Bryant Taylor of Oxnard High is the only Ventura County football player named to Super Prep magazine's preseason All-American team, but several others receive mention in the most recent issue.
Taylor, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound fullback who rushed for 1,250 yards in 160 carries last season, is ranked 15th in Super Prep's list of 25 All-American running backs. Oxnard offensive coordinator Joe Davis says Taylor compares favorably with Ickey Woods, whom Davis coached at Fresno Edison in the early 1980s.
Taylor gives Oxnard an explosive first option out of the wishbone offense. The second option--and second-most touted county player in Super Prep--is Oxnard quarterback Johnel Turner who, aside from the All-Americans, is rated the third-best player in the Farwest (California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Utah).
Turner (6-0, 190) gained 1,087 yards in 127 carries last season and has improved his strength, according to Davis. He must to improve his strength in the classroom to become a top Division I prospect, however.
Two other county quarterbacks earn mention in Super Prep--Jason Isaacs of Buena and Tim Gutierrez of Santa Clara.
Isaacs, who passed for 2,281 yards last season, only needs to cut down on his interceptions (23 last season) to become a top recruit. "Jason has that wonderful habit of turning negatives into positives," Super Prep says.
Gutierrez set a state record by completing 70.4% of his passes last season and is described as a dart thrower by the magazine. But he is being closely watched because of a knee injury that ended his baseball season.
Linebackers Lance Martin of Thousand Oaks and Richard Harris of Buena are among the best in the Farwest, according to Super Prep. Martin (6-1 1/2, 215 pounds) is described as a "quick, tough, intense-type," and the magazine looks forward to him meeting head-on with powerful Canyon running back Chris Peery.
Harris (6-1, 210), a tireless worker who also plays fullback, is described by the magazine as a player who "just beats up the weight room."
Justifiably, players from California are the objects of substantial attention from national recruiting magazines like Super Prep. The state sent 205 players to Division I schools on football scholarships last February, the second-highest total in the nation behind only the 270 from Texas.