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January 17, 2013Plenty of top recruits and a pair of underclassmen standouts mark the NorCalPreps.com All-NorCal first team. Who gained the edge at competitive positions like quarterback, running back and linebacker?
QB: Jake Browning SO Folsom
Browning was named the NorCalPreps.com Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for a single season state record 5,248 yards, according to the state record book. The sophomore also threw for 63 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in leading a young Folsom squad to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II title and a spot in the inaugural NorCal Open Division Regional Bowl game. Browning was also named Offensive Player of the Year by the Sacramento Bee.
RB: Pepe Vitale SR De La Salle
Vitale carried on the tradition of tough running backs at De La Salle in finishing with 2,102 yards and 33 touchdowns, including 145 yards and four touchdowns while battling injuries in the CIF Open Division Bowl game against Centennial. Vitale only had three games where he averaged less than five yards per carry. He was named first-team, All-East Bay by the Bay Area News Group and first-team, All-Metro by the San Francisco Chronicle.
RB: Joe Protheroe SR Clayton Valley
Clayton Valley was one of the big surprises this year in its dominating run to the North Coast Section Division II title and reaching the NorCal Division II Regional Bowl game. The key to this success was a power running game spearheaded by Protheroe, who finished with 3,014 yards and 34 touchdowns. He was named the East Bay Offensive Player of the Year by the Bay Area News Group and the Division II Player of the Year by NorCalPreps.com.
WR: Darrell Daniels SR Freedom
Daniels, a Washington commit, proved to be a matchup issue for just about every opponent this year in finishing with 947 yards and 11 touchdowns. He caught touchdowns in nine different games, including an 11 catch, 195 yard performance against Deer Valley in an important Bay Valley Athletic League contest. He made first-team, All-East Bay by the Bay Area News Group and first-team, All-Metro by the Chronicle.
WR: Andrew Vollert SR St. Ignatius
Vollert was named the West Catholic Athletic League Most Valuable wide receiver after tallying 832 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Wildcats, which won the Central Coast Section Open Division title. They also reached the NorCal Division I Regional Bowl game in losing to eventual state champion Granite Bay. He made first-team, All-Mercury News.
TE: John Mundt SR Central Catholic
Mundt had team highs in catches (33), yards (625) and receiving touchdowns (eight) in helping Central Catholic win its first state title. He also had 80 tackles and 15.5 sacks at defensive end as the Raiders were the dominant team in Division IV this past season. He was named league MVP and is verbally committed to Oregon.
OL: Gunnar Graham SR Marin Catholic
Marin Catholic had one of the better offenses in Northern California this past year and Graham's work up front was key. Playing right tackle, he helped protect Division III Player of the Year Jared Goff and opened holes for Akili Terry and Andrew Celis. He made first-team, All-Metro by the Chronicle and is headed to Colorado next year.
OL: Antonio Huey SR Pittsburg
Hauling in plenty of awards for a lineman, Huey proved to be one of the top two-way linemen in the area this year. He made first-team, All-East Bay by the Bay Area News Group on both lines as well as first-team, All-Metro by the Chronicle. He was also the co-Player of the Year in the BVAL and is headed to Colorado in the fall.
OL: Dominic Luca SR Bellarmine
One of the few returning starters for the Bells, Luca was a stalwart on the line in being named the Most Valuable offensive linemen in the WCAL after opening holes for Bellarmine's physical running game. Luca was also named first-team, All-Metro by the Chronicle and first-team, All-Mercury News.
OL: Josh Wormley SR Folsom
The offensive line doesn't get much attention at Folsom with the focus on the skill positions, but Wormley did excellent work for the Bulldogs. The first-team, All-Metro selection by the Sacramento Bee helped Folsom average nearly 45 points per game in reaching the NorCal Open Division Regional Bowl game and finish No. 2 in the NCP Top 20 rankings with a 14-1 record.
OL: David Ogburn SR De La Salle
One of two seniors on the Spartans' line, Ogburn was a key cog in De La Salle's run game which was at its finest in the postseason. Ogburn was named first-team, All-East Bay Athletic League as well as making first-team, All-East Bay by the Bay Area News Group and first-team, All-Metro by the San Francisco Chronicle.
