Posted On: 02/25/21 10:17 PM
Below we will take a deep look into some of the top players that will be clashing in the next few weeks in the SFL showdown between Whitney and Rocklin. Both teams have FBS caliber players and some who are signed to play Division I football after this Spring season.
OL/DL Bobby Piland Bobby Piland 6'2" | DL Rocklin | 2022 State CA -Rocklin
Already holding multiple FBS offers from the likes of Army, Cal Poly and Yale among others, Piland is one of the most physically dominating players in the ’22 class in the entire state. A true technician at the position, he plays with great first step explosion, heavy hands and has the ability to rush the passer from various different angles while winning with bend, quick use of hands and a high motor/toughness. A polished pass rusher that can also convert speed to power, he will be one of the most dominating players across the region this Spring.
OL Ilaisa Gonebure-Rocklin
A transfer from Capital Christian and currently signed to SDSU, Gonebure has ideal size for the tackle position and moves very well in space while staying patient in pass pro/keeping a strong base and gets his hands on defenders in a hurry while anchoring against counter moves.
LB Derek Houston-Rocklin
One of the top 2023 players in the region, Houston is a FBS caliber player and should sign with a FBS or FCS school by the time he wraps up his high school career. Houston will compete as a Sophomore for a starting linebacker spot on the Thunder defense and is a versatile playmaker with natural instincts, is a strong tackler and is fluid in the open field while athletic enough to cover and drop in zone coverage.
OL/DL Cole Gustafson-Rocklin
Good sized player that can continue to add weight to his frame and has good length, he will be one of the top OL/DL in the SFL this year. During his Junior season, Gustafson won with initial power and natural strength while having a quick set in pass pro, active and accurate hands and playing with good toughness and physicality at the point of attack. Projected as a guard at the next level, he should continue to see college interest come his way.
QB Richie Watts-Rocklin
A very smart player that scans the entire field and is a talented signal caller, Watts is a mobile quarterback that has sneaky athleticism and can push the ball vertical in a hurry. Showing fluid and coordinated mobility in the pocket, Watts can throw into tight windows down field while having a strong enough arm to throw across to the opposite hash and is not afraid to check it down and take what’s given.
QB Kenny Lueth-Rocklin
Lueth is somewhat of an unknown as he played JV during his Sophomore season but will be one of the top quarterbacks in the region by the time it’s all said and done. Last season, Lueth was very impressive and showed good arm talent and ideal size for a pocket passer. He is very accurate on deep balls while getting enough air under his throws to throw receivers open and can throw across his body with good spin. Standing strong in the pocket with fluid lateral movement abilities, he can also make defenders miss in the short area and tuck and run.
DE Evan Niemi-Rocklin
A true break-out player last season for the Thunder defense, Niemi is a talented pass rusher with good natural ankle/knee bend and has an active use of hands while having many pass rush moves in his toolshed. Greatly improving since last season and currently signed with Butler, Niemi is looking to have a huge season as an edge defender and should be one of the top sack leaders in the SFL this Spring season.
LB Teeg Slone-Rocklin
The hybrid linebacker can play anywhere on the second level and is fluid in space while breaking well to the ball, has good ball skills and natural instincts in coverage. Also a speedy and twitchy pass rusher, he has a quick first step get off and good bend off the edge while able to make tackles in space and flashing good closing speed.
LB Austin Hauptman-Whitney
A very active and downhill thumper, Hauptman is a very well put together linebacker that can play at least at the FCS level from the Mike position. An extremely physical and throwback player, he has terrific natural instincts and plays with a high motor and football IQ. A strong tackler both in the box and the open field, Hauptman runs well for his size and flashes the ability to get off blocks and take on bigger offensive lineman with a low pad level and strong shock. He will be one of the premier linebackers in the SFL and across the region this Spring.
ATHA Anthony Parker-Whitney
One of the best all around athletes in the region that has been flying under the radar, Parker has elite speed at the position and a strong build with the abiltiy to add more size to his frame. Able to play all over the field, he shows strong hands, good tracking ability and the ability to separate from defenders in space. Parker will look to be one of the SFL break out players during this 2021 Spring season.
QB/LB Perry Payne-Whitney
A tough nosed player on both sides of the ball from his running back and linebacker position, Payne is a downhill runner with natural forward lean that can break arm tackles and runs behind his pads while bringing good thump upon contact. A three year Varsity player, Payne will be the primary signal caller this year as he will look to lead Whitney deep into the playoffs for a second straight season.
LB Dylan Hale-Whitney
Although undersized at the position, Hale is a very instinctual player that plays tough and sound from the linebacker position. A sure tackler that takes good angles in traffic and flashes closing speed and field awareness, he will be a very solid defender in the SFL.
WR/DB Nick Tawney-Whitney
Tawney can play all over the field at multiple different positions and is one of the most well rounded players in the league. Currently holding a roster spot offer from Chapman, Tawney is poised to break out this year as he is a big play receiver that can stretch the field and has fluid hips in space while flashing terrific ball skills and natural instincts from his corner position.
ATH Brandon Wong-Whitney
Very active from the third level, Wong made a big impact as a Sophomore for Whitney last season and is a big time hitter with terrific range and closing speed. Very smart in zone coverage and forcing ball carriers to take false steps, Wong will solidify the back end for a well rounded defense.