By René Ferrán, Mike Wilson, Bob Lundeberg, Paul Valencia and Rockne Andrew Roll
Over the next week, we’ll be taking a position-by-position look at some of the top players in Oregon high school football. Our first list focuses on the quarterbacks.
There are hundreds of standout football players in Oregon and these lists are not intended to be comprehensive! Use the comments section to discuss the other signal-callers worthy of fans’ attention in 2021.
Andrew Oliver (Lakeridge) photo by Taylor Balkom
Aiden Tyler, Sr., Sweet Home
After a junior season for which Tyler earned second-team all-Oregon West honors, throwing for 1,264 yards and 15 touchdowns, the dual-threat quarterback took advantage of the fall delay to travel to Texas and play in a showcase game at Texas Stadium. He signed with Western Oregon this month. “He’s done everything he can in the offseason to perfect his craft,” Huskies coach Dustin Nichol said. “He’s got a mind for the game.”
Andrew Oliver, Sr., Lakeridge
Oliver has signed with The Citadel as a safety, but in his time at Lakeridge, he has been a backup quarterback, cornerback — a new position last season at which he became a second-team all-league selection with 40 tackles and six interceptions — and punter (all-league honorable mention). First-year coach Spencer Phillips said he could put Oliver at any skill position and he’d be special, but he wants Oliver under center “so he touches the ball on every play. I’ve watched his development as a quarterback, and he’s been phenomenal given the circumstances. He’s everything you could want in someone leading your team.”
Blake DeBisschop, Sr., West Linn
DeBisschop has sat behind Ethan Long and Ethan Coleman and learned from both all-league quarterbacks, and after nearly rallying the Lions in the fourth quarter of their quarterfinal loss to Central Catholic, he’ll get the chance to show his stuff. He was 28 of 38 for 243 yards and three touchdowns in six games last season. “He will be an FBS quarterback,” West Linn coach Chris Miller said. “He has Tim Tawa, Joe Montana and Tom Brady-type pocket presence and poise. He can make all the throws we require and make a difference making plays with his legs.”
Brayden Libby, Sr., Westview
As a junior, Libby went through an up-and-down season as a first-time starter. He was strong in the first two weeks, both victories, then struggled in his next two games and was briefly benched. He came back in the second half against Tualatin in Week 6 and regained his starting job, finishing the season 110 of 246 for 1,529 yards, 17 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. “He was challenged, and he responded in a positive way,” Wildcats coach Ryan Atkinson said. “He faced adversity and didn’t quit, figured things out, and he came along really well by the end of the year.”
Brian Mannion, Jr., Mountainside
Mannion began last season serving his apprenticeship on the JV squad, but after a Week 7 loss to Aloha, he got the call to start the next week against Westview. In five starts, he went 4-1, led a second-half comeback against top-seeded Tigard with four touchdown passes, and firmly established himself as one of the West Coast’s top quarterback recruits (Oregon State, California, Colorado, Syracuse and Northwestern are in the hunt). The brother of NFL veteran Sean Mannion and son of Mavericks coach John Mannion finished the season 61 of 117 for 842 yards and 14 touchdowns against three interceptions. “He was part of some real intense games down the stretch, and he did a real nice job in there,” John Mannion said. “He’s continued to grow into the position, and I’m hopeful he can continue to grow.”
Cole Weber, Sr., Lebanon
Weber passed for 1,505 yards and 19 touchdowns (five interceptions) last season, going 91 of 160 (56.9 percent), en route to second-team all-Mid-Willamette Conference honors. Though on the shorter side at 5-foot-9, Weber excels at the mental aspects of playing quarterback. He will continue his career at Pacific University. “For me, the quarterback has to make good decisions — that’s the bottom line, and Cole does that,” Warriors coach Ty Tomlin said. “He’s just that kid; he never misses anything. He’s an old-school three-sport kid who just loves the game.”
Cole Weber photo courtesy of Lebanon High School
Coleman Compton, Sr., North Bend
Compton received first-team all-league recognition at wide receiver last season but will move back under center after Ian Spalding’s tragic death. Compton earned all-conference honors as a quarterback his sophomore year and competed with Spalding for the job during camp in 2019. “We’re excited to see what he can do,” Bulldogs coach Gary Prince said.
