CAC’s New Top 25 Catholic High School Football Poll, Presented by Siena Heights University and Global Football
August 23, 2017, 9:40 pm
2017 Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25
High School Football Preseason Rankings
Presented by Siena Heights University and Global Football
Aug. 23, 2017
By Christopher Lawlor
Catholic Athletes For Christ
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – So, are you ready for some football?
Welcome to the inaugural Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25 High School Football Rankings, presented by Siena Heights University and Global Football. What started as an idea a year ago is now a reality. That means Catholic high school programs nationwide will have a chance to earn a place in the CAC Top 25 and gain national recognition. Traditionally, Catholic schools boast some of the top teams in their respective states and in some cases, belong to leagues that are composed of Catholic schools.
Rivalries have been forged over the years and the CAC Top 25 will mirror that passion for the sport. We’ll preview the top games each week and present the exploits of top individual and team performances. With high schools traveling more in recent years, it allows the CAC Top 25 to get a true flavor of intersectional games that will shake up the rankings especially in the first month. Once the calendar reaches late September, teams will concentrate on local games and build their resume for the state playoffs, which start as early as mid-October in some states.
Top Four In Action
The most important game of the early season is Sept. 1 when it’s a mouthwatering 1 vs. 2 match between Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) in California. To keep you on the edge of your seats, this weekend No. 4 St. John Bosco travels to No. 3 St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) in a nationally televised game on ESPN at 7pm ET.
Here’s the rankings breakdown. The preseason CAC Top 25 features five schools from New Jersey and three from California, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The CAC Top 25 is represented by 12 states and the District of Columbia. Eleven schools captured state or conference championships in 2016.
Fans everywhere are encouraged to follow the CAC Top 25 through social media at www.Facebook.com/CACTop25 and on Twitter @CACTop25.
The CAC Top 25 rankings will return on Sept. 6 and then on Wednesdays throughout the regular season and until the conclusion of the postseason in December. In January, we will declare our National Champion. It’s a long season but it moves quickly when you are having a blast.
Enjoy the season and attend a game near you this weekend. – Christopher Lawlor
2017 Catholic Athletes for Christ Preseason Top 25, Aug. 23, 2017
Presented by Siena Heights University & Global Football
All players are seniors unless denoted. Records and statistics are from the 2016 season.
- Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas, Nev. (15-0)
Preseason Audibles: The Gaels roll out LB Palaie Gaoteote (USC), TE Brevin Jordan (Miami), OL Jacob Isala (6-foot-3, 275 pounds), DE Adam Plant (Arizona), LB Brandon Kaho (BYU), WR Jaden Mitchell (Arizona) and WR Jalen Nailor (Arizona State). Junior RB Amod Cianelli will see the majority of the carries but the development of dual threat QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson (UCLA commit) is crucial to his team’s success. A big road matchup with No. 2 Mater Dei is a massive test, so is the opening game.
Opens: Aug. 25 vs. No. 5 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.).
- Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (13-1)
Preseason Audibles: The return 10 starters on offense. Highly-touted QB JT Daniels (4,849 yards, 67 TDs passes, USC commit) has productive receivers in Amon-Ra St. Brown (21 TD receptions), CJ Parks (9 TDs, USC commit) and Nikko Remigio (7 TDs, California recruit). Jack Genova and Solomon Tuliaupupu lead the linebacking corps. A treacherous schedule includes a home game on Sept. 1 against top-ranked Bishop Gorman.
Opens: Aug. 25 vs. Bishop Amat (La Puente, Calif.).
- St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (13-2)
Preseason Audibles: The secondary is one of the best in the nation, featuring Al Blades Jr. (Miami), Asante Samuel (Florida State) and Trenell Troutman (Louisville). WRs Tavares Kelly (Virginia) and Elijah Moore and junior RB Daniel Carter are the main threats on offense.
Opens: Aug. 25 vs. No. 4 St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.).
- St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif. (14-1)
Preseason Audibles: The defending CIF Open Division state champions have roster that could pull it off again, including S Jaiden Woodbey (Ohio State), QB Re-al Mitchell (Iowa State) and DB Stephan Blaylock (UCLA). The high-powered offense features sophomore backup QB DJ Uiagalelei, who will see reps, and RB Demetrious Flowers. The opener is tough and so is a date with No. 2 Mater Dei on Oct. 13. The two will likely meet in the CIF Southern Section final in December.
Opens: Aug. 25 at No. 3 St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) on ESPN.
- DeMatha Catholic, Hyattsville, Md. (12-0)
Preseason Audibles: OT Evan Gregory and DT Austin Fontaine are both committed to nearby Maryland and DE John Morgan (6-2, 250) is headed to Pittsburgh. The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference is rugged with the likes of Gonzaga, St. John’s College and Good Counsel. A fifth straight WCAC won’t come easy to the Stags.
