Photo: Hudl-Jaden Genova

Posted On: 09/18/20 12:37 PM

California is loaded with high school football talent and top college programs flock to the state every year to fill their rosters.

While there are a ton of Power 5 caliber players in the area, there are even more players who can excel at the FCS, Division 3 and NAIA levels.

The players listed below are talented players that vary in their college appeal. Some of them have Division 3 offers but are worthy of FCS offers. Some of them have FCS offers but could easily play for a Group of 5 school. Some of them have no offers at all, but should.

Last week, I wrote about six Southern California sleepers to keep an eye on this upcoming season.

Here are a few sleepers in the Southern California area to watch when football starts in 2021.

Michael Bruner, Wide Receiver, Long Beach Wilson, Long Beach
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 195 pounds
GPA: 3.3

Analysis: This is one of the rare cases where my mind is blown. I typically have a good idea of which kind of school a player will fit in at the college level. I have no idea why Bruner only has one Division II offer from Lake Erie College when he easily should be getting FCS offers. He isn’t undersized, he isn’t slow, he is a solid route runner, he breaks tackles and plays against some of the top teams in the Section. He led Wilson in receiving with 1,078 yards and 18 touchdowns. In his last game, a 57-56 lost against West Ranch in the Division 7 playoffs, he caught 9 passes for 256 yards and four touchdowns. If he doesn’t get some FCS offers during his senior year, college coaches aren’t scouting Long Beach schools not named Poly or St. John Bosco enough.

Hudl link

Evan Comiskey, Defensive Tackle, Aliso Niguel, Aliso Viejo
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 250 pounds
GPA: 4.6

Analysis: Comiskey has the speed and pass rushing skills of a defensive end but lines up most often as a 3-technique. He has a vast skillset that gives an offensive line coach headaches. He has a good swim move to the outside, gets extension and reads running plays well and is a guy you have to combo block in the running game. He had 20 tackles, 6 sacks, 7 hurries and a forced fumble for the Wolverines last season and is the strongest player on the team in the weight room. Comiskey is an exemplary student and is a 2021 National Merit semifinalist. He has the ability to play at a FCS school, but he wants to go to college for academic purposes and will likely play at a superior academic school. Comiskey has offers from Carnegie-Mellon, Chicago, Johns Hopkins and MIT.

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Elliot DeGroote, Defensive Tackle, San Juan Hills, San Juan Capistrano
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 250 pounds

Analysis: San Juan Hills has been a factory for front seven guys who get in the backfield. Cade Albright (2019) signed with BYU and Tyler Wegis (2020) signed with Utah. DeGroote plays defensive tackle while those two played defensive end, but he causes havoc in the running game and draws double teams. DeGroote often lines up as a nosetackle or a 3 technique and is very aggressive. He had 50 tackles, 11 for a loss, 3 sacks, 11 hurries, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and an interception that he returned for a touchdown. DeGroote was First Team All-Sea View League and All-CIF last season and is playing in the tougher South Coast League next season against tougher competition, so we will see if he has the strength to make plays against tougher opponents. He should get some FCS offers during his senior year.

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Jaden GenovaJadenGenova6'0" | LBJserra Catholic | 2021StateCA, Outside Linebacker, JSerra, San Juan Capistrano
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 200 pounds
GPA: 3.3

Analysis: It’s hard to call a guy who has an offer from Oregon a sleeper, but Genova qualifies. The Ducks offered him before his junior season and since then he has offers from Idaho State and Lake Erie College. It’s not like he didn’t play well his junior year; he led the Lions with 84 tackles, 9 hurries and 3 forced fumbles which earned him All-County honors from the Orange County Register. Genova is an excellent edge pass rusher, hits hard and moves well laterally in the running game. He was one of the best defensive players on a team that played in the best league in the nation and should get more FBS offers during his senior season. I could even see him playing safety at the next level if asked to.

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Kyren Racheal, Wide Receiver, Long Beach Poly, Long Beach
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 175 pounds
GPA: 3.1

Analysis: Racheal is a very versatile receiver who can line up anywhere and make plays against various coverages. He makes plays with defenders all over him in man coverage and does a good job finding holes in zone coverage. He caught 18 passes for 290 yards and four touchdowns which earned him All-Moore League honors as a junior. He has giant hands which is why he makes those catches in traffic. Racheal is the team’s second leading returning receiver, behind New Mexico commit Keyonta LanierKeyontaLanier6'0" | ATHLong Beach Poly | 2021StateCA. He has no offers yet but as a featured part of the Long Beach Poly offense as a senior, he will likely get some FCS offers.

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Ryland Swarthout, Offensive Line/Defensive End, San Clemente, San Clemente
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 225 pounds
GPA: 4.0

Analysis: Swarthout is the kind of player that coaches love. He will play any position he is asked to and will work hard to modify is strength and training to fit said position. Swarthout played nearly every position on the offensive line for San Clemente, which earned him Second Team All-South Coast League honors, but I think he really shines as a defensive end. He had 42 tackles, a sack and two batted balls as a defensive end. He is a great pass rusher, particularly when he twists into the A gap, and is excellent at shedding blocks in the running game. Swarthout is undersized but he has worked incredibly hard in the weight room and he puts up weights like someone who is 50 pounds heavier. I can see him playing at a FCS school as an outside linebacker or defensive end, depending on the scheme. He has offers from Puget Sound and Benedictine College and bigger schools like Army and Weber State have showed interest.

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