jr. DB; Nyfease West, North Penn Jr. RB; Bryan White, W.C. Henderson Sr. DL; Henry Winebrake, Upper Dublin Jr. LB.
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