MP: Warren Miles Long SR Logan
A legit two-way producer for the NCS Division I runner-ups, Long was named the NorCalPreps.com Player of the Year and the East Bay Player of the Year by the Bay Area News Group after rushing for 1,700 yards and scoring 24 total touchdowns. He had 86 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions on defense. While he garnered scholarship offers on both sides of the ball, Long is verbally committed to Northwestern as a running back.
DL: Zach Claiborne SR Oak Ridge
The Sacramento Bee Defensive Player of the Year was one of the top sack artists in the region for the SJS Division I runner-ups. He had 90 tackles and 25.5 sacks highlighted by seven tackles and 4.5 sacks against Burbank in the section semi-finals.
DL: Eddie Vanderdoes SR Placer
Vanderdoes made first-team, All-Metro by the Sacramento Bee after racking up 72 tackles, including 10 for loss, and nine sacks as Placer completed an undefeated regular season before losing in the second round of the SJS Division IV playoffs. The US Army All-American is considering UCLA, Washington, USC, Notre Dame and Alabama as one of the most coveted players in the country.
DL: Beau Hershberger SR Granite Bay
A versatile defender who lined up at different spots throughout the year, Hershberger had 90 tackles and five sacks for a defense which halted various offensive styles on their way to the CIF Division I state title. Hershberger, who was first-team, All-Metro by the Sacramento Bee, is undecided on college.
DL: Vita Vea SR Milpitas
Vea was a disruptive force at multiple positions for Milpitas, which made the CCS Division I finals. Lining up at linebacker at points, Vea had 89 tackles and eight sacks to go with 578 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. His best game came at Palo Alto with 100 yards on the ground with a touchdown to go with three sacks. Vea was first-team, All-Metro by the Chronicle and first-team, All-Mercury News.
LB: Michael Hutchings SR De La Salle
The USC commit was the standout on a talent laden De La Salle defense, which helped propel the Spartans to their fourth straight CIF Open Division state title. The NorCalPreps.com Defensive Player of the Year had 113 tackles in being a playmaker in both run and pass defense. He also participated in the US Army All-American Bowl earlier this month.
LB: Cameron Smith SO Granite Bay
It isn't often a sophomore makes first-team, All-NorCal but Smith is the second underclassman on the list after a stellar season. He had 196 total tackles to go with 3.5 sacks in patrolling the middle of the field for the Grizzlies. He was first-team, All-Metro by the Sacramento Bee for one of three state champions from Northern California.
LB: Kenneth Olugbode SR Bellarmine
Olugbode was named the San Jose Mercury News Player of the Year after a do-it-all season where he rushed for 739 yards with 10 touchdowns and was one of the top tacklers for the Bells defense. Bellarmine reached the CCS Open Division finals, but fell to St. Ignatius in its quest to repeat in one of the top playoff brackets in the state. He is headed to San Jose State.
DB: Marcellus Pippins SR El Cerrito
Pippins was the leader of possibly the top defensive backfields in the region as El Cerrito started 13-0 before falling to Marin Catholic in the NCS Division III finals. Pippins was first-team, All-East Bay by the Bay Area News Group and is verbally committed to Utah.
DB: Robert Frazier SR Elk Grove
Better known for his play at running back, Frazier was one of the top all-around players in the Sac-Joaquin Section in leading Elk Grove to the SJS Division II finals. He had 2,120 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns with 47 tackles and a team high five interceptions. He made first-team, All-Metro by the Sacramento Bee.
DB: Albert Waters SR St. Ignatius
Waters made first-team, All-Metro by the Chronicle and first-team, All-WCAL in leading the Wildcats to the CCS Open Division title. The senior had 21 tackles and a team high five interceptions while adding five rushing touchdowns and two kickoff returns.
DB: Marcus Green SR Franklin
Green emerged this year as a shutdown corner for one of the best defenses in Northern California. Green had 56 tackles and five interceptions in helping Franklin reach the SJS Division I section semi-finals for the first time in school history. He was selected first-team, All-Metro by the Sacramento Bee.