Conley Martin, Jr., Adrian
Martin was a 1A co-offensive player of the year last season, throwing for 2,298 yards and 35 touchdowns and running for 1,882 yards and 36 scores, in leading the Antelopes to their first state title since 2014. “He has a chance to go down as one of the greatest eight-man football players in state history,” Adrian coach Bill Wortman said. “He will play with fire this season and next, as I know he is determined to do more.”
Dondrae Fair, Jr., Jefferson
Fair (6 feet, 185 pounds) was the Democrats’ primary quarterback last season and passed for 553 yards and eight touchdowns. Since then, first-year Jefferson coach Houston Lillard said, Fair has made significant strides and made himself into a national prospect. “He’s developed a lot,” Lillard said. “I’m very excited to see him show what he’s been working on.”
Dylan Kleinschmit, Sr., Kennedy
Kleinschmit last season regained the starting job he held as a freshman and threw for 1,580 yards and 21 touchdowns, earning third-team all-state recognition and leading the Trojans to the 2A state championship game.
Elijah Blankenship, Sr., Siuslaw
Blankenship helped engineer the Vikings’ turnaround from a winless 2018 campaign to six victories and a 3A state playoff berth, completing 63.5 percent of his passes (125 of 197) for a school-record 2,455 yards and 13 touchdowns (with just one interception) and running for 878 yards and eight touchdowns in being named to the all-league second team. “Elijah stands in an elite group when you talk about a leader,” Siuslaw coach Sammy Johnson said. “He said, ‘We have a fresh chance with a new coach,’ and willed this team to be good. He broke just about every passing record at Siuslaw this past year and never took credit for any of it.”
Ely Kennel, Jr., Santiam Christian
Kennel hardly looked like a newcomer running the offense for the eventual state champion Eagles, making the all-state second team while completing more than 57 percent of his passes (138 of 239) for 1,918 yards and 28 touchdowns (10 interceptions). He rushed for 884 yards (9.8 per carry) and 12 scores.
Hiro Diamond, Jr., Liberty
Diamond won the quarterback job in a competition with Xanden Unciano last season, then returned from a midseason injury that sidelined him for several games to guide the Falcons to the playoffs and earn all-conference honorable mention. “He has qualities that you love in your quarterback,” Liberty coach Eric Mahlum said. “A smart field general who loves the competition, and he wants the ball in his hands during crunch time.”
Aiden Tyler photo courtesy of Sweet Home High School
Jack Layne, Jr., Lake Oswego
Layne hadn’t played quarterback before the Lakers staff moved him there as a freshman, “and he has just taken off at the position,” coach Steve Coury said. Last season, he served as the primary backup first to JJ Woodin, then to Casey Filkins when the Lakers went with the Wildcat full-time during the playoffs, getting into seven games and going 9 of 17 for 80 yards. “He’s just learning the game at the quarterback spot,” Coury said. “I think he’s got the chance to play at some level in college. The biggest thing he needs is some experience.”
Jackson Jones, Jr., Tualatin
Timberwolves coach Dan Lever made sure to work Jones into a series or two in just about every game last season, just as he did with Blake Jackson a year earlier when Tualatin had all-leaguer Kyle Dernedde under center. Jones showed his mettle, completing 39 of 75 passes for 685 yards and eight touchdowns with just one interception. “He’s a gunslinger quarterback with the ability to make big-time throws,” Lever said.
Jackson Lowery, Sr., West Salem
Checking in at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds with a strong arm, Lowery is the complete package behind center for West Salem. He passed for 1,813 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior first-year starter, earning first-team all-Mountain Valley Conference honors. Lowery is rated a two-star prospect by 247Sports and holds scholarship offers from Linfield and Pacific. “Jackson is a stud and a great place for us to start,” Titans coach Shawn Stanley said.
Jacob Hage, Jr., Cascade
Hage has been a starter since Week 4 of his freshman year when the coaches realized he needed to be on varsity. “For a kid to come in and mentally take on the quarterback role is not easy. To do it as a 14-year-old was more impressive,” Cougars coach Brandon Bennett said. Last season, he was named first-team all-Oregon West Conference, throwing for 1,011 yards and 10 touchdowns, and this season, he knows his job is to become a true dual-threat quarterback.
