Two years ago, the top position out West was probably wide receiver. This past year, defensive back, led by a strong group of corners, was arguably the top position in the region. For the class of 2005, it's looking like the quarterback position could be the strongest with several high Div I caliber prospects emerging and one player to watch will be Mission Viejo's (Calif.) Mark Sanchez.
Sanchez, 6-3, 205 pounds had a big junior year at Mission Viejo earning 2nd team All-State honors after completing 143-191 passes (75%) for 2,460 yards and 29 touchdowns with seven picks. He has great arm strength, throws a very nice deep ball and really benefits from playing for Bob Johnson, head coach of the EA SPORTS Elite 11 QB camp, as his mechanics and ability to read defenses are at an advanced level for a high school player.
We saw Sanchez at several passing tournaments last summer and he seemed to improve every time we saw him. His ability to drop in the pocket and find his second and third options is one of his strengths. Athletically, the signal caller is a solid athlete and starts on the Diablos basketball team. Once his tape begins to circulate, Sanchez is a player we predict will have some early scholarship offers coming his way prior to the May evaluation period.
"I would love to hear from USC," Sanchez said regarding who his early favorites are. "I know they're loaded but they have a great program and I went to several games last year. I also like LSU, I like they're style of play. I'm not picking those two just because they were co-national champions, I just like them both, even before last year. I'm a West Coast guy so I like a lot of schools in the Pac 10. Oregon, Washington, Washington State. It's early so I'm actually pretty open to anyone to be honest."
Academically, Sanchez is carrying a 3.7 GPA and is the kind of student-athlete that we would expect Stanford to make a nice run at as well.