Prep predictions: Who will be the stars of 2016?
It’s time to peer into my crystal ball and see what 2016 has in store for local high school athletes, coaches and fans:
•Outfielder Blake Rutherford of West Hills Chaminade will challenge country singer Blake Shelton for most popular person named Blake when he’s a top-10 selection in baseball’s June amateur draft.
•The Ball brothers from Chino Hills will appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the headline, “Ballers!”
•USC-bound Michael Norman of Vista Murrieta and T.J. Brock of Chaminade, the fastest track runners in California, will compete in a hover board race, with the winner promising a rematch using legs.
•The pitching duo of Nick Pratto and Hagen Danner will help make Huntington Beach the No. 1 baseball team in America.
•Junior Earnie Sears of Mission Hills Alemany, senior Tommie Groce of Dorsey and freshman Cassius Stanley of Studio City Harvard-Westlake will produce so many dunks that Dunkin’ Donuts will offer each a promotional deal.
•Junior running backs T.J. Pledger and Andrew Van Buren of Chaminade will score so many touchdowns that they’ll be called “The TD Boys.”
•Former Crescenta Valley standout Brian Gadsby will be the surprise pitching standout in the Pac-12 Conference as a freshman at UCLA.
•The football Class of 2018 will be led by quarterbacks Matt Corral (Oaks Christian), Cameron Rising (Newbury Park), Brevin White (Alemany) and Re-al Mitchell (St. John Bosco).
•Former Vista Murrieta linebacker Su’a Cravens of USC will be a first-round draft choice and make the NFL all-rookie and all-tattoo teams.
•Arizona-bound Reyna Carranco of Oxnard and Brown-bound Raquel Blanchard of Newhall Hart will battle it out for home-run supremacy in softball.
•Former Sherman Oaks Notre Dame outfielder Giancarlo Stanton will hit a baseball so far that the North American Aerospace Defense Command will issue an alert for an unidentified flying object near Miami.
•The best guard in Southern California not named Lonzo Ball will be Eyassu Worku of Los Alamitos.
•Shortstop Chase Strumpf of JSerra will be banned from hitting baseballs on March 19 to make sure the swallows are not disturbed when they return to the mission in San Juan Capistrano.
•Wyatt Davis, a 6-foot-5, 315-pound standout offensive lineman at Bellflower St. John Bosco, will delay his college announcement until he can take all five official visits to enjoy each free meal of steak and lobster.
•Los Angeles Cathedral will celebrate another Southern Section Division 3 soccer championship.
•There will be so many backup quarterbacks switching schools in January that the CIF will create a color-coded interactive map to keep track for coaches and fans.
•El Niño will disrupt so many athletic contests that swimming and water polo will become the favorite sports in Southern California.
•NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. will conclude that Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya, a Chaminade grad, will be a first-round draft pick for 2017.
•Sophomore guard Brandon Williams of Encino Crespi will earn respect as one of the top prospects from the Class of 2018.
•The fire marshal will ask for autographs, then not allow anyone else into a crowded gym when Chino Hills plays Lakeside Foothills Christian in a battle of future UCLA recruits on Jan. 9 at Chatsworth Sierra Canyon.
•Junior shortstop-pitcher Hunter Greene of Notre Dame will end 2016 as one of the top pro prospects for 2017.
•The surprise standout in City Section baseball will be junior shortstop Dane Reed of El Camino Real.
•The top five teams in football in 2016 will be St. John Bosco, Santa Ana Mater Dei, Corona Centennial, Harbor City Narbonne and JSerra.
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