With the spring 2021 football season underway, SBLive California continues to take a look at the top high school football players in the state, position by position.
After taking an in-depth look at the best wide receivers in the state, we’re now breaking down the state’s top tight ends.
The main criteria for our Top 25 tight end rankings are statistics from the 2021 spring season, statistics from the 2019 high school season relative to team success (on offense) and strength of schedule. The rankings were compiled by SBLive reporter Connor Morrissette.
Since this is not a recruiting ranking, players’ national rankings or college offers were not primary criteria, but were taken into account – mainly for players who haven’t received a full opportunity to shine at the varsity level yet. Performances in club football or at camps were not taken into consideration.
Class of 2021 tight ends who have decided to graduate and enroll early in college were not considered in these rankings.
SBLive California is previewing the top football teams and players in the state ahead of the 2021 spring high school football season. You can find all of our high school football coverage here. You can download the new SBLive Sports iPhone app here, and you can download the new SBLive Sports Android app here.
TOP 25 TIGHT ENDS IN CALIFORNIA
25. Sinn Brennan – Los Alamitos – Sophomore
Brennan has played a lot of defensive end this spring (like a lot of players on this list). With star 2023 quarterback Malachi Nelson under center at Los Alamitos, expect Brennan to get more involved in the passing game this fall and in 2022. Brennan is a three-star recruit.
24. Matthew Polaski – Livermore – Senior
Polaski has made 16 catches for 154 yards and four TDs this spring.
23. Jake Friedman – Oak Park – Senior
Friedman has caught 23 passes for 199 yards and one TD this spring for Oak Park.
22. Devin Vega – Marquez – Senior
Vega is the lone Los Angeles City Section representative on the list. In 2019, he caught 34 passes for 570 yards and six TDs. He’s 6-foot and 225 pounds.
21. Adam Awaida – St. John Bosco – Senior
Awaida has been banged up this spring, but he was a key part of the Braves’ state championship run in 2019. He caught a touchdown pass in the Southern Section championship game against Mater Dei and in the state title game against De La Salle.
“Adam had three really great games for us to end the season,” St. John Bosco head coach Jason Negro told SBLive in February. “He can be an end line tight end and also a guy that can play in space. That’s a big advantage for us.”
20. John Vanisi – Leuzinger – Junior
Vanisi has received scholarship offers from Arizona State, Arizona and Kansas, per his Twitter page.
19. J.J. Uphold – Garces Memorial – Senior
Uphold is a University of Wyoming signee. In addition to tight end, he also plays defensive end for Garces Memorial.
18. Brodie Tagaloa – De La Salle – Junior
Tagaloa has received nine scholarship offers, per 247Sports.com. Tagaloa’s brother Boss played at UCLA.
17. Cody Hoffman – Channel Islands – Junior
Standing at 6-foot-5 and weighing 240 pounds, Hoffman has great size. So far this spring, he’s made 13 catches for 238 yards and two TDs.
16. Scott Giuliano – Corona del Mar – Senior
Giulano will play at Harvard in the fall. He’s made five catches for 98 yards and a TD this spring.
15. Cooper Flanagan – De La Salle – Sophomore
Flanagan is emerging as a national recruit in the 2023 recruiting class and he will rise quickly up the rankings the more varsity time he gets for De La Salle. Flanagan has received scholarship offers from Michigan, Washington and Cal, per his Twitter page.
14. Gabe Milbourn – Sonora – Senior
Milbourn is an unsigned senior and he’s playing with a chip on his shoulder. This spring, he leads California tight ends with 408 receiving yards. He’s also caught six touchdowns.
13. Shaun Grayson – La Mirada – Senior
Grayson is signed to UNLV. He’s made six catches for 112 yards and one TD so far this season.
12. Matt Lauter – Torrey Pines – Senior
Lauter is signed to Boise State. He caught 20 passes for 316 yards and three TDs in 2019.
11. Bentley Redden – San Clemente – Senior
Redden is signed to BYU and he plays on both sides of the ball for San Clemente. He caught eight passes and one TD in 2019 for the Tritons.
10. Evan Jernegan – St. Francis – Senior
Jernegan will play at Valparaiso next season. This spring, he’s caught 20 passes for 268 yards and two TDs. In 2019, he caught three TDs.
9. Christian Pedersen – Serra San Mateo – Senior
Pedersen is signed to Louisville.
8. Keleki Latu – Jesuit – Senior
Latu is signed to Cal. His brother, Laiatu, played at Washington. Keleki also plays linebacker.
7. Keyan Burnett – Servite – Junior
Burnett is committed to USC. He hasn’t been able to play much this spring due to an injury, but in 2019 at JSerra, Burnett made 22 catches for 314 yards and two TDs.
6. Matayo Uiagalelei – St. John Bosco – Sophomore
Uiagalelei is the younger brother of Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei and he’s one of the country’s most intriguing college football prospects. Matayo starts on both sides of the ball for St. John Bosco and has been a difference maker on offense and defense in each games he’s played in in 2021. His break out game at tight end came in a 38-28 win over Servite where he caught two touchdowns.
“He’s dangerous,” St. John Bosco head coach Jason Negro told SBLive after the game. “He’s one of the most talented kids in the country.”
5. Kamron Beachem – Oceanside – Senior
Beachem is committed to Fresno State. In 2019, he caught 34 passes for 551 yards and three TDs.
4. Walker Lyons – Folsom – Sophomore
Lyons is emerging as a national recruit in the class of 2023. He’s received scholarship offers from Arizona State, Oregon and Washington, among others, according to 247Sports.com. So far this spring, Lyons has caught 13 passes for 237 yards and three TDs.
3. Jack Endries – Monte Vista – Junior
Endries has received scholarship offers from Army, Colorado State and Fresno State, per 247Sports.com. So far this spring, he’s made 18 catches for 268 yards and three TDs.
2. JP Murphy – San Ramon Valley – Senior
Murphy is signed to San Diego State. In 2019 he made 22 catches for 476 yards and eight touchdowns. The eight TDs led all California underclassmen tight ends. This spring, Murphy has caught 10 passes for 195 yards and one score.
1. J.T. Byrne – Carmel
Byrne led all underclassmen tight ends with 636 receiving yards in 2019. He also caught five TDs to help Carmel to a 6-6 season. Byrne is signed to Oregon State.