Jaden Tiller, Jr., Burns
Last season’s Eastern Oregon League offensive player of the year and a 3A all-state honorable mention selection, Tiller excelled in the read option and RPOs that were the Hilanders’ bread and butter, nearly reaching 1,000 yards in passing (97 of 187, 1,146 yards, 13 touchdowns) and rushing (912 yards, 11 touchdowns). “It was a big learning experience for him, but he showed great improvement between his freshman and sophomore years,” Burns coach Terry Graham said. “He’s not a huge kid, but he’s very quick, and he took his game to a different level during Season 1 this fall. The confidence he has to make all the throws will be even better this year.”
Jaxon Rozewski, Sr., Toledo
The Western Oregon signee has had a solid three-year career for the Boomers, throwing for 2,187 yards and 26 touchdowns (six interceptions) while completing 58 percent of his passes (119 for 205) as a junior. He has 5,720 yards and 67 touchdowns during his career and was named to the all-league first-team last season. His drive to improve this offseason led seemingly “to him getting kicked off every field in the county looking for a place to throw,” Toledo coach Jeff Taylor said. “He goes above and beyond everything you ask him to do. He just loves the game, and he’s grown to become a great leader in our program.”
Jayden Wilson, Sr., Heppner
The Western Oregon signee broke his left fibula in a first-round playoff loss to Kennedy as a sophomore but returned last season to lead the Mustangs to their first state title since 2015, throwing for 1,282 yards and 23 touchdowns and running for 797 yards and 14 scores in earning first-team all-state honors. “Physically, there’s not a tool that he doesn’t have — great arm, runs the ball well,” Heppner coach Greg Grant said. “But I look at his mind. He always makes great decisions, and he’s always working to make a better decision next time. He’s played every snap for us at every level since fifth grade, and it’s a shame he didn’t get a full senior season. I’m just looking forward to having him play a few more games for us.”
Blake DeBisschop (West Linn) photo by Taylor Balkom
J.J. Neece, Sr., Mapleton
Neece will play linebacker at Western Oregon, but he also thrives as a dual-threat quarterback for the Sailors, running for 2,533 yards (13.9 per carry) and 31 touchdowns and throwing for 983 yards and 13 scores as a junior. Mapleton coach Jeff Greene raves about his running ability and athleticism. “He won a showcase in Eugene as a tight end, and he’s never played it before,” Greene said. “But they could see how good an athlete he is, and it helped him get to the next level.”
Jordan McCarty, Jr., Silverton
One of the most dangerous players in the Mid-Willamette Conference, McCarty is a true dual-threat quarterback who passed for 1,783 yards and 14 touchdowns and ran for 11 scores last season en route to first-team all-Mid-Willamette Conference honors. Foxes coach Josh Craig said the 6-foot-1 junior is arguably the hardest worker on the team and is extremely coachable for a star quarterback. “You might think there’s an ego with a quarterback who started as a sophomore, but there’s none with Jordan,” Craig said. “He’s just a humble, good kid … and obviously a really athletic playmaker. If you need a play, you want the ball in his hands in some capacity.”
Kyran Hoskinson, Jr., McMinnville
Hoskinson has committed to Cal State Bakersfield for baseball, but Grizzlies coach Ryan McIrvin believes he could develop into a college football prospect after earning all-conference honorable mention as a sophomore, throwing for 549 yards and three touchdowns while splitting time with Cole Justice, who graduated. “He made a big step from frosh ball to varsity, and he could take another big step this year,” McIrvin said. “He’s a hard worker who’s grown and developed physically.”
Logan Going, Sr., Grant
Going was a unanimous first-team all-PIL selection last season, and this year, Generals coach John Beck said, “He’s just all-around a lot better.” Going devoted considerable time in the offseason to work in the 7-on-7 environment and in developing his skills under the tutelage of West Linn coach Chris Miller, a former Oregon Ducks and NFL quarterback. “He’s bigger, stronger, faster,” Beck said. “He has more velocity on the football.” The 6-foot-3 Going passed for more than 2,000 yards last season and gets high marks for his smarts and leadership.
