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Oregon’s top high school football players: Meet the state’s best quarterbacks

Who are the top quarterbacks in Oregon high school football this season?
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By René Ferrán, Mike Wilson, Bob Lundeberg, Mitchell Forde and Paul Valencia

Over the next week, we’ll be taking a position-by-position look at some of the top returning players in Oregon high school football. Our first list focuses on the quarterbacks. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: These lists were compiled early in the season and are based mostly on last year’s performances and what happened in the first few weeks of this season. Before the season ends, we will be highlighting many of the new stars who have emerged this fall. 

There are hundreds of standout football players in Oregon and these lists are not intended to be comprehensive. Let us know about any other players you think should be added!

Kyrin Fuimaono (McKay) photo by Leon Neuschwander 

Our complete high school football preview:

Breaking down every 6A, 5A, 4A team in the state

State leaders through Week 5:

Class 6A | Class 5A | Class 4A

Devon Anderson, North Eugene, senior

Anderson was a triple threat for the Highlanders last season, including receiving second-team all-Sky Em honors at quarterback (76 of 123, 1,077 yards, 11 touchdowns through the air, plus 62 carries for 466 yards and four TDs). He has received interest from Oregon State, Nevada, Idaho and Eastern Washington as a defensive back. Highlanders coach Rick Raish called him “one of the most gifted athletes I’ve coached in 24 years of coaching high school football.”

Blake Baker, Clackamas, senior

As a junior, Baker was second in the Mt. Hood Conference in the regular season in passing yards (1,529) and touchdown passes (19, against two interceptions), earning all-conference honorable mention. He returned after missing Week 1 for undisclosed reasons to lead the Cavaliers to a victory over Sherwood. First-year offensive coordinator Aaron Stiegeler has “done a tremendous job maximizing Blake’s abilities and reshaping some of the things we’ve done to Blake’s strengths,” coach James Holan said, adding that Baker is becoming more willing to take what a defense gives him rather than to force a particular throw.

Konnor Bickford, Putnam, senior

In his first season as a starter, Bickford passed for more than 1,000 yards as a junior and was third in the NWOC East with 13 touchdown passes. Kingsmen coach Tim Jacobs said the work Bickford put in during the spring and summer put him in position to have a top-shelf senior season. “We’re hoping he picks up where he left off, which is playing really strong football,” Jacobs said in August. “He manages the game well and makes plays with his arm and his feet.”

Hunter Borter, Beaverton, senior

When you’re having to retool, who better to kickstart the revamp than a three-year starter at quarterback who threw for 1,890 yards last season, completing 65% of his passes (143 of 220) with a 2-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio (21 TDs vs. 10 interceptions)? “He knows the offense inside-out and has gotten stronger,” coach Bob Boyer said. “He’s a very good leader.” 

Dru Boyle, Madras, senior

Boyle earned all-Tri-Valley second-team honors last fall in his second season as the starter, completing 63 of 131 passes for 844 yards and eight touchdowns (six interceptions) and scoring a team-high six touchdowns on the ground. “Dru has the ability to throw accurate and precise passes,” White Buffaloes coach Judd Stutzman said. “Defenses have to respect his ability to run as well.” 

Aidan Brenneman, Ridgeview, senior

A starter since his sophomore season, Brenneman stands 6-foot-3 and has a big arm. He threw for 1,180 yards and 14 touchdowns last fall. Ravens coach Patrick Pileggi said Brenneman was busy on the camp circuit in the offseason, including a trip to the Manning Passing Academy. “He’s primed to have a breakout year and have his numbers go up,” Pileggi said in August. “He kind of ran for his life last year due to a bad offensive line, so his numbers didn’t show how good he is.” 

Quinton Buckland, Elmira, junior

Buckland took over at the end of last season for the Falcons, and this season, he had a 257-yard game with four touchdowns in a Week 2 victory over Cottage Grove. He grew more than five inches over the summer and is now 6-foot-2 and 170 pounds. “He has turned into a solid quarterback, probably one of the better throwing quarterbacks we’ve had in a long time, and is our main leader,” coach Justin Peeler said. “He really took the time over the summer to learn the position and a new offense, and he has been very impressive so far.” 

Colton Campbell, La Pine, senior

Campbell was a second-team 3A all-state selection as a junior, directing the Hawks’ bruising rushing attack with aplomb. Coach Bo DeForest sees the 6-4, 230-pound Campbell as more of a defensive end than a quarterback at the next level, but “he’s developing pretty well at quarterback. He runs the ball well, makes the right choices and is a good leader.”

