The fall 2021 Central Section high school football season has arrived with a full slate of games on the schedule this week. With that in mind, we’re taking a closer look at the best players in the section heading into the season.
We talked to coaches and evaluated players across the Section to compile our preseason All-Central Section Team — 11 on offense and 11 on defense. SBLive’s preseason All-Central Section Team was compiled by reporter Bodie DeSilva.
SBLIVE’S PRESEASON 2021 ALL-CENTRAL SECTION FOOTBALL TEAM
QB: Nate Johnson – Clovis – Senior
One of the state’s fastest on the field and the track, Johnson was a finalist for the Elite 11 competition during the offseason. He’s committed to Utah.
RB: Tristan Risley – Clovis – Senior
Risley ran for 722 yards and 11 touchdowns during the spring season. He pairs up with Johnson to form one of the state’s most dynamic combos.
RB: Brandon Ramirez – San Joaquin Memorial – Junior
A standout on both sides of the ball, Ramirez averaged 9.9 yards per carry for the Panthers in the spring.
WR: Gage Armbruster – Corcoran – Junior
Armbruster posted incredible numbers during the spring, finishing with 30 catches, 677 receiving yards and ten touchdowns in only four games.
WR: Jayden Davis – Bullard – Senior
Davis caught 13 passes for 213 yards during the spring season and also added two interceptions on defense. He recently committed to Fresno State.
WR: Daizon Allen – Bullard – Senior
Allen had 311 yards and six receiving touchdowns during the spring. He also returned an interception for a touchdown.
OL: Tanner Hirschler – Central – Senior
Hirschler leads an experienced group up front for the always dangerous Grizzlies.
OL: Jahlon Jimenez – Clovis – Junior
Jimenez (6-6, 275) will likely be on the radar of colleges following his junior campaign.
OL: Karson Eckert – Clovis – Senior
Eckert will play opposite of Jimenez up front, paving the way for the Clovis playmakers.
OL: Brayden Hall – San Joaquin Memorial – Junior
Hall was first team all-league for the Panthers as a sophomore and will lead the Patriots up front during his final two seasons.
OL: Cade Gretlein – Liberty (Bakersfield) – Junior
Gretlein is a talented two-way anchor up front for the Patriots.
DL: Grant Buckey – Liberty (Bakersfield) – Junior
Buckey (6-5, 265) has the looks of a big time defensive lineman. His most recent offer came in from Michigan.
DL: Jeremiah Shelton – Central – Senior
Shelton enters his fourth varsity season having collected 136 tackles and eight sacks over the past three seasons.
DL: Gavin Nelson – Buchanan – Senior
“His motor is extremely high and he always finds a way to the football,” Buchanan’s Matt Giordano said about his senior.
DL: Tovie Martin – Clovis – Junior
“He’s already getting recruited a lot. He’s 6-5, 232 with a great motor, he’ll have a breakout season. We’re super excited to have him back,” Clovis Head Coach Rich Hammond said of his junior.
LB: Christian Smith – Clovis – Senior
Smith racked up 37 tackles, five sacks and a forced fumble in only four games during the spring season.
LB: Riley Hernandez – Liberty (Bakersfield) – Senior
Hernandez had 24 tackles and three sacks during the spring season. He committed to Sacramento State over the summer.
LB: Caden Rodgers – Buchanan – Senior
Rodgers is a standout at linebacker and running back. “Arguably, he’s one of the best players in the section at either position,” Buchanan Head Coach Matt Giordano said.
DB: Carlos Mack – Clovis – Senior
Mack transfers in from Edison, having posted huge numbers during his sophomore season in 2019. He’s committed to Oregon State.
DB: Jason Oliver – Liberty (Bakersfield) – Senior
Oliver is a playmaker on both sides of the ball. Cal and Boise State are among his nine offers.
DB: Dominic Castaneda – Liberty (Madera) – Senior
Castaneda was able to grab six interceptions and made 14 tackles during the spring season.
DB: TJ Hall – San Joaquin Memorial – Senior
Hall grabbed three interceptions during the spring season while also filling in at quarterback for the Panthers. He’s committed to Washington.