West Region Spotlight: Mid-Season Takeaways

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We’re in the second half of the high school season, as top prospects have proven themselves and more have burst onto the scene. Additionally, recruiting classes across the country are putting the finishing touches on the 2023 cycle.

Here are five takeaways from the West so far this season.

MORE FROM THIS SERIES: Spotlight on the center-south | Spotlight on the Midwest

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RANKING OF THE CLASS OF 2023: Rivals250 | Crew | Position | State

RANKING OF THE CLASS OF 2024: Rivals250 | Crew | Position | State

RANKING OF THE CLASS OF 2025: Rivals100

TRANSFER PORTAL: Stories/cover | bulletin board

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1. DYLAN RAIOLA IS AS GOOD AS ADVERTISED

In the first two weeks of the season, I saw Chandler, Arizona go to the Catholic Cathedral in San Diego, California in the annual Honor Bowl and that’s where I was convinced that Dylan Raiola should be the highest rated player in the class of 2024.

Just by looking at him on the court, Raiola looks like a college-ready quarterback. He’s got all the arm talent in the world, but standing on Chandler’s sideline, I’ve seen it all, from leadership, to communicating with his coaches and players, to his teammates cheering him on and many more. intangibles when considering not just a five-star ranking but the #1 spot.

The ohio state the quarterback’s commitment has just about everything plus an NFL pedigree since his dad, Dominicaand his uncle, Donovan, also had professional careers. Raiola absolutely has that killer instinct and hunger to be a big winner.

It was one of the reasons he chose the Buckeyes and given his raw ability on the pitch, Raiola might not have been able to choose a better place to be coached by. Ryan Daycoaching position Corey Dennis and others.

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2. JULIAN SAYIN IS ALSO SPECIAL

Julien Sayin

Here’s the thing: Julien Sayin doesn’t have Raiola’s rare physical traits and when he runs onto the pitch to warm up he doesn’t look like a patrick Mahomes clone like Raiola does but he can really play ball.

The 2024 five-star quarterback has an incredible arm not only deep but as a precision passer and he almost always makes the right read. Sayin isn’t surrounded by elite playmakers in Carlsbad, Calif., but the three-star addition Michigan tight commitment Zack Marshall this season has been great. At the college level, where Sayin will have plenty of weapons, he should be even better because he is a technician on the field.

Georgia and USL fight for him as Sayin still works out his options before making a decision.

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3. THE 2023 QB DEBATE WILL CONTINUE TO RAGE

A bit like a few years ago when there was a growing camp DJ Uiagalelei as the state’s No. 1 quarterback and another on the side of Bryce Young (and I’m not talking about their dads who were great throughout the process and supported both players) there’s Malachi Nelson fans and Nico Yamaleava fans and the difference between the two is razor thin.

Yamaleava, a Tennessee commit, is having another great season, making big numbers, not making many mistakes and using his weird physical abilities to dominate at this level. He is so special in so many ways and his trainer at Downey (California) Warren, Kevin Pearsonalso trained Young for a while and said their instincts were very similar.

But Nelson was also fantastic. He can split defenses with the best of them, make quick decisions, hit receivers with the long ball, score fast, and the USC commitment just has a knack for making big plays.

Both are five stars. Both are among the top six players nationally. Right now it’s Yamaleava then Nelson, but it’s still a close race for the tops in the state.

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4. RODERICK ROBINSON IS AN RB STAR

Roderick Robinson
Roderick Robinson (Matt Moreno | Rivals.com)

Roderick Robinson is already the West’s top-rated running back for the Class of 2023, so he’s highly respected. But perhaps not enough at the national level, especially with the season he is preparing.

First, the Lincoln star of San Diego, Calif., looked phenomenal while training at the Elite 11 this summer on running courses and catching passes for quarterbacks. He’s leaned in but looks stronger at the same time and now he’s proving himself on the pitch more than ever.

In seven games (six wins), Robinson carried the ball 121 times for 1,501 yards and 21 touchdowns. From my research, those stats are better than any of the six running backs ranked ahead of him and while the stats aren’t the end of the rankings, they certainly factor into it.

Robinson is having a phenomenal season and with a long playoff streak, 1,000 extra yards this season is certainly not out of the question.

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5. LOTS OF EVALUATION FRIDAY NIGHT

Ratings throughout the year are important, but when Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco and Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei play, it’s something different. These two schools are arguably the two best high school programs in the country. They play in the same league and every year it’s an amazing opportunity to see elite players all over the pitch.

According to my tally, there are 35 Bosco players with offers. Mater Dei currently has 31, many of which are subclasses. It’s 66 players on a field, Friday night who are fighting and it’s time to set up or close.

By comparison, Iowa State’s entire Class of 2023 lists 55 deals. Missouri has 53. The amount of talent in Bosco and Mater Dei is extraordinary and from a valuation perspective, there’s nothing quite like it.

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