High School Sports

Top 5 SLO County players to watch entering the 2017 prep football season

James Gilmet hits the hole as Arroyo Grande High hosts Westlake in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoffs.
James Gilmet hits the hole as Arroyo Grande High hosts Westlake in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoffs. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

There are a ton of talented high school football players around SLO County worth watching. But after making the rounds to the top programs, here are my picks for five that should be exciting to watch during the 2017 season.

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Shown here as a sophomore, James Gilmet turns the corner for Arroyo Grande High as it hosts Westlake in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoffs. Joe Johnston jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

James Gilmet, Jr., running back, Arroyo Grande

This is an easy one. Gilmet was one of the most exciting running backs in the county last season as a sophomore. This season, he’s bigger, faster and should get even more carries than last year when he ran for more than 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns.

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Kamren Brown, senior, Atascadero High School football preview. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Kamren Brown, Sr., defensive end/tight end, Atascadero

There is a lot of excitement in Atascadero surrounding Brown heading into the season. I believe the hype. Brown is a big defensive end and soccer player who didn’t get much playing time last season and only recorded a half sack. But he has put on a bunch of weight and looks like he could be a force for the Greyhounds on both defense and as a tight end. He’s also confident, which I love.

“I don’t know the sack record at Atascadero, but I want it,” Brown told me last week.

Morgan Scovell, Sr., quarterback, Templeton

It you love quarterbacks who can scramble and make something out of nothing, you will love watching Scovell play. He ducked and dodged defenders while splitting time at quarterback last season, but this year he will be the Eagles go-to guy. To really become a good quarterback, he will need to continue to improve as a passer. But when it comes to escapability, Scovell is a good as it gets around here.

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Paso Robles High senior Fred Thompkins during practice. David Middlecamp 8-14-2017 David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Fred Thompkins, Sr., safety/wide receiver, Paso Robles

Thompkins has been turning heads during the summer both as a wide receiver and a defensive back with speed and ball skills. After transferring from Kimball, Thompkins was selected as a team captain and should be one of the more dynamic players in SLO County this season.

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Nipomo High School senior Gage Wynn. Photo by Joe Johnston 08-08-17 Joe Johnston jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Gage Wynn, Sr., safety/wide receiver, Nipomo

Wynn is a skinny guy, but he’s still one of the best tacklers around as a ball-hawking safety. He led the Northern League in interceptions last year with five and wants to beat that this season. He’s also taking those ball skills to the offensive side this season and will be featured heavily on a young Nipomo team.

Other players to keep an eye on

Arik Machado, Sr., running back, Atascadero

John Farley, Sr., defensive linemen, Arroyo Grande

Aidan Moriarty, Jr., quarterback, Morro Bay

Pierson Mosichuk, Sr., running back, SLO High

Julian Madrigal, Sr., running back, Paso Robles