Big Honors for San Diego Student-Athletes

Local baseball and football stars landing on high-profile lists

You may have read before on this very website that San Diego is a bastion of youth athletic talent. The number of professional baseball and football players that America’s Finest City has produced is obscene.

This year we have a new wave of San Diego student-athletes leaving its mark. Let’s start with University of San Diego catcher Riley Adams, who was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year. Adams didn’t start catching until his sophomore year in high school and is now one of the top backstops in the nation.

He hit .312 with 13 home runs and 47 RBI as a junior. Adams is the fourth Torero in five years to win the WCC’s top honor. Fellow Torero Nick Sprengel, a sophomore left-handed pitcher, was named to the All-WCC First Team. Outfielders Hunter Mercado-Hood and Jay Schuyler landed on the All-WCC Second Team.

Of course Adams was also on that first-team list. His performance also moved him up on several MLB draft boards and many mock drafts expect him to be the first catcher taken in June.

Speaking of draftees, Francis Parker High School shortstop Nick Allen is graded as a 1st-round talent who has drawn extreme interest from the Blue Jays and World Series champion Chicago Cubs. Both of those teams have two picks in the first round and one is expected to use one on Allen, a former Rancho San Diego Little League standout.

After winning the West Region the U.C. San Diego Tritons are off to the Division-II Baseball Championship this weekend in Grand Prairie, TX and sophomore 1st baseman Tyler Durna was named to the Rawlings All-West Region team. He’s joined on the first team by Cal State San Marcos junior shortstop Tyler Place. On the second team is Tritons senior outfielder Jack Larsen.

Now how about those football players?

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl has become a showcase event for the best high school players in the nation. In all 330 players who have been in the game have been drafted by NFL teams. You may have heard of a few of them. Guys like Adrian Peterson, Andrew Luck and Odell Beckham Jr. were U.S. Army All-Americans.

In 2017 six players from our town have been nominated for the game:

Chris Brown, RB, El Camino H.S. (Oceanside)
Justin Dedich, OL, Chaparral H.S. (Temecula)
Steven Jones, OL, Chaparral H.S. (Temecula)
Marquis Spiker, WR, Murrieta Valley H.S. (Murrieta)
Isaac Taylor-Stuart, DB, St. Augustine H.S. (San Diego)
Jack Tuttle, QB, Mission Hills H.S. (San Marcos)

Taylor-Stuart is regarded as the best cornerback prospect in the entire country. He has offers from 37 schools including eight schools from the SEC and 10 from the Pac-12 (the only ones from the Pac-12 not offering are Stanford and Arizona State).

That’s not a bad haul for local athletes. It’s also in no way surprising for San Diego’s youth sports.

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