PHOENIX (BVM) – One word to describe the premier players in Arizona’s group of high school seniors is large. Several of them are at least 6-foot-5, some close to 300 pounds. In addition, often overlooked linemen get ample attention here. These are the 10 best Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) football players in the Class of 2023.
10. Ja’Kobi Lane, WR, Mesa Red Mountain
Lane posted some serious numbers his junior season. He registered 76 receptions and a whopping 990 yards with 14 TDs. What’s more, Lane reports that his vertical leap is above three feet. At 6-foot-5, good luck trying to stop him over the top.
— Andrew Ivins (@Andrew_Ivins) June 10, 2022
9. James Durand, OL, Basha
These days, Durand is reported to be 6-foot-6 and nearly 290 pounds. He has grown tremendously, both in stature and as a player through his high school career. This University of Wisconsin commit should be quite comfortable with the Big Ten’s bruising style of play.
8. Caleb Lomu, OL, Gilbert Highland
Lomu is a 6-foot-5, 270-pound terror at left tackle. He earned multiple honors for his efforts in 2021. They include first-team in his region and Adidas All-American. Lomu is equally effective at holding the line or delivering hard knocks downfield. He remains uncommitted.
— Greg Biggins (@GregBiggins) March 27, 2022
7. My’Keil Gardner, DE, Peoria Liberty
Gardner is a powerful pass rusher who can line up at defensive tackle or end. He is unusually fast and deceptively quick for 280 pounds. The senior sack master has no shortage of suitors. He’s received numerous offers from upper echelon teams across the nation.
6. Elijah Paige, OL, Phoenix Pinnacle
The 6-foot-6, 300-pound Paige leads the way on the offensive line. He’s got nice footwork for his size, and a knack for knowing how to protect the quarterback. Paige committed to Notre Dame in June.
USC, Oregon, UCLA, Cal and Washington among the schools checking in on Phoenix (Ariz.) Pinnacle offensive tackle Elijah Paige at the Pioneers showcase https://t.co/wk1u3rAvMu pic.twitter.com/V8PXrUG9of
— Blair Angulo (@bangulo) May 18, 2022
5. Deric English, WR, Scottsdale Saguaro
English returns to action after an ACL tear sidelined him last season. This followed his transfer from Glendale Mountain Ridge in 2021. At 6-foot-4, English gives signal-callers a good-sized target and is known for making circus-like catches. Can he regain that spring in his step? Many leading NCAA scouts will be keeping a close watch on him.
— Zach Alvira (@ZachAlvira) October 16, 2021
4. Jackson Bowers, TE, Mesa Mountain View
The 6-foot-5 Bowers flat-out delivers – he caught 47 passes for 861 yards as a junior. At 230 pounds, he possesses a physicality to his game and certainly won’t shy away from contact. He makes plays all over the field and delivers punishing blocks. Bowers has yet to decide on his next move. Brigham Young University reportedly has an edge over the competition, which includes the reigning national champion Alabama Crimson Tide.
This why Mt View TE Jackson Bowers is a Power 5 recruit. 32 yard TD catch. Cuts Basha lead to 34-17 pic.twitter.com/f8gIYdPKHx
— Richard Obert (@azc_obert) November 6, 2021
3. A’mauri Washington, DL, Chandler HS
Washington ranks as the state’s No. 1 defensive tackle in his class. He took the leap in 2021 and emerged as a dominant talent. Right now, he is officially uncommitted. The 295-pounder is being chased by a cluster of major NCAA Division I programs. The University of Oregon is favored to secure his services.
1 of the top prospects not only in Arizona but throughout the west is DL A'mauri Washington 6'4" 300 Chandler HS. Remarkably quick feet, good strength, determination, strong hands and excellent body control. Has played both DE and DT. Class of 2023. 4*+ prospect.@MauriWashington pic.twitter.com/5HQE5Ry2rH
— Tom Lemming (@LemmingReport) April 12, 2022
2. Cole Martin, DB/PR, Chandler Basha
The four-star defensive back is a major weapon on special teams as well. Martin received more than 30 scholarship offers, and finally picked the University of Oregon. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound standout has been a varsity starter since his freshman year. He has only continued to improve since then. His quickness and versatility will be on full display with the Ducks.
— Just Chilly (@JUSTCHILLY) February 27, 2022
1. Duce Robinson, TE, Phoenix Pinnacle
Robinson is a unanimous pick at No. 1. He earns elite status as the lone five-star recruit in Arizona’s high school class of 2023. The 6-foot-6, 225-pound tight end has an ideal frame for the game, along with rare athleticism and great hands. He’s ranked among the top 20 senior pigskin prospects in the nation. The University of Southern California is rumored to be his school of choice.
— Gerard Martinez (@gmartlive) June 29, 2022