Hogan Carmichael, Summit, senior

In his third season as Summit’s starting quarterback, Carmichael has more on his plate as a senior after completing 61.8% of his passes a year ago, throwing for 1,513 yards and 13 touchdowns against just two interceptions. Storm coach Corben Hyatt said the coaching staff challenged Carmichael in the offseason by giving the veteran more reads and options. “He loves to study the game, ask questions, and wants to know certain things and why we’re doing them,” Hyatt said. “About midway through last year, we saw the game slow down for him … his growth is really what pushed us to be able to go to the (Class 6A) quarterfinals.” 

Avirey Durdahl, Nelson, sophomore

Durdahl started the final five games of his freshman season and completed 61 of 101 passes (60 percent) for 869 yards and 10 touchdowns with seven interceptions. Hawks coach Aaron Hazel said Durdahl’s football knowledge and mental game have improved since last fall. “Now he’s understanding what defenses are trying to do, what they are trying to take away,” Hazel said.

Avirey Durdahl (Nelson) photo by Taylor Balkom 

Avirey Durdahl (Nelson) photo by Taylor Balkom 

Deacon Edgar, South Medford, senior

An honorable mention all-league selection last fall, Edgar is in his third season as South Medford’s starting quarterback. He has plus athleticism and is growing as a passer. “He’s gotten more consistent with his play,” Panthers coach Bill Singler said in August. “He had a couple nice running games last year and I think we will turn him loose a little bit more. He deserves the opportunity to show more of what he can do with his legs.” 

Landon Ellis, Dufur, senior

Ellis was a first-team all-league selection at receiver last season for the Rangers, but with the transfer of Josh Taylor to The Dalles, coach Jack Henderson has moved him to quarterback this season. He plays safety on defense. “He’s a big, strong, physical kid,” Henderson said. 

Kyrin Fuimaono, McKay, junior

Fuimaono completed 187 of 289 passes as a sophomore for 2,174 yards (second in 5A) and 21 touchdowns (first). He is in his third season on the varsity and has only scratched the surface of his potential. “He’s an extremely smart player who understands coverages and blitzes,” Scots coach Brandis Piper said. “He’s dynamic and I can’t say enough good things about him. He makes our offense go and allows us to do pretty much anything we want to.” 

Kaden Hale, Forest Grove, junior

Hale is back as the Vikings’ No. 1 quarterback after he completed 51% of his passes and threw for 13 touchdowns (with nine interceptions) as a sophomore. “He progressed very well,” Vikings coach Cam McFarland said in August. “We expect him to have a solid junior year. He’s very athletic, and that allows him to be more versatile in our style of offense.” Hale also was the team’s leading rusher, averaging 5.3 yards per carry with six touchdowns on the ground. 

Connor Hanson, Creswell, senior

Hanson showed his dual-threat prowess last fall in helping the Bulldogs post a 5-4 record, their best finish since 2011. The three-year starter ran for 1,111 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior, completed more than 62% of his passes (74 of 119) for 744 yards and 11 touchdowns, and made the all-league honorable mention list. Coach Scott Worsham described him as “a great leader and hard worker. He can do it through the air or on the ground. He’s a tough runner and hard to take down.”

Kaden Harris, Milwaukie, senior

He plays football, basketball and baseball, is a 4.0 student, and is a fantastic leader — not just for the football team, but for the whole school. Those are the intangibles every coach loves to have in a starting quarterback. Oh, and he’s got an arm, too, throwing for 1,432 yards (fourth in 4A) and 15 touchdowns last season. “He can make every throw we ask of him,” Mustangs coach Tim Price said. 

Paul Hobson, Baker, junior

Hobson recovered from a shaky start to his high school career during the COVID-shortened spring 2021 season to lead the Bulldogs to the playoffs last fall, completing 52% of his passes (91 of 173) for 1,009 yards and five touchdowns. “An athletic quarterback with a great skill set,” coach Jason Ramos said. 

Jacob Hutchinson, Jesuit, junior

Last season, Hutchinson was an all-Metro third-team selection as a punter, but he made his bones by seizing the quarterback job during camp and showing promise in his first season as a starter, completing 52.2% of his passes (94 of 180) for 1,667 yards and 19 touchdowns with nine interceptions. He averaged nearly 18 yards per completion and increased his arm strength in the offseason. “We have high expectations for him as a field general,” coach Ken Potter said. “He is much stronger and throwing the ball well.” 

Jacob Hutchinson (Jesuit) photo by Taylor Balkom 

Jacob Hutchinson (Jesuit) photo by Taylor Balkom 

Cory James, Estacada, senior

James is back behind center after an impressive junior campaign. He rushed for 887 yards and 12 touchdowns a season ago, and he added nine touchdowns as a passer. That production made him the Tri-Valley offensive player of the year and earned him honorable mention all-state recognition. “Throwing the football, running the football and just conducting our offense, he does a great job,” Rangers coach Andy Mott said. “He’s a great athlete. … He brings a ton to the table on the field.” 

