Corona del Mar High’s John Humphreys will more or less be able to play college football wherever he wants.
Humphreys picked up his 18th college offer Tuesday, from the University of Miami. His 19th offer came Wednesday, from the University of Tennessee.
Humphreys, a 6-foot-5, 205-pound wide receiver and safety, had quite a junior season. He hauled in 103 passes for 1,783 yards and 28 touchdowns, and all of those numbers are CdM football single-season records. Even with his senior season to come, Humphreys is already the Sea Kings’ career leader for catches (176), receiving yards (3,117) and receiving touchdowns (46).
“I felt like I was comfortable with the playbook and everything, and I could think more about other stuff like reading defenses,” Humphreys said. “It was awesome, playing with such a talented quarterback like Ethan [Garbers], and also just the other wideouts. It’s a good group of guys that loves to work out. I’m super-excited for next year and even this offseason, just to see the work we can put in. Hopefully it will be even more special next year.”
Humphreys helped the Sea Kings (11-2-1) earn a share of the Sunset League title and advance to the CIF Southern Section Division 4 title game before losing 26-14 to Simi Valley Grace Brethren at Simi Valley High.
As the top option in a high-powered offense, Humphreys earns the 2018 Daily Pilot Football Dream Team Player of the Year award on that alone.
When the scouts are gone, though, Humphreys doesn’t stop shining.
“It’s fun to see him mature as a leader,” CdM offensive coordinator Kevin Hettig said of Humphreys, who shared the CIF Southern Section Division 4 Offensive Player of the Year award and received Sunset League MVP and first-team All-Orange County accolades. “He’s understanding that leadership isn’t just screaming at people, that leadership is nurturing guys and bringing the younger guys along. That’s something that I see in the last few months that is just lights out. He’ll put an arm around a guy that may never play a down of football here at CdM, but he’ll care about him in the weight room. That’s the thing that is special about him.”
Humphreys has helped the Sea Kings reach the Division 4 title game twice in his three years in the program. Expectations will remain high next season, when CdM should return 10 of 11 starters on offense. Only center Sean Owens will be lost to graduation.
Humphreys, who was also a leader for the Sea Kings boys’ basketball team this winter, will not be CdM’s only heavily recruited senior on the gridiron next fall. Tight end Mark Redman, who’s 6-6 and 250 pounds, has 22 college offers. Garbers has 14.
He’s understanding that leadership isn’t just screaming at people, that leadership is nurturing guys and bringing the younger guys along.
The instructions from Hettig to Garbers can be simple at times.
“He always tells me, ‘If you’ve got John one-on-one, you need to take it,’ ” said Garbers, the Dream Team Offensive Player of the Year who passed for 4,135 yards and 55 touchdowns, with only eight interceptions. “It made my job a lot easier, that’s for sure, with his frame and his athleticism.”
Humphreys said he sometimes talks with Ethan’s older brother, Chase, who was a senior in Humphreys’ freshman year. Chase Garbers now plays quarterback at Cal. In 2016, the Sea Kings lost 36-35 in double overtime on the road to Chatsworth Sierra Canyon in the Division 4 title game, on a windy night in the San Fernando Valley.
“I still tell [Chase], ‘If I was a junior when you were a senior, we would have won that Sierra Canyon game,’” Humphreys said. “I was 6-3 and 180, and now I’m 6-5 and 205. My body has grown a lot … [but] I’ve also grown into a leader. I feel like that’s a big part, for sure, of my development over the years. Also, my speed, strength and confidence [have gotten better].
“My confidence has grown, implementing that dog mentality. I feel like if I had that my freshman year, I would have a ring on my finger right now. But we’re going to get one next year. We’re working our butts off this offseason so we can get one of those.”
No one should really doubt Humphreys’ motivation. CdM head coach Dan O’Shea, who has been part of five section finalist teams in his eight years coaching in the program, called Humphreys one of the best leaders he’s been around in 25 years of coaching.
“He’s just got a presence that oozes out of him, from a competitive standpoint, from a work ethic standpoint,” O’Shea said. “It’s really special, but then he also has the ability to connect with others, from the best players on the team to the new little freshmen in our weight room right now. He’s walking around introducing himself, the first day he’s back from basketball.
“He is just a unique young man, character-wise and leadership-wise.”
