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Prep football: Talent pool at quarterback as deep as ever

Los Alamitos quarterback Malachi Nelson, a USC commit, is ready for his senior year.
(Nick Koza )

The class of 2025 quarterbacks in Southern California high school football is ready to provide competition for the outstanding class of 2023 quarterbacks. And the class of 2024 quarterbacks aren’t too shabby either.

In simple terms, there’s plenty of talent at the quarterback position in the Southern Section.

The seniors are led by USC-bound Malachi Nelson of Los Alamitos and Tennessee-bound Nico Iamaleava of Warren. Both have earned national recognition for their college potential. But there are others, too.

Kadin Semonza of Mission Viejo is headed to Ball State. Aidan Chiles of Downey is committed to Oregon State. Pierce Clarkson of St. John Bosco is going to Louisville. Izzy Carter of Corona Centennial is committed to Arizona State. Ty Dieffenbach of Agoura is committed to UNLV. CJ Tiller from Rancho Cucamonga and Ryan Staub of West Ranch are headed to Boise State and Colorado, respectively.

Among the juniors, Elijah Brown of Santa Ana Mater Dei has never lost a high school football game in two seasons. Darius Curry of Long Beach Poly was a star at St. Bernard as a freshman. Bryan Wilson of Ayala has the versatility to create big problems for defenses. Myles Jackson of Long Beach Millikan has a strong arm and lots of college offers.

Then there’s the talented sophomores. Michael Tollefson of San Juan Hills passed for 14 touchdowns as a freshman. Wyatt Becker of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame has one of the best arms in the Southland. Steele Pizzella of Simi Valley passed for 11 touchdowns with one interception as a freshman. Bear Bachmeier of Murrieta Valley comes from a family of high achievers and is ready to unleash an air assault in the Inland Empire. Alonzo Esparza of Sierra Canyon passed for nearly 3,000 yards as a freshman at Culver City.

There also is a freshman quarterback to watch from the class of 2026: Brady Smigiel of Newbury Park .

There’s also plenty of opportunity for others to be thrust into the spotlight. Senior Evan Tomich of Mayfair had 14 touchdown passes last season. Senior Jaxon Potter of Santa Margarita is capable of big performances. Senior Javance Tupouata-Johnson of Chaminade is a San Diego State commit hoping for a fresh start with the Eagles after transferring from Notre Dame. Senior Jack Jacobs of St. Francis is 6 foot 6 and has a good group of receivers.

Will Doherty of Leuzinger is a 6-5 senior transfer from Mira Costa who enjoyed summer success. Senior Xavier Rice of Loyola returns from a knee injury with high expectations. Dieter Barr of St. Pius X-St. Matthias passed for 55 touchdowns.

In the City Section, summer passing competitions was about finding the next major quarterback contributors. Birmingham is looking for sophomore Kingston Tisdell to be a standout. Cleveland has experience with returnee Emiliano Lopez. Venice likes its senior quarterback, 6-5 Paul Kessler. Narbonne has confidence in 6-4 returnee Ryan Corley.

Beginning Aug. 8, The Times will have player profiles previewing top players at each position group. Here’s the rundown.

Aug. 8: QB Ty Dieffenbach of Agoura.

Aug. 9: RB Cincere Rhaney of Gardena Serra

Aug. 10 OL Raymond Pulido of Apple Valley

Aug. 11: WR Jaden Rattay of L.A. Lincoln

Aug. 12: TE Nick Fernandez of San Pedro

Aug. 13: DL Seth Fao of Banning

Aug. 14: LB Weston Port of San Juan Hills

Aug. 15: DB Maliki Crawford of Oxnard Pacifica

Aug. 16: Punter Aidan Flintoft of Oaks Christian


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