Jace Johnson, South Umpqua, senior

Johnson won Far West League offensive back of the year and 3A first-team all-state honors last season, throwing for 2,343 yards and 31 touchdowns with just five interceptions and running for 424 yards and three TDs in directing the Lancers to the state final, where they lost to Siuslaw. In the spring, he pitched in the final as South Umpqua won the state baseball title. His coach in both sports, Steve Stebbins, said of his third-year starting signal-caller, “He understands the offense extremely well and can make plays with both his arm and his feet.” 

Caiden Lacey, North Medford, senior

Lacey began his high school career at North Medford, transferred to Eagle Point — where he was a first-team all-Midwestern selection last year, throwing for 1,317 yards and 12 touchdowns — and is back with the Black Tornado for his senior season. Coach Nathan Chin said Lacey has shown great improvement during his past six months with the program. “He really changed his body,” Chin said. “Caiden has gotten stronger and is a little more mobile, so that’s nice. He’s really worked on his accuracy and efficiency and has a good relationship with our wide receivers.”

Sam Leavitt, West Linn, senior

Leavitt had an all-state junior season at Westview, throwing for 2,281 yards and 28 touchdowns with nine interceptions, before transferring to West Linn for his senior season. The Washington State commit thought he’d be working with former Oregon Ducks quarterback Chris Miller; instead, he will learn under Jon Eagle, who took over for Miller after serving as Portland State’s quarterbacks coach for one year following a 13-year stint at Camas. “He has a strong arm and is an accurate thrower with a very quick release,” Eagle said. “He is a quick learner and processor of football schemes — a quality not talked about enough with quarterbacks. He also is a very good runner, and we will utilize that skill.” 

Cody Leming, Stayton, senior

Leming won the starting quarterback job before last season. The three-sport athlete is relatively new to football, having started playing the sport during the 2021 spring season, so coach Randy Nyquist believes Leming will benefit from last season’s experience. “One thing that happens in high school, hopefully, with your quarterback is when they first start playing, everything is really fast,” Nyquist said. “And as you gain experience and you start to recognize what defenses do, the game slows down for you a little bit, and those decisions are easier to make. So, that’s one of the things that I hope happens for Cody.” 

TC Manumaleuna II, North Salem, junior

In his third season as a varsity starter, Manumaleuna is a mega-talent who holds Division I offers from Florida State, Louisville, Miami and Oregon. Vikings coach Jeff Flood said Manumaleuna has sprouted to about 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds. “TC is going to continue to grow into what he’s eventually going to be, and that’s the big thing for us,” Flood said. “He has improved so much every year, had some growing pains early and has continued to work.” 

Jared Mehlschau, Santiam Christian, senior

Mehlschau is back to lead the Eagles offense after garnering all-league honors as a junior, throwing for 470 yards and five touchdowns in their run-heavy attack.

Landon Mitchell, Heppner, junior

Mitchell earned second-team all-Blue Mountain honors as a sophomore in leading the Mustangs to another conference title. He completed nearly 59% of his passes (76 of 129) for 1,054 yards and 17 touchdowns and scored five rushing touchdowns.

Chase Nelson, Central, senior

A physical specimen at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Nelson is a big-armed senior who made second-team all-league last season. Nelson, also a star basketball player, attended several camps during the offseason. “He’s got a real good feel for the offense and he’s doing everything we’re asking, which is awesome to see,” Panthers coach Joel Everett said. 

Chase Nelson (Central) photo by Leon Neuschwander 

Chase Nelson (Central) photo by Leon Neuschwander 

Cru Newman, Central Catholic, junior

Newman was the Mt. Hood’s offensive player of the year and first-team all-conference quarterback as a sophomore. He completed 69.8% of his passes last season, averaging 188 yards per game (often playing far less than a full 48 minutes) with a 36-4 TD pass-to-interception margin. “The biggest thing for him, I think, is he got more and more comfortable with his read progressions as the season went on last year,” Rams coach Steve Pyne said. “His escapability, his toughness, his leadership, those uncoachable things — you either have them or you don’t.” 

Heath Nichol, Sweet Home, senior

Nichol is back for his senior season after starting behind center as a junior, when he was second in 4A with 1,548 yards and 16 touchdowns. Huskies coach Ryan Adams said he largely liked what he saw from Nichol last season. “He does a phenomenal job for us, and I love that kid to death,” Adams said. 

Ryan Oliver, Lakeridge, senior

Oliver was a surprise choice to start for the Pacers during the spring COVID season, but he’s now a savvy veteran in his third season as the starter in Spencer Phillips’ pro-style system. Last fall, he was an honorable mention all-Three Rivers selection after completing 62.6% of his passes (114 of 182) for 1,635 yards, 17 touchdowns and five interceptions. He has an offer from Division II Fort Lewis College in Colorado. “Ryan is the heart and soul of the team,” Phillips said. “He has never missed a workout in three years and is the leader of our team.” 