COACH OF THE YEAR
Corona del Mar
Over his first four years as the coach of CdM, O’Shea has continued to build on the program’s winning ways that began under Scott Meyer. O’Shea’s teams have gone a combined 19-0-1 in league games, with the tie coming via a rainout against Sunset League co-champion Los Alamitos. The Sea Kings (11-2-1) advanced to their second CIF Southern Section Division 4 championship game in three seasons, dropping the 2018 final 26-14 against Simi Valley Grace Brethren. A prolific passing attack was the calling card of CdM this past season, but the defensive-minded O’Shea got the most out of an under-sized defensive unit. As an example, Luke Fisher, a 5-foot-9 and 185-pound linebacker, was the team’s leading tackler with 101. In games that were played out on the field this season, CdM scored 37.2 points per game. The Sea Kings allowed 15.8 points on average defensively.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
QB | Corona del Mar | Jr.
Garbers grabbed the attention of many college programs with his gaudy numbers and physical gifts. The junior signal-caller was responsible for 61 of his team’s 65 offensive touchdowns, an astonishing rate of 93.8%. He completed 284 of his 424 passes for 4,135 yards and 55 touchdowns. He coupled his touchdown total with just eight interceptions, a remarkably low number for as many times as he took a shot downfield. Garbers, the Sunset League Offensive Player of the Year and All-CIF Southern Section Division 4 and second-team All-Orange County selection, set a new CdM single-game mark with seven passing touchdowns against Newport Harbor to win the Battle of the Bay 62-14. There is little doubt that Garbers has a future in college like his brother, Chase, who saw significant playing time at the quarterback position for Cal this past season.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
LB | Edison | Sr.
The inside linebacker split Sunset League Defensive Player of the Year honors with Los Alamitos’ linebacker and special teams star Michael Allen-Reddy. Hoggard registered a team-high 115 tackles to go with 11 tackles for loss, 2½ sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. The University of Pennsylvania-bound senior helped his team stay in games, as the Chargers did not lose a game by more than one possession after Week 1. Edison finished the season 5-6 overall, but it qualified for the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs with a third-place finish in the league. Hoggard, an All-CIF Southern Section Division 2 and third-team All-Orange County selection, represented Edison on the South roster in the Orange County All-Star Classic. Hoggard is a two-time first-team Dream Team selection.
ALL-PURPOSE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
WR-DB-P-PR-KR | Laguna Beach | Sr.
An impact player in all three facets of the game, Nolan was especially dangerous as a receiver this season. He obliterated the Laguna Beach single-season receptions record with 70. The previous mark stood at 61, set by Chris Paul in 2009 and Jake Wheeler in 2003. Laguna Beach went 10-3 overall in reaching the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 12 playoffs, and it was 10-2 with Nolan on the field. Nolan amassed a Laguna Beach record 1,184 receiving yards to go with 18 receiving touchdowns. He added 461 yards as a kickoff and punt returner, and averaged 41.8 yards per punt, a Laguna Beach single-season record. As a free safety, Nolan had four interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Nolan shared Pac 4 League Offensive Player of the Year honors with Western standout receiver Caine Savage, who set the new Orange County record for touchdown catches in a single season with 32. Nolan was also selected All-CIF Southern Section Division 12 and third-team All-Orange County. Nolan is a two-time first-team Dream Team selection.
QB | Laguna Beach | Jr.
Breakers coach John Shanahan abandoned his instincts to implement a run-first offense with the rubber arm of Johnson in the fold. The Pac 4 League first-team selection established Laguna Beach single-season records for passing attempts (426), completions (238), passing yards (3,246) and touchdown passes (42). An All-CIF Southern Section Division 12 honoree, Johnson also set the school mark for a single game in touchdown passes with six in a 45-7 win at Godinez to clinch a share of the league title.
RB | Edison | Sr.
Lopez just missed out on a 1,000-yard season on the ground with his 976 rushing yards and five touchdowns. A string of three straight performances of 160-plus rushing yards against Huntington Beach, Newport Harbor and Fountain Valley likely locked up a share of the Sunset League Offensive Back of the Year honor, which also went to Los Alamitos senior Zack Wagoner.
RB | Huntington Beach | Sr.
An ankle injury forced the first-team All-Sunset League selection to miss three games, but when healthy, McLawyer was as good as anyone at making defenders miss in space. He had four 100-yard rushing games, contributing 817 rushing yards and six touchdowns for the season. Huntington Beach did not win a game in which McLawyer did not play. The Oilers went 6-5 overall and qualified for the CIF Southern Section Division 6 playoffs, losing in the first round at No. 2-seeded St. Margaret’s 28-17. McLawyer was also selected to the South roster for the Orange County All-Star Classic. McLawyer is a two-time first-team Dream Team selection.