Mikey Gibson, Jr., Canby
Gibson started the final five games last season, surpassing 200 yards in four of those games, including in a four-touchdown showing against Tualatin in his first start. Last season was his second playing quarterback. “And his first year was playing in the wing-T as a freshman,” Cougars coach Jimmy Joyce said, “so in some ways, it was his first year.” The 6-2, 200-pound Gibson has the coaching staff excited about what he can accomplish. “He finds a way to get the ball to his receivers,” Joyce said. “And he can also do it with his legs.”
Nate Vidlak, Jr., Hidden Valley
There will be a Vidlak under center for Hidden Valley this season, just not the 3A co-offensive player of the year who threw for 3,404 yards and 44 touchdowns last season. With Sam having graduated early and enrolled at Oregon State, younger brother Nate takes the reins a year earlier than expected. Nate could have started on the JV team last season, but he was too good not to utilize in the Mustangs’ run to their first state final since 1978 — he earned all-league honorable mention at receiver with 41 catches for 573 yards and seven touchdowns. “It’ll be good to get five good games, hopefully a culminating week, and get him some time to develop,” Hidden Valley coach James Powers said. “We want to get the opportunity to get him those reps he needs.”
Ryan Rosumny, Sr., La Salle Prep
A first-team all-Northwest Oregon East selection as a junior, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Rosumny was third on the Class 5A regular-season state leaderboard in passing yards (1,858), throwing for 20 touchdowns and completing 65 percent of his passes. “We’re going to put a lot on his plate,” Falcons coach Aaron Hazel said. More than statistics, Hazel stressed Rosumny’s intangibles. “He is one of the two best leaders I’ve had the privilege to coach,” Hazel said. “It’s how he carries himself on and off the field. He has a way of getting his peers to follow him. He has a way of taking them places they didn’t think they could get.” Rosumny has been accepted to Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., which has a 7 percent acceptance rate.
Ryan Rosumny photo by Taylor Balkom
TC Manumaleuna, Fr., North Salem
Vikings coach Jeff Flood said the team will continue to run the wing-T out of multiple looks while taking advantage of Manumaleuna’s skill set . At 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds, Manumaleuna was No. 10 among dual-threat quarterbacks for the class of 2024 in a mid-January national ranking on QB Hit List. “We’ve been looking forward to having him at the high school level for quite a while,” Flood said. “He’s received a lot of accolades around the country, going to a lot of camps and receiving offers already as an eighth-grader. His trajectory is really, really high.”
Tim Orr, Sr., Henley
Orr took over the starting job as a junior and made the all-conference second team after going 90 of 183 for 1,385 yards and 18 touchdowns (six interceptions). He holds offers from Willamette and several West Coast junior colleges, and he put in extensive work in the offseason to improve his athleticism and sculpt his body as he looked forward to what he hoped would be a big senior season. “I feel like we’re going to be able to do more and expand our playbook with him this year,” Hornets coach Alex Stork said. “He’s just so smart and gets us into good positions in our offense. He’s a hard worker and dedicated leader.”
Trey Martin, Sr., Oregon City
Martin completed more than 61 percent of his passes (157 of 256) and threw for 1,834 yards and 16 touchdowns in earning all-Three Rivers honorable mention as a junior. Pioneers coach Dustin Janz thought Martin was ready for a big breakthrough senior season before heading to Southern Oregon. “He has worked tirelessly on improving his game over this long offseason,” Janz said. “He has the arm to make all the throws, makes great decisions and is fantastic in the pocket. He has added another layer this offseason and will be a threat with his feet when needed this season.”
Tristan Lee, Sr., Mazama
Mazama quarterbacks won’t win Skyline offensive player of the year honors showing off their arm — not in coach Vic Lease’s triple-option veer offense. No, Lee won the award for how he masterfully directed the Vikings to a sixth consecutive conference title, running for 768 yards and 11 touchdowns. He signed with Eastern Oregon this month. “Tristan is one of the best quarterbacks I have had to run our offense,” Lease said. “He makes us go.”