Nine to Watch: Preps worth keeping an eye on in 2016

Action during the 5A football championship game between No. 1 Valor and No. 2 Pomona, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colo. (Kai Casey/CHSAANow.com)

This story originally appeared in Mile High Sports Magazine. Read the full digital edition here.

Heading into the high school football season, impress your friends by dropping a few of these names worth watching in 2016…

Dylan McCaffrey Senior QB (Valor Christian)

Christian McCaffrey’s brother is ready for his own spotlight. The pre-season MaxPreps All-American has already committed to play at Michigan and wants to lead Valor to back-to-back championships. His talents will be on display to a national audience early. Valor will host Saguaro (Scottsdale, Ariz.) on Aug. 27 with the game being broadcast on ESPN.

Hayden Blubaugh Senior RB (Grandview)

In 2015, Blubaugh rushed for nearly 200 yards. Per game. His stats line at the end of the year looked closer to one from a video game rather than a 17-year-old kid who only competed in 12 football games. He finished the year with 2,386 yards and 28 touchdowns. If that wasn’t enough, he tacked on a 31-yard touchdown in his only passing attempt of the year.

Justin Ragland Senior WR (Doherty)

The 6-foot senior from Colorado Springs is a relative unknown, but that won’t be the case once the season starts. Ragland has utilized his speed as his best weapon on the football field. As a junior, he clocked a 4.51 40-yard dash. “Justin is one of the most hard-working and humble athletes I have ever been around,” Doherty coach Jeff Krumlauf said. “His goal is to do whatever is the best for his team. His name will be known and remembered after his senior season.”

Max Borghi Junior RB (Pomona)

Bogrhi was an all-around weapon in 2015. He totaled over 2,000 all-purpose yards and even served as the punter for the Panthers. He found the end zone 17 times, whether it was on by rush, reception or kick or punt return. A costly fumble hurt him in the state championship, but with the way his game developed in 2015, he’ll make sure everyone remembers him for his standout play in 2016.

Marcus Lindsay Senior RB/MLB (Denver South)

The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Lindsay is a big reason the Rebels advanced to the 4A quarterfinals in 2015. He rushed for over 1,500 yards with 12 touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball he recorded 36 tackles and three passes defensed. If the Rebels are going to see the same success in 2016, Lindsay figures to be a key part of it.

Isaac Maestas Senior RB (Palisade)

Maestas is easily one of the most exciting 3A players. He ran for over 100 yards per game and recovered two fumbles on defense. He gave the Bulldogs a huge offensive boost that allowed them to advance to the state quarterfinals. With Maestas entering his senior year, he’ll look to take his team on a deeper playoff run.

Brad Peeples Senior QB (Windsor)

With a win over Loveland in the 4A title game last December, how can anyone overlook the Peeples Champion? Peeples is way more of a ground force than he is a passer, but it served the Wizards well. He rushed for over 1,300 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2015. His limited passing completions were well-timed, though; seven of his 16 completed passes went for touchdowns. With Peeples returning, the Wizards are an early 4A favorite.

Dalton Keene Senior RB/LB (Chatfield)

Dalton Keene is quite simply a bruiser. He stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs over 220 pounds. He is listed as a running back at Chatfield, but will more likely line up at tight end for Virginia Tech in 2017. The Chargers will need to rely on his 74.2 rushing yards per game and 116 total tackles if they want to contend in a tough 4A Plains league.

Heston Paige Senior OL (ThunderRidge)

Paige jumps on to the list simply by the attention he received in the offseason. The lineman spent time working with Matt McChesney at Six Zero Strength and Fitness and scored a workout with the University of Colorado as a result. The Buffs were so impressed, they offered Paige a scholarship a day later.

To track these players and all the high school football action, visit CHSAANow.com through the course of the season.

Feature Image Credit: Kai Casey, CHSAANow.com

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