WR | Corona del Mar | Jr.
In addition to the size of 6-foot-6 tight end Mark Redman and 6-foot-5 wide receiver John Humphreys, the blazing speed of Schlom gave Ethan Garbers another downfield target. Schlom joined Humphreys as the Sea Kings’ second 1,000-yard receiver of the season. He had 72 catches for 1,138 yards and 10 touchdowns, and he was named an All-CIF Southern Section Division 4 and first-team All-Sunset League performer.
WR | Fountain Valley | Sr.
Krause was the leading receiver in a pass-heavy Fountain Valley offense. He had 70 receptions for 908 yards and seven touchdowns. Barons coach Jimmy Nolan said that Krause was his team’s MVP. Krause also received first-team All-Sunset League honors and the Fountain Valley Male Student Athlete of Character award. Fountain Valley (5-6) won its first four games of the season, but it faded in the Sunset League, going 1-4.
TE | Corona del Mar | Jr.
At 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds, Redman fit the profile of the tight end position perfectly. Whether he stayed in as a blocker or he was running routes underneath to give Garbers a check-down option, Redman was effective in both roles. The first-team All-Sunset League and All-CIF Southern Section Division 4 pick made 54 catches for 598 yards and nine touchdowns. Seven of those touchdowns came in CdM’s final six games. Redman is a two-time first-team Dream Team selection.
OL | Edison | Sr.
The Chargers managed to earn third place in the Sunset League even after losing starting quarterback Patrick Angelovic for the season just four games in. Edison was still able to run a balanced offense the rest of the way. Conaway, the Sunset League Offensive Lineman of the Year and an All-CIF Southern Section Division 2 and second-team All-Orange County honoree, was a 6-foot-2, 215-pound left tackle that protected the blind side of backup quarterback Braeden Boyles for an offense that averaged 25.2 points per game in league play.
OL | Corona del Mar | Sr.
The three-year starter earned his second All-Sunset League first-team nod and made the All-Orange County second team. Owens, a 6-foot-3, 240-pounder, did so as the center for his third different quarterback, as he has now snapped the ball to shotgun signal-callers Chase Garbers, Nathaniel Espinoza and Ethan Garbers. Owens is a two-time first-team Dream Team selection.
OL | Corona del Mar | So.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound sophomore helped provide time in the pocket for Garbers, who would go on to produce 4,137 passing yards and 61 total touchdowns. Behind one of the most prolific offenses in Southern California, CdM advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division 4 championship game, losing to Simi Valley Grace Brethren 26-14.
OL | Estancia | Sr.
With the help of Gonzalez at left guard, the Eagles’ running attack boomed again. Estancia (6-4) gashed defenses for 2,385 rushing yards in 10 games. Feature back Trevor Pacheco ran for 1,534 yards and 19 touchdowns. Gonzalez earned a spot on the All-Orange Coast League first-team roster.
OL | Ocean View | Sr.
The co-Pac 4 League champion Seahawks (9-2) needed athletic offensive linemen with quarterback Noah Hickman looking to pull the ball down and run almost as often as he threw. Ocean View ran the ball on 71.1% of its offensive plays, setting up the big play for Hickman in the passing game. Hickman threw a touchdown pass on 25.2% of his 91 completions. Blackmore, a first-year varsity starter at right tackle, was an All-Pac 4 League first-team selection.
AP | Fountain Valley | Sr.
One of the most explosive players in the area, the first-team All-Sunset League selection contributed 1,207 all-purpose yards. He made 44 catches for 789 yards and seven touchdowns. A selection to the South roster for the Orange County All-Star Classic, Sykes also rushed 36 times for 319 yards and three touchdowns.
PK | Edison | Sr.
Spradlin was named the Sunset League Kicker of the Year after missing just four kicks all year. He made four of his five field-goal attempts, and he also converted 30 of 33 extra-point kicks.
DL | Edison | Jr.
The junior defensive end earned first-team All-Sunset League honors and was fourth on his team with 83 tackles. Fletcher led the Chargers in sacks (8½) and tackles for loss (15), adding an interception and one blocked field goal.
DL | Corona del Mar | Sr.
