Jason Jewell-10 Sleeper Teams for ’17 H.S. Season

With the high school football season just five weeks away, Sports360az.com recruiting expert Jason Jewell, gives us 7 teams that he believes are flying below the radar for the coming year. Check out Jason’ forum boards on the site and join in on the conversation and threads. 

1. Desert Vista

The Thunder have talent on offense. Tight end James Stagg has ten division-one offers, move-in quarterback Derek Kline has two and speedy wide receiver Keishaud White has one. Wide receiver Jake White was all-region as a junior.

They are just as talented on defense where Stagg doubles as a very good defensive lineman. Junior DT Brett Johnson should free up if teams decide to double Stagg. Corner Alijah Gammage is a ball hawk. Caleb Humphrey and Larry Davis are tough against the run.

2. Pinnacle

You might be asking, “How is Pinnacle a sleeper?” They have always been a playoff team but I think this is the year they breakthrough and make a deep run.

Junior quarterback Spencer Rattler is as talented as the state has ever seen and he is protected by one of he state’s top offensive line units.

Not only are they good on the offensive line, the Pioneers return three all-region defensive linemen in Luke Aschenbrand, Lucas Jarvis and Brayden Smerz.

3. Deer Valley

DV was one of the most talented teams I saw this Spring. They have arguably the state’s top offensive lines, led by Joey Ramos and have one of the state’s top 2019 prospects in Dez Melton. If the Skyhawks can throw the rock at all, they will make a run.

4. Liberty

When your head coach is the defensive coordinator, you better believe he will stack that side of the ball.

It all starts on defense for Mark Smith and the Lions and I think they are loaded.

In the secondary, Liberty has four players that all will play on Saturdays in safeties Ryan Puskas and Kade Heddings. D.J. Mumin and Eli Pittman man the corner spots. All four have college offers at some level.

Senior DT John Clark is a good one and junior DL Braxton Crouteau looks like a future D1 player, standing near 6-foot-5.

5. Marana

The Tigers are getting zero respect despite the fact that they went 9-3 last year and advanced to the second round of the playoffs, losing to eventual champion Williams Field.

They return 16 all-region players, watch out!

6. Chaparral

Chaparral was below .500 last year but made the playoffs because of the mess Notre Dame was in. The Firebirds are young but very talented, especially on offense with quarterback Jack Miller, RB Marqui Johnson and wide receiver Tommy Christakos. Scary thing is, two of those three are going to be sophomores and have D1 offers.

Bringing back Conrad Hamilton as defensive coordinator is huge! He is one of the best minds in the state. The defense will be tough, bring complex pressures and will be well coached.

7. Higley

The Knights made the semi-finals last year but if they want to prove they are contenders and not pretenders, this is the year to do it.

Eddy Zubey has five players that already have D1 offers including Gatorade Player of the Year Draycen Hall and transfer Jason Harris.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with Jason. Head over to his Forum page and sound off. 

 8. Cienega 

The Bobcats were 12-0 until they ran into Centennial in the semi-finals. Coach Nugent loses a ton of talent but anytime you return a player with Jamarye Joiner’s abilitiy, you give yourself a chance. Can they make another run?

9. Notre Dame Prep 

 New head coach George Prelock inherits plenty of returners from a talented team that went 8-2 last year. They have all-region players returning at every spot on the field.

10. Horizon 

Games are won in the trenches and Horizon has three players with D1 offers in OG Isaiah Mursalat, TE/DE Grant Mileski and DT/OG Justin Segura. These three should help them improve on last year’s 6-4 record.


What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with Jason. Head over to his Forum page and sound off.