Top 50 Football Returners Countdown: Nos. 11-15

 

Weston Ranch tailback Cori Floyd, left top, is primed for a big 2017 after emerging as the Cougars' leading rusher last autumn. [CALIXTRO ROMIAS/RECORD FILE 2016

Don’t let Pac-12 football fool you.

Running the ball still matters. Especially in high school.

With that in mind, my Top 50 Football Returners Countdown rolls on with Nos. 11-14, three of whom specialize in carrying the football, taking a beating and playing a massive role for their teams.

Take a look at Nos. 11-14:

My Top 50 Football Returners Countdown, weighing the best returners in The Record’s coverage area: San Joaquin County and the Mother Lode, is in its third edition. The inspiration and much of the wording describing these rankings is thanks to my good friend and former colleague T.J. Holmes of the Redding Record Searchlight. These rankings are based on past varsity experience, as well as potential impact for 2017. These 50 players reflect the 50 days remaining until high school football season begins with Week 0 on Aug. 25.

Because tangible impact is important for these rankings, there are often more skill position players. Yet, you will see plenty of capable linemen here.

Schools included for these rankings:

  • San Joaquin County: Lincoln, St. Mary’s, McNair, Bear Creek, Chavez, Stagg, Tokay, Lodi, Franklin, Edison, West, Tracy, Kimball, Weston Ranch, Lathrop, East Union, Manteca, Sierra, Escalon, Ripon, Ripon Christian, Brookside Christian, Elliot Christian, Millennium and Mountain House
  • Mother Lode: Amador, Argonaut, Bret Harte, Linden and Calaveras

Sierra safety Jacob Peterson, right, goes in for a tackle against East Union during a Valley Oak League game last season. [CALIXTRO ROMIAS/RECORD FILE 2016

No. 15 – Jacob Peterson (5-10, 175), Sierra, WR/SS, senior

Peterson came into his own for the Timberwolves last autumn, as the top receiving threat and an incredibly reliable strong safety. Sierra backtracked a bit, losing in the first round of the playoffs after winning Sac-Joaquin Section, NorCal and CIF State titles the year before, but Peterson was excellent. He had 44 catches for 789 yards and five touchdowns, and on defense, managed 92 tackles and two fumble recoveries. Expect his role on this team to blossom.

No. 14 – Cori Floyd (5-10, 172), Weston Ranch, RB/SB, senior

Floyd was a welcome surprise to the Cougars last season, on a team that was led almost exclusively by seniors. He took advantage of his opportunity, as senior tailback Bryant Bowen Jr. struggled with injury issues and thus focused on defense. Floyd became the featured tailback, and had 512 yards on 59 carries with four touchdowns. This season, he won’t have to give carries to Bowen or other weapons like James Walker. Floyd averaged 8.7 yards a carry, which is part of the reason why he’s so high on this list.

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Tracy fullback Mason Sarsfield, then a sophomore, runs the football against St. Mary's during a Tri-City Athletic League game in October 2016 at Wayne Schneider Stadium. [RECORD FILE 2016

No. 13 – Mason Sarsfield (6-0, 172), Tracy, FB/OLB, junior

Sarsfield started to really show his promise toward the end of last season, as Tracy’s offensive line dominated to close Tri-City Athletic League play. His coming out party came against Lincoln, with a 176-yard, two-touchdown night. Sarsfield totalled 797 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s also listed as an outside linebacker, but had no defensive statistics registered last year. He is primed for a big season, and has had a year to put on muscle and learn more of the Bulldogs’ veer system.

No. 12 – Cory Glasgow (5-6, 171), Tokay, RB/SS, senior

Glasgow gets the nod in a tough call over Floyd and Sarsfield because of his potential impact on the defensive side of the ball. In fact, Tigers coach Michael Holst, the program’s former defensive coordinator, said Glasgow is the scariest Tokay player to get hit by. As a junior, Glasgow had just nine tackles with one interception, but Holst’s words probably mean his role on the defense will grow. Most importantly, though, Glasgow is primed for a 1,000-yard season, after amassing 901 yards on 142 carries with 10 touchdowns in 2016. Glasgow averaged 6.3 yards per carry.

No. 11 – Oyebolaji Akinyemi (6-2, 210), DE/MLB, Tracy, senior

Akinyemi was a breakout star for Tracy last season, dazzling the Tri-City Athletic League’s coaches, who voted him the TCAL’s Defensive Player of the Year in their postseason awards.

The talented pass-rusher, who can play outside linebacker or defensive end ala Aldon Smith, had 41 tackles, 2.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. Expect those numbers to balloon this season as he becomes a senior leader on a strong team.

2017 TOP 50 FOOTBALL RETURNERS COUNTDOWN

 July 7: Players Nos. 44-50

July 14: Players Nos. 37-43

July 21: Players Nos. 30-36

July 28: Players Nos. 23-29

Aug. 1: Players Nos. 16-22

Aug. 11: Players Nos. 11-15

Aug. 16: Player No. 10

Aug. 17: Player No. 9

Aug. 18: Player No. 8

Aug. 19: Player No. 7

Aug. 20: Player No. 6

Aug. 21: Player No. 5

Aug. 22: Player No. 4

Aug. 23: Player No. 3

Aug. 24: Player No. 2

Aug. 25: Player No. 1

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

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    Thomas Lawrence

    Lawrence became a prep and general assignment sports reporter for The Record in August 2014. He has covered high school, college and professional sports and more in his career. From November of 2011 through summer 2014, he covered college and prep ... Read Full
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