Most of the elite players from the 2020 Arizona high school football class have signed.
Some still in the upper echelon, such as Chandler linebacker Tate Romney and Gilbert Higley tight end Alex Lines, have yet to commit.
And there are many looking for the right opportunity to break for them, as it gets closer to the traditional National Signing Day on Feb. 5.
Here’s a look at some of those flying under the radar:
Elijah Ervin, Phoenix Desert Vista, WR, 6-2, 180
New Mexico State and Northern Arizona, along with Northern Colorado, Southern Utah, Penn and South Dakota State have offered. He has preferred walk-on offers from Arizona, Arizona State and Iowa State. He’s capable of playing in a major conference on scholarship right away. He put on a clinic late in the season and in the playoffs, before Liberty double-teamed and bracketed him in the 6A semifinals. He caught passes Friday morning from QB Parker Navarro, who earlier in the week was offered by Arizona State. Navarro was throwing in front of ASU and Central Florida coaches, coach Dan Hinds said. But Hinds, who believes Ervin “might be the most underrated football player in Arizona right now,” said he’ll see if those coaches come back on Ervin with some sort of offer.
Cam Nash, Scottsdale Saguaro, CB, 5-10, 170
He’ll sign with somebody in February. This week, he picked up an offer from Georgetown. He also has been offered by Army, Penn, Southern Utah and Idaho. He kind of gets lost in the mix of great Saguaro defensive backs, but this kid can cover anybody. Great ball skills separate him with his quickness.
Daniel Wood, Gilbert Highland, RB, 5-10, 205
He has an offer from NAU and a preferred walk-on offer from Utah. He has been accepted academically into Utah. With a 4.5 grade-point average and high test scores, he could play at Utah on an academic scholarship. His athleticism and work ethic make him a Power 5-type to me. He ran for 1,500 yards and scored 31 touchdowns, while also playing full-time at linebacker against some of the top teams in the state.
Jaydin Young, Peoria Centennial, S, 5-11, 185
He was All-Arizona and among the top eight finalists for Arizona Republic Player of the Year as a junior. He did nothing to diminish his value during his senior year. His older brother Dedrick Young showed what he could do at Nebraska, playing linebacker. Jaydin has the same kind of passion and commitment. And he’s fast. Somebody needs to get him something.
Jalan Early, Goodyear Millennium, QB/LB, 6-3, 215
Early’s athleticism (he’s also a pretty good basketball player on the state’s top-ranked team) makes him intriguing, but Power 5 schools for some reason have not offered. He does have interest from Arizona and Utah. His offers are NAU, Dixie State, Idaho, Western Illinois, Yale and UTEP. He doesn’t care what side of the ball he plays at the next level. He just wants to play. Very coachable. His dad is Millennium head football coach Lamar Early.
Arnell Christen Jr., Tolleson, RB/KR/DB, 5-10, 185
Athletic, versatile player who has offers from NAIA schools Ottawa, Arizona Christian, Bethel College (Kansas), a Division III offer from UWM River Falls and D.II offers from Bemidji State, and Western New Mexico. His versatility could make him a steal for someone.
Keegan Stancato, Glendale Mountain Ridge, QB, 6-3, 200
Yes, he signed to play baseball at Portland, which doesn’t have a football program. But he wants to play football after he had a breakthrough senior season, leading the Ridge to the 6A playoffs a year after it went 0-10. His coaches believe he would be a standout Division I quarterback.
Conner Lewis, Anthem Boulder Creek, DB, 6-1, 180
Great two-way athlete who had eight TD catches and three interceptions last season. He has five preferred walk-on offers from Arizona, Baylor, Iowa State and Kansas State and a full-ride offer from Southern Utah.
Jake Martinelli, Phoenix Horizon, QB, 6-0, 180
He was having a POY-worthy season, before he suffered a torn ACL in his eighth game. It was a remarkable breakout year that should have helped his recruiting. Now he’s back to square one. But he’s driven to return to the field. His grades are among the best in his class. He’s worth taking a shot on. He showed how electric he can be with his arm and legs.
Christian Bower, Scottsdale Chaparral, LB, 6-1, 210
He has had some FCS and D.II interest. He can play Division I at a high level. Just look at his film against Phoenix Pinnacle.
Conner Cordts, Glendale Cactus, QB, 6-3, 190
Good size, arm strength and intelligence should make him a find for somebody. He has offers from Black Hills State, Concordia, St. Paul, Western New Mexico, Minot State — all Division II schools. He is taking trips this month.
Nate “Doodles” Quinones, Cactus, Athlete, 5-7, 160
Undersized but over the top when it comes to passion and having the ability to make plays. He played linebacker in high school, making 135 tackles last season. But he could turn into a solid cornerback with speed and agility. Has a Black Hills State offer and will go on that trip with Cordts.
Devontae Ingram, Phoenix South Mountain, DB/WR, 6-1, 160
He could play either cornerback or wide receiver at the next level. He had 42 catches for 894 yards and nine TDs and made 41 tackles as a senior. Extremely athletic. Next-level speed. UNLV, South Dakota State, Southern Utah, Rocky Mountain College and CSU Pueblo all on him. He could play at a Power 5.
Steven Dortch, Phoenix Thunderbird, OLB, 6-1, 170
He was a two-time first-team all-region defender, who had more than 150 tackles and 25 sacks his final two seasons. And he’s returned two interceptions for touchdowns. He’s a great athlete who can be move to the secondary. Should be Division I FCS but no offers yet.
Dominick Mastro, Scottsdale Notre Dame, RB, 5-10, 203
He has offers from UW River Falls, Jamestown, Arizona Christian. UNLV has offered him a preferred walk-on. Bullish back who is always moving hard. He ran for 1,854 yards and 22 TDs last season.
Matt Malloy, Notre Dame, LB/FS, 6-3, 213
Versatile defender who has been offered a roster spot by San Diego and a preferred walk-on at Arizona. Yale is interested. He made big gains from his junior to his senior year and showed explosiveness.
Mikel James, Scottsdale Coronado, Athlete, 5-9, 175
He was buried in 3A on a team that struggled. But he would have stood out on any team in the state. Strong, fast, athletic, he can play quarterback, receiver, strong safety. He’s a leader on the field, in the weight room and in the classroom.
Connor Witthoft, Tucson Salpointe Catholic, TE, 6-3, 225
Offered by New Mexico. He’s got all the skills and size to play at a Power 5. He’s got great burst off the line, will catch anything, and can block. Ask All-American running back Bijan Robinson.
Trent Strong, Salpiointe, LB, 6-1, 220
Offers from NAU and Drake, he could play at a major college. If he has to walk on at a Power 5, he’ll earn a scholarship with his skills and work ethic.
Regis Velez, Phoenix Brophy Prep, WR, 6-4, 200
His older brother was a talented running back at Brophy. Regis has the length and hands to make it at the next level. He had an offer from FCS Virginia Military Institute, before a knee injury ended his season. Coach Jason Jewell said several FCS schools are trying to get a steal by having him walk on.
Ahmed Momoh, Fountain Hills, OLB/SS, 6-1, 180
He played running back and linebacker and is being recruited as an outside linebacker and strong safety. He has offers from Western Colorado, Wisconsin River Falls, Concordia, Moorhead. Abilene Christian has reached out and there’s a chance he lands there if there is room left in its signing class.
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