RENTON, Wash. (BVM) – High school football season is right around the corner all around the country. With teams and players all over Washington hitting the field and getting ready for the season it should be an exciting couple of months with a lot of talent and college commits competing for a state title.
Here’s a look at the top 10 senior football players in the Class of 2023 in the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA).
10. Andre Piper-Jordan Jr. – CB, Federal Way
The 6-foot-1, 165-pound cornerback is a three-star recruit committed to play for the Oregon State Beavers. Last season, Piper-Jordan played both sides of the ball also playing wide receiver. He finished first-team all-league as both a defensive back and a wide receiver as he helped lead the Federal Way Eagles to a 4-5 record. Playing both sides of the ball shows in Piper-Jordan Jr’s game as his vision and understanding of the wide receiver position help him intercept and break up passes. With his speed and great hands, he is a player that opponents are not going to want to try to throw the ball at because there is always a high chance of incompletion or a turnover.
9. Heath Ozaeta – OT, Mount Si
A 6-foot-6, 280-pound three-star recruit committed to the University of Oklahoma, Ozaeta has a way of commanding the line on offense. With his big frame and clear natural strength, Ozaeta can protect his quarterback as well as be a big factor in Mount Si’s run game this season. Last season the team put up 15 rushing touchdowns and 1070 rushing yards. If they can build off that with Ozaeta at the helm, the run game can be a serious threat and a big part of Mount Si’s success.
8. Landen Hatchett – IOL, Ferndale
Similar to Ozaeta, Hatchett is a big presence on the offensive line. Coming in at 6-foot-3 and 290 pounds, he is not someone that a lot of defensive linemen want to be lined up again. It is safe to say that you will see a lot of pancake blocks from Hatchett this season and he should really help the Ferndale run game with the way he controls the line. He will look to build off of the Golden Eagles’ 7-3 record last season in his senior campaign before heading off to the University of Washington.
7. Kade Eldridge – TE, Lynden Christian
Eldridge was part of the Lynden Christian team that lost in the semifinals of the 1A state playoffs last year. He and the Lyncs will be back this year looking to grab that title crown. Eldridge is 6-foot-5, 235-pounds and can play both sides of the ball. As a defensive end he is quick off of the line and gets to the ball carrier quickly. At his primary position of tight end, Eldridge is not scared to run through anyone and is tough to bring down. He will be heading to the University of Southern California after high school to continue his football career.
6. Isaiah Carlson – LB, Ferndale
Another Ferndale Golden Eagle, Carlson is a 6-foot-1, 206-pound four-star recruit who is still undecided about his career after high school. Another athlete on this list who excels on both sides of the ball. On offense, he plays running back where last season he totaled 105 carries for 789 yards and nine touchdowns. And everything that Carlson does on the offensive front also shows on the defensive side of the ball. With his speed and strength combined with his vision, he is a force to be reckoned with in the run game. He is great at reading the play and getting to the ball quickly. Carlson should help the Golden Eagles on both sides of the ball this season as they look to improve on their 7-3 record of a year ago.
5. Micah Banuelos – IOL, Kennedy Catholic
Banuelos is a 6-foot-5, 285-pound four-star recruit committed to the University of Southern California. After helping the Kennedy Catholic Lancers go 6-3 last season, look for Banuelos to be a steady presence on the offensive line to help his squad.
4. Gabarri Johnson – QB, Lincoln
Johnson is going to be the quarterback to look out for the most in Washington. Committed to the University of Missouri, the four-star 6-foot, 200-pounder is the definition of a dual-threat. He led Lincoln to a 6-3 record and 352 points as a team in 2021 and Johnson put up 2,959 yards with 43 total touchdowns, 28 of them came through the air while he added 15 more on the ground. A defense can not let its guard down when Johnson has the ball in his hands. He can throw the ball past you and he can run past you too. He has a strong arm, a strong pocket presence, and a run game that looks practically unstoppable. Johnson should be very fun to watch this upcoming season and in his career after high school.
3. Jayden Limar – RB, Lake Stevens
Limar is a threat with the ball to any opponent defense. His speed is second to none and if given space he will make an opponent pay. Even if there isn’t much space, he will turn it into a big play. Coming in at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, Limar is a four-star recruit committed to Notre Dame after Lake Stevens. He is a big play machine on every play and can even be a big threat down the field in the passing game.
2. Jasiah Wagoner – CB, Spanaway Lake
Wagoner is a player with great hands. He tallied one interception, one pass deflected and one forced fumble last season for Spanaway Lake; it seems to be more of a case that teams don’t try to test him. But when the ball does get into the opponent’s hand, Wagoner closes in quickly as he had 27 tackles. But like many athletes on this list, Wagoner played both offense and defense and his numbers showed just how good he is at catching the football. He had 34 receptions, 521 yards and six touchdown receptions. He can make a contested catch and is someone who will be able to make a play when the ball is near him. Wagoner is 5-foot-11 and 170-pounds and is committed to play at the University of Oklahoma after his high school career comes to an end.
1. Caleb Presley – CB, Rainier Beach
Presley is going to be the player to watch for the most in Washington this season. The 6-foot, 180-pound corner is a four-star recruit committed to Oregon. He is quick, has great vision and is an absolute ballhawk. Any throw near him has the potential to be intercepted. With Presley being the leader of the Rainier Beach defense, the team should be able to stay in every game it plays. In fact, last season, the only loss it had that was by more than two points was in the team’s playoff defeat. It should be exciting to see just how well Presley will do in his final go-around of high school football before moving on to college.