Jan 5, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; East running back Derrick Henry (2) is tackled by West linebacker Michael Hutchings (17) during U.S. Army All-American Bowl high school football game at the Alamodome. The East won 15-8. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
As they prepare for the biggest day of their athletic careers yet when they officially pledge to spend their college years at USC, four Trojan commits have received one last accolade from high school to look back on fondly: WR Steven Mitchell, OL Nico Falah, LB Michael Hutchings, and S Su’a Cravens have all been selected to the 2012 Cal-Hi Sports All-State First Team.
CalHiSports.com annually selects 30 California high school football players to its All-State First Team, and has done so for the past 34 years. The designation is earned without regard to school size or the grade of the athletes in question, which means juniors and lowerclassmen can make it. In addition to the accolade, all first-team overall all-state honorees will receive a special mention in the California high school football record book.
For this quartet of future Trojans, this honor serves as the final seal of approval on their stand-out high school careers.
In his senior year at Alemany (Mission Hills), Mitchell led the team with 62 catches for 1,100 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also rushed for 202 yards and scored an additional five times on the ground. This 5-foot-10, 180-pound slot receiver heads to Troy, looking to add himself to the Marqise Lee/Nelson Agholor wide receiver rotation.
Out of St. John Bosco (Bellflower), Falah and his Braves had a Cinderella season, winning the Trinity League title and remaining unbeaten until falling in a heart-breaker to Long Beach Poly in the CIFSS Pac-Five Division semifinals. Falah was previously named the Co-Offensive Player of the Year in his league, in addition to having received All-CIFSS Pac-Five and All-L.A. Times honors. The six-foot-five, 285-pound offensive lineman plans to bring his physical blocking style to the Trojan offensive line, which is greatly in need of a commanding presence.
Hutchings may have had the best senior year of all on the All-State list, as he saw his De La Salle (Concord) Spartans go undefeated, win a fourth consecutive title and end the season as the No. 1 team in the state, and he personally earned the designation of Mr. Football State Player of the Year. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker finished the year with 113 tackles, 3.5 sacks and three interceptions and even got some points on the board when he scored off a 99-yard kick return. Look for him to be a crucial member of the Trojan linebacking corps in the coming seasons.
Cravens (Murrieta) has already enrolled at USC and is getting his college career underway, and if it is anything like his high school one, the Trojan secondary will be in good shape. One of the pillars of USC’s 2013 recruiting class, this top-ranked safety finished his senior season as a nominee for Mr. Football consideration for a second year in a row, while being named the Gatorade Player of the Year. He rushed for six touchdowns and caught eight touchdown passes on offense, and on the other side of the ball, he recorded 95 tackles with five sacks and three picks. This 6-foot-3, 210-pound safety is already gearing up to replace T.J. McDonald and be the next big safety in Troy.
In addition to these four, former Trojan commits DL Eddie Vanderdoes and DB Max Redfield were also named to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State First Team. Redfield is heading to Notre Dame come National Signing Day, but Vanderdoes’ decision is still up in the air. The Trojans are still in the race, but Notre Dame and Alabama are jockeying for his attention as well, in addition the Pac-12 rivals UCLA and Washington. With an official visit still scheduled to Alabama this coming weekend, Vanderdoes will announce his decision on Feb. 6th, at 5 p.m. PST.