L.A. Times’ high school football back of the year: Arlis Boardingham

Arlis Boardingham of Birmingham leaps to make a touchdown catch.
Birminghman’s Arlis Boardingham, left, makes a leaping catch in the end zone for a touchdown against a San Pedro defender in the City Section Open Division championship game.
(Craig Weston)

This story is part of our L.A. Times 2021 fall All-Star football team coverage. Read the full series here.

There are only a few things on the football field Arlis Boardingham of Lake Balboa Birmingham High hasn’t mastered. He played receiver, quarterback, tight end, defensive end, linebacker, safety, punter, long snapper, and punt and kickoff returner.

As a receiver, his 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame made him difficult to cover by one defender. As a linebacker, he used his agility and strength to take down ball carriers in leading Birmingham to the City Section Open Division championship.

For his versatility and stellar play, Boardingham is The Times’ high school football back of the year for 2021.

He caught 40 passes for 782 yards and 15 touchdowns. He rushed for three touchdowns and returned two punts for a touchdown. He made 61 tackles.

“He knows he’s good,” coach Jim Rose said.

Boardingham has kept open his college plans while being pursued by USC, Texas and Notre Dame, among others. Some schools want him to be a receiver. Some schools want him to be a linebacker.


He’ll be training and competing in track and field all spring because there is one goal left on his high school bucket list: to be state champion in the triple jump.

The Los Angeles Times has selected its All-Star football team comprised of 24 players, including player, back and lineman of the year, plus coach of the year.

Dec. 19, 2021