Troutman finished fifth on the team in tackles with 44, but he made them count. The first-team All-Sunset League member was second among the Sea Kings in tackles for loss with 12, adding five sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble return for a touchdown. On special teams, the senior chipped in with a pair of blocked punts.
DL | Ocean View | Jr.
Ocean View shared the Pac 4 League championship with Western and Laguna Beach this season. Roberts could be a key cog as the Seahawks look to remain in contention next season. The first-team all-league pick led the team in tackles for loss (11), sacks (seven) and forced fumbles (three), adding 40 tackles.
DL | Corona del Mar | Sr.
Jajonie was one of the top pass rushers for the Sea Kings this season, contributing seven sacks and six hurries. The first-team All-Sunset League selection added 39 tackles and 10 tackles for loss.
LB | Huntington Beach | Sr.
Gosney took home Sunset League Linebacker of the Year honors for the second year in a row. He had a team-high 82 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 14½ sacks and 13 hurries. Gosney forced two fumbles, adding a fumble recovery and a punt block. He was a threat to score points on defense, returning a fumble for a touchdown and also recording a safety. Gosney is a two-time first-team Dream Team selection.
LB | Edison | Sr.
Eden wound up tied with Mike Walters for second on the Chargers in tackles with 95. The first-team All-Sunset League pick added seven tackles for loss, one interception and one field-goal block. Eden joined Hoggard among the Chargers selected to the South roster in the Orange County All-Star Classic.
LB | Corona del Mar | Sr.
Fisher recorded a team-high 101 tackles for the Sea Kings, including a season-high 19 in a 21-20 win over San Clemente. The senior linebacker also had 12 tackles in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 championship game against Simi Valley Grace Brethren. He had 33 tackles in the playoffs, becoming an All-CIF Southern Section Division 4 selection.
DB | Huntington Beach | Sr.
The two-way star earned All-CIF Southern Section Division 6 honors as a wide receiver, but his 6-foot-4 frame combined with above-average speed made him a shutdown cornerback for the Oilers. He made 27 tackles (23 solo) to go with 11 passes defensed, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. As a receiver, the first-team All-Sunset League pick brought in 35 passes for 718 yards and 13 touchdowns. He joined McLawyer as the Huntington Beach representatives on the South roster for the Orange County All-Star Classic.
DB | Corona del Mar | Jr.
Fincher did not have a touchdown scored against him all season, batting down seven passes in the process. He had a huge game against Huntington Beach in Sunset League play, successfully defending four passes while also reeling in two interceptions. Fincher earned first-team All-Sunset League and All-CIF Southern Section Division 4 honors.
DB | Edison | Sr.
Palmer was a playmaker on both sides of the ball, but he was particularly impactful as a cover cornerback. He broke up six passes and recorded two interceptions. The first-team All-Sunset League selection made 48 tackles.
DB | Ocean View | Sr.
Anwell shared the Pac 4 Defensive Player of the Year award with Western linebacker Jacob Domino. The free safety was a ball hawk on defense, securing five interceptions and a fumble recovery. He was second on the team in tackles with 59. Anwell represented the Seahawks on the South roster in the Orange County All-Star Classic.
Position, Name, School, Year
QB Noah Hickman, Ocean View, Sr.
RB Trevor Pacheco, Estancia, Sr.
RB Mathew Fuiava, Fountain Valley, Sr.
WR Cole Koffler, Edison, Jr.
WR Will Earthman, Ocean View, Sr.
WR Aidan Goltz, Newport Harbor, Jr.
OL Trent Jordahl, Edison, Jr.
OL Daniel Escamilla, Marina, Sr.
OL Tanner Tomlinson, Corona del Mar, Jr.
OL Cade Jones, Edison, Jr.
OL Aruna Bijanjan, Costa Mesa, Sr.
AP Mike Walters, Edison, Jr.
PK Noah Handel, Laguna Beach, Sr.
Position, Name, School, Year
DL Jovanni Page, Edison, Sr.
DL Caleb Mostajo, Laguna Beach, Sr.
DL Carter Duss, Corona del Mar, Jr.
LB Alex Nieves, Ocean View, Sr.
LB Nathan O’Rourke, Marina, Jr.
LB Christian Moore, Huntington Beach, Jr.
LB Shane Lythgoe, Laguna Beach, Sr.
DB Jack Elliott, Corona del Mar, Sr.
DB Rodrigo Adame, Ocean View, Sr.
DB Kai Ball, Laguna Beach, Sr.
DB Nathan Guyot, Estancia, Sr.