Opens: Aug. 25 vs. No. 1 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.).
- St. Joseph Regional, Montvale, N.J. (9-2)
Preseason Audibles: The Green Knights are in line to win a 19th state title with QB Nick Patti (Pittsburgh) at the controls and TE Matt Alaimo (6-4, 240) as a big target. Coach Augie Hoffman’s team will play an unreal schedule against ranked teams Bergen Catholic, Don Bosco Prep, St. Peter’s Prep and St. John’s College (D.C.). Expect SJR to face De Paul Catholic in the Non-Public Group 3 state final in December.
Opens: Sept. 2 vs. Deerfield Beach (Fla.).
- Bergen Catholic, Oradell, N.J. (7-4)
Preseason Audibles: Besides a loaded schedule, the Crusaders are flush with talent on both sides of the ball. QB Johnny Langan (Boston College commit) and junior RBs Josh McKenzie and Rahmir Johnson pace the offense and LB Javontae Jean-Baptiste is a monster defender.
Opens: Sept. 2 vs. DePaul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.).
- St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia, Pa. (14-0)
Preseason Audibles: The Hawks have won three of the four large-school state titles, including last year’s in first-ever Class AAAAAA. The passing combination of QB Marquez McCray and WR Darryle Simmons (Virginia Tech) is one of the best on the East Coast.
Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Tampa (Fla.) Jesuit.
- De La Salle, Concord, Calif. (11-2)
Preseason Audibles: If the Spartans return to the CIF Open Division Bowl final, USC-bound DT Tuli Letuligasenoa (6-2, 290) and RB Kairee Robinson (2,012 yards, 25 TDs) will lead the way.
Opens: Aug. 25 at Amador Valley (Pleasanton, Calif.).
- St. Xavier, Cincinnati, Ohio (10-5)
Preseason Audibles: The Bombers are fresh off winning the Division I state title in double overtime and will be among the favorite this season. Wisconsin-bound QB Chase Wolf threw for 1,291 yards and 15 scores and will eye receivers Cameron Specht, Matthew Fox and Andrew Wittrock.
Opens: Aug. 26 vs. Hinsdale (Ill.) Central in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown in Cincinnati.
- St. Peter’s Prep, Jersey City, N.J. (8-4)
Preseason Audibles: Notre Dame-bound twins Jayson and Justin Ademilola combined for 23 sacks a year ago and will be joined in South Bend by S Shayne Simon. S Zamir Mickens is committed to Rutgers.
Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Union City (N.J.).
- Loyola Academy, Wilmette, Ill. (13-1)
Preseason Audibles: The Ramblers advanced to the Class 8A championship game but came up short. Coach John Holecek will have his team ready again with stiff competition from the Chicago Catholic League Blue against Brother Rice, Mount Carmel, St. Rita and Providence Catholic. There’s an intriguing home game with Bishop Amat (La Puente, Calif.) on Sept. 1.
Opens: Aug. 26 at Phillips (Chicago, Ill.).
- Archbishop Wood, Warminster, Pa. (11-2)
Preseason Audibles: The defending Class AAAAA champions have LB Matt Palmer highlighting the defense and TE Kyle Pitts (6 TDs) will sign with Florida and S Nasir Peeples to Virginia Tech. The Vikings have a rugged opening to the season with three ranked teams but the local rivalry with No. 8 St. Joseph Prep is must-see on Sept. 15.
Opens: Aug. 25 at Oxbridge Academy (West Palm Beach, Fla.).
- Central Catholic, Pittsburgh, Pa. (14-2)
Preseason Audibles: Though graduation claimed a chunk of players who helped the Vikings win the WPIAL Class AAAAAA title and reach the state final, the Pittsburgh school reloads with DE David Green.
Opens: Aug. 25 at Cathedral Prep (Erie, Pa.).
- Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J. (6-5)
Preseason Audibles: Even though the Ironmen had a down season, the pieces are in place for recently hired coach Mike Teel. DT Tyler Friday (6-3, 270), DE Marcellus Earlington (6-5, 260) and S Kevin Brennan will kick-start the defense.
Opens: Sept. 1 at Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.).
- St. Ignatius, Cleveland, Ohio (13-2)
Preseason Audibles: The Wildcats advanced to the Division I final but fell in double overtime. Expect OT Darian Kinnard (6-6, 315) and Jack Jamieson (6-2, 275) to dominate the O-line. RB Mark Bobinski and WRs Connor Kennedy and Michael Drobnick are returning starters.
Opens: Aug. 24 at Archbishop Hoban (Akron, Ohio).
