State Junior of the Year Su’a Cravens and De La Salle’s Michael Barton, leader of the best defense to play in a CIF state bowl game, top this group of players.
Note: This is the fourth release of several highlighting the 33rd annual edition of the ESPNHS Cal-Hi Sports All-State Football Team. Previous releases focused on small schools, medium schools and underclass.
Here is a closer look at the 12 players chosen first team defense:
DL Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia) 6-5, 295, Sr.
The State Medium Schools Player of the Year had 21 sacks the last two seasons for the Wildcats in helping the team win back-to-back CIF Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championships. McCarthy had more than 100 tackles in those seasons combined and was a USA Today first-team All-American. He committed to Cal during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, then de-committed and has since announced for UCLA.
DL Aziz Shittu (Buhach Colony, Atwater) 6-4, 255, Sr.
Named the Merced-Sun Star Defensive Player of the Year, he helped lead the Thunder to a second straight Central California Conference title before their undefeated season came to an end in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division II semifinals to eventual champion Vacaville. On the year, Shittu had 89 tackles and eight sacks and played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He has yet to decide on a college but has said his final four consist of Stanford, Cal, USC and UCLA.
DL Justin Solis (Westlake, Westlake Village) 6-3, 300, Sr.
The Ventura Star Defensive Player of the Year capped his three years on the Westlake varsity with 102 tackles and seven sacks. He had 95 and seven as a sophomore and then 99 and nine during his junior year. Solis, originally from Queens, N.Y., will head to the University of Colorado to play next season.
LB Michael Barton (De La Salle, Concord) 6-1, 215, Sr.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Metro Player of the Year was the linchpin of a De La Salle defense that shut out Westlake of Westlake Village 35-0 in the CIF Open Division state bowl game. Barton led the team with 103 tackles, including nine in the state final. With Barton leading the way, the DLS defense also had five shutouts and did not allow a defensive touchdown in three other contests. Barton, also a top hurdler on the track, will play next at Cal.
LB Su’a Cravens (Vista Murrieta, Murrieta) 6-3, 210, Jr.
A finalist for Mr. Football State Player of the Year, he was named our Junior Player of the Year over fellow first-teamer Johnny Stanton after an impressive season on both sides of the ball. Known more for his play on the defense, Cravens recorded 96 tackles and 11 sacks while making three interceptions. On offense, he rushed for 673 yards and 15 touchdowns while also catching 20 passes for four touchdowns. Cravens already has also been chosen as Player of the Year by the Los Angeles Times and Riverside Press-Enterprise. He led Vista Murrieta to a 14-0 record on the field (not counting forfeits) and the CIFSS Inland Division title.
LB Aaron Porter (La Habra) 6-2, 235, Sr.
It was a spectacular senior season for Porter, who has committed to UCLA. He had a whopping 172 tackles for the Highlanders to break his own school record of 156 set last year. Porter also had 11.5 sacks, caused five fumbles and had two interceptions. On offense, he added 940 yards rushing with 17 touchdowns. Porter already has been chosen as the Orange County Defensive Player of the Year and Whittier Daily News All-Area Player of the Year.
LB Jabari Ruffin (Downey) 6-4, 230, Sr.
The Vikings had a disappointing season but one of the bright spots was the play of this talented athlete as he made 99 tackles in just 11 games. Ruffin, who played on offense as well, caught 42 passes for 549 yards and five scores and also rushed for a pair of touchdowns. One of the highest-ranked linebackers in the nation (No. 36 in the ESPNU 150), Ruffin has committed to USC.
DB Ishmael Adams (Oaks Christian, Westlake Village) 5-10, 190, Sr.
One of several standouts on the field for the Lions last fall, he had 34 tackles and two interceptions from the secondary and was rarely challenged on his side of the field. Adams was more than a shut-down cover corner, though. He also contributed on offense with 717 yards rushing and nine touchdowns plus 29 receptions for 476 yards and four more scores. The U.S. Army All-American recently committed to UCLA.
DB Donte Deayon (Summit, Fontana) 5-10, 165, Sr.
Recently named the CIFSS Eastern Division Co-Defensive Player of the Year, he intercepted five passes this season to finish with 24 career interceptions. That total is one of the top 15 in state history. Deayon also showed he could catch the ball from his own quarterback as he caught 27 passes for 632 yards and 11 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,266 yards and 15 touchdowns. Before the season, he committed to play next season on the blue turf of Boise State.
DB Randall Goforth (Long Beach Poly, Long Beach) 5-10, 165, Sr.
A cover corner who also returned kicks and could catch passes, Goforth was named the team MVP for the 10-2 Jackrabbits. He ended with 79 tackles, four interceptions and was a main reason Poly’s defense was one of the best in the state. Goforth committed to Arizona State with four other teammates before the start of the season.
DB Shaq Thompson (Grant, Sacramento) 6-2, 210, Sr.
When healthy, there are very few who are more talented than this senior as he established himself as one of the top recruits not just in the state but in the nation while playing both sides of the ball. Needed to play more as a quarterback this season, Shaq passed for 893 yards and eight touchdowns while rushing for 1,134 yards and 15 scores. From the secondary, he added 57 tackles contributed on special teams as a punter. He is expected to play defense when he attends Cal where his older brother, Syd-Quan (now in the NFL), was a three-year standout. Thompson was named the Sacramento Bee Player of the Year and was a finalist for the U.S. Army Player of the Year.
P Osborn Umeh (Mayfair, Lakewood) 6-2, 215, Sr.
The native of Nigeria is known around the country as a booming punter and turned in a big-time senior season. Umeh averaged 47 yards per punt through the first half of the year, then upped it to 49.2 by the end. He had a longest punt of 75 yards and could place the ball inside the 20. Umeh also scored a touchdown in a key game for the Monsoons on a 37-yard run off of a fake punt.
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