Keith Reed, Cascade Christian, senior

Reed was a second-team all-Far West selection last fall for the Challengers, completing 62.6% of his passes (114 for 182) for 1,584 yards with 15 touchdowns and five interceptions. He ran for 369 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Diego Rodriguez, Ontario, sophomore

Rodriguez was a standout receiver as a freshman, catching 38 passes for 407 yards and a touchdown in earning first-team all-GOL honors, but he moved behind center to deliver the passes this fall. He went 14 for 18 for 286 yards and two touchdowns in his first game. “Diego pushes his teammates to be their best each day,” said Tigers coach Greg Simmons. “We are very excited to see him step into this role, especially due to the athletes he has around him.” 

Kellen Segel, Grant, senior

Segel is back as the Generals’ starting quarterback. Last season, he passed for 1,332 yards and 14 touchdowns, and he rushed for six scores. “He has a lot of natural throwing ability,” coach Alex Melson said, noting Segel’s status as a top-level baseball pitcher. “He has a really strong arm. He can really scan the field and get the ball in a lot of different spaces.” 

Daschel Smith, South Salem, senior

In his first season as a starter, Smith passed for 2,515 yards (second in 6A) and 18 touchdowns last fall. He ran for 10 touchdowns and received all-league honorable mention in leading the Saxons to their first playoff victory since 2015. “Having the quarterback back is always really important,” coach Scott Dufault said in August. “He’s pretty athletic and we are expecting quite a bit out of him.” 

Shaw Stork, Henley, senior

Stork blossomed as a junior, winning Skyline offensive player of the year honors as a dual-threat quarterback, throwing for 1,075 yards and 11 touchdowns during the regular season and running for 863 yards and a team-high 15 touchdowns. He attended several prospect camps during the offseason and has drawn interest from several Ivy League schools as well as Linfield, Southern Oregon and Western Oregon. Where he’s shown the most improvement, older brother and coach Alex Stork said, is in his decision-making. 

Brock Thomas, Sheldon, senior

One of the state’s top quarterbacks, Thomas is a dual-threat nightmare who passed for 1,968 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior and rushed for 1,339 yards (second in 6A) and 18 scores. He is a three-star prospect whose Division I offers include Air Force and Army. “To me, Brock comes across as a kid where things are really starting to come together,” Irish coach Josh Line said. “He’s a true coach on the field, and it’s hard to get a kid that much experience where those things can come together.”

Brock Thomas, Sheldon

Brock Thomas (Sheldon) photo by Leon Neuschwander 

Tyson Van Gastel, Mazama, junior

Van Gastel started on both sides of the ball as a sophomore, stepping in for all-state quarterback Tristan Lee and making the all-Skyline second team in his first season under center, throwing for 604 yards and seven touchdowns and running for 312 yards and eight scores. At safety, he had 24 tackles and two interceptions. “Tyson is the most athletic player on our team,” Vikings coach Vic Lease said. “He is physical when he runs and has a nice touch when he throws.” 

Jack Wagner, Tualatin, senior

As a junior, Wagner led the Timberwolves with 111 tackles and four interceptions in making the all-Pacific second team at safety, and he was a second-team punter (38.4 yards per punt). It’s at quarterback where he’ll play on Saturdays at Idaho. He offered a glimpse of what Tualatin fans would see this season during his 2½-game stint last fall after Jackson Jones sustained a shoulder injury in Week 2. He finished the season completing nearly two-thirds of his passes (48 of 73) for 671 yards and five touchdowns with just one interception. First-year coach Dominic Ferraro couldn’t wait to see Wagner take control of his high-octane passing attack. “Jack has done a really great job transitioning to the new style of play on offense,” Ferraro said in August. “He is a natural leader, and I think he has an opportunity to have a big year.”

Logan Williams, La Grande, senior 

Williams moved up from the JV team last fall to take over at quarterback and earned second-team all-GOL honors on both sides of the ball for the Tigers. “He’s just a natural athlete who takes care of business like he should,” coach Rich McIlmoil said. “He’s a competitor who’s driven to win. He plays with a lot of passion and heart.”

Kaden Younger, South Albany, senior

Always a thin athlete, Younger is up to about 170 pounds on his 6-foot-2 frame. He received second-team all-league honors at quarterback last season. “He’s done a lot of work in the last year and a half to build his body up,” co-head coach David Younger said of his son. “He’s also gotten much faster and is now one of the fastest kids in the school; he definitely didn’t get that speed from me.” 

Our complete high school football preview:

Breaking down every 6A, 5A, 4A team in the state

State leaders through Week 5:

Class 6A | Class 5A | Class 4A