- Christian Brothers College, St. Louis, Mo. (11-2)
Preseason Audibles: QB Brett Gabbert passed for 2,965 yards and 31 TDs; WR/DB Kamryn Babb scored 14 TDs and WR Cameron Brown is committed to Nebraska. The Cadets opened last weekend against locals Miller Career Academy.
Next: Aug. 25 at Christian Brothers (Memphis, Tenn.).
- St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (8-4)
Preseason Audibles: A pair of defenders, DT Cameron Goode (Virginia Tech) and CB DJ Brown (Virginia) are off to ACC schools and pro-style QB Kevin Doyle is an impact transfer from the Philadelphia area. The Cadets welcome back five key offensive weapons, including Joachim Bangda, Keilan Robinson and Kwincy Hall.
Opens: Aug. 26 vs. Jones (Orlando, Fla.).
- Bishop Sullivan Catholic, Virginia Beach, Va. (7-3)
Preseason Audibles: Maryland-bound QB Tyler Desue is a dual threat who rushed for 243 yards and threw for 1,600 yards and 15 scores. LB Teradji Mitchell (6-2, 245) is the top defender and will sign with Ohio State.
Opens: Aug. 26 at American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.).
- Jesuit, Portland, Ore. (12-1)
Preseason Audibles: The Crusaders advanced to the Class 6A quarterfinals but will need a healthy RB Trey Lowe, who rushed for 1,765 yards and 34 TDs in eight games, before a rib injury ended his season. TE/LB Isaiah Henderson-Brazie and OL Travis Spreen are returning all-state selections.
Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Tigard (Ore.).
- Archbishop Rummel, Metairie, La. (7-4)
Preseason Audibles: After a down year, the Raiders are poised to regain the top spot in the New Orleans Catholic League (District 9-5A) with a high-powered receiving corps paced by Florida-bound Ja’Marr Chase.
Opens: Sept. 1 at Gulfport (Miss.)
- St. Edward, Lakewood, Ohio (9-3)
Preseason Audibles: The Eagles compete in the one of the nation’s toughest region’s (Ohio Division I, Region 1) and feature S Michael Dowell (6-0, 195), a Michigan State commit.
Opens: Aug. 25 at McDowell (Erie, Pa.).
- Trinity, Louisville, Ky. (15-0)
Preseason Audibles: Coach Bob Beatty’s team carries a 50-game win streak into the season after winning the program’s 24th state title last December. Texas-bound WR Rondale Moore is a candidate for Kentucky’s Mr. Football. The Shamrocks opened last week against Carmel (Ind.).
Next: Aug. 25 at Warren Central (Indianapolis, Ind.).
- St. Frances Academy, Baltimore, Md. (10-2)
Preseason Audibles: Two of the MIAA A Conference’s top recruits—DE Eyabi Anoma and OT Jaelyn Duncan (6-5, 300)—bolster the Panthers.
Opens: Sept. 1 vs. No. 19 Bishop Sullivan Catholic (Virginia Beach, Va.).
- Paramus Catholic, Paramus, N.J. (10-2)
Preseason Audibles: DE Dorian Hardy (6-5, 250) has verballed to Penn State and the Paladins play a loaded schedule, prepping them for a Non-Public Group 4 state title defense.
Opens: Sept. 2 at No. 13 Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.).
Others to Consider: De Paul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.); Dowling Catholic (West Des Moines, Iowa); McGill-Toolen Catholic (Mobile, Ala.); St. Paul’s School (Covington, La.); Chaminade (West Hills, Calif.); La Salle (Cincinnati, Ohio); St. Xavier (Louisville, Ky.) and Totino-Grace (Fridley, Minn.); Cathedral Prep (Erie, Pa.).
Global Football has also formed an alliance with Catholic Athletes For Christ to take high school-aged players to Italy, to participate in the inaugural 7-on-7 Roma Bowl tournament from June 10-17, 2018. Click here for more information for how to take your school on the visit of a lifetime: http://www.globalfootball.com/roma-bowl-2018/
About: The Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25 High School Football Rankings, presented by Siena Heights University and Global Football are released on Wednesdays from September until the conclusion of the high school season in December. Criteria include the quality of the team and its players, strength of schedule, tradition, and quality of the team’s league, conference, region or district. The rankings are compiled by Christopher Lawlor, an award-winning writer, who is a voting committee member and advisor for several major national high school events, including the McDonald’s All-American Games and Gatorade Player of the Year. All Catholic high schools from the United States that feature only four-year players on 11-man teams are eligible for consideration. Fans are encouraged to follow the CAC Top 25 at www.Facebook.com/CACTop25 and on Twitter @CACTop25.