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

Who are the top receivers in Oregon high school football this season?

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 next list focuses on the receivers.

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! 

Henry Smith (Lake Oswego) 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

Blake Anderson, Central Catholic, senior

The 6-foot-2 Anderson is the Rams’ top returning receiver. Though he was fifth on the team in receptions (15) and receiving yards (297) in 2021, all four teammates who ranked higher were all-conference as seniors. “He’s assuming that leadership role with that (wide receiver) group,” coach Steve Pyne said. 

Justice Anthony, McKay, junior

An all-league selection on both sides of the ball last season, Anthony is a smooth route-runner who knows how to beat defensive backs, catching 55 passes for 650 yards and six touchdowns in earning all-league honorable mention as a sophomore. “He’s started every game for us since he’s been here,” coach Brandis Piper said. “He’s an extremely confident player, and that allows him to play looser than most people.”

Luke Beyer, Kennedy, senior

Beyer was a key cog in the Trojans offense last season, earning first-team all-state honors for the 2A finalist while catching 25 passes for 457 yards and eight touchdowns.

Owen Bruner, Kennedy, senior

Bruner started opposite Beyer in the receiving corps and made the all-state first team for the 2A runner-up Trojans, catching 23 passes for 540 yards and a team-high nine touchdowns.

Jace Burton, Jesuit, junior

Burton is the son of former Portland State coach and Crusaders defensive coordinator Nigel Burton. He made his presence known during the COVID-shortened spring season, then broke through last fall as a two-way standout, catching a team-high 39 passes for 535 yards and seven touchdowns and making the all-Metro second team. He ranks No. 10 on 247Sports’ class of 2024 recruiting list. “He plays bigger than his size,” coach Ken Potter said. “He was excellent in the secondary and was a big plus for us last year in the slot. He’ll be a key figure on our team.” 

Nahum Chavez, Hillsboro, senior

Chavez was voted first-team all-NWOC West at wide receiver last season, when he led the Spartans with 518 receiving yards on 41 catches. He had a performance worthy of its own highlight reel in Week 5 against Scappoose, when he caught 14 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown. “We expect him to get double-teamed a lot this year,” coach Dan Shuff said in August, “but I think he’ll still make a lot of plays for us on the offensive side of the ball.” 

Nahum Chavez (Hillsboro) photo by Leon Neuschwander 

Nahum Chavez (Hillsboro) photo by Leon Neuschwander 

Owen Cheyne, Henley, senior

Cheyne was an all-Skyline selection at four positions last season, making the second team on offense (18 catches for 249 yards and three touchdowns). “He’s that Swiss Army guy for us, super athletic and dependable,” coach Alex Stork said. “We obviously project him to be a key contributor on both sides of the ball.”

Braiden Copeland, West Salem, senior

The Titans received a boost in the transfer market by landing Copeland, a former McNary standout who made the all-Mountain Valley first team after catching 32 passes for 532 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior. 

Tyler Creswick, Putnam, junior

Creswick was second-team all-NWOC East at receiver last season after tying for the conference lead in touchdown catches (nine) and ranking third in receiving yards. “He has great vision, he can cut and accelerate right off that cut,” coach Tim Jacobs said, “and he showed last year that once he gets by that (first) guy, he has the ability to take it all the way.”

Wiley Donnerberg, West Linn, junior

Donnerberg emerged as a big-play threat for the Lions last season, making the all-TRL second team after finishing second on the team with 23 catches for 403 yards and three touchdowns. “He’s deceptively fast and eats up grass quickly,” coach Jon Eagle said. “He’s big and plays big — there’s a difference. And he’s very good after the catch.”

TJ Flowers, St. Mary’s (Medford), junior

Flowers was a second-team all-state kick returner and second-team all-Far West receiver last season for the Crusaders.

Dwayne Fotta, Springfield, senior

Fotta, a three-year starter on both sides of the ball, earned all-Midwestern honorable mention at receiver last fall after catching 12 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns. His speed was on display in May at Hayward Field in Eugene, where he made the 100-meter final at the 5A state track meet, placing eighth. “We need him to be explosive, because the best version of our offense has teams having to worry about Dwayne getting behind them,” coach Miles Haley said. 

Eddie Freauff, Crook County, junior

Freauff took time to acclimate to varsity ball, but once he gained the confidence to go with his freakish skills, he took off. He caught 20 passes for 407 yards and five touchdowns in earning second-team all-Tri-Valley recognition last season. “I see the difference in him now,” coach Pard Smith said. “Even though he was one of the best players in the state, it didn’t click for him mentally at times. Now, he just believes in himself. He expects to go out and dominate.”

Erick Gonzalez, North Salem, senior

Gonzalez is a multi-year starter who plays significant roles on both sides of the ball. Coach Jeff Flood believes Gonzalez will be a receiver at the next level after receiving all-NWOC West honorable mention last year. “He has great hands, great speed and runs really good routes,” Flood said. “He’s probably the leader of our team and is just an all-around outstanding kid.” 

Mark Hamper, West Linn, senior

Hamper earned all-state recognition on both sides of the ball last season, making the second team at receiver (61 catches for 829 yards and seven touchdowns; 24 carries for 273 yards and five scores). The state’s No. 11 prospect according to 247Sports has an offer from Portland State. Lions coach Jon Eagle called him “a coach on the field, super athletic, with make-you-miss skills that are uncommon for a big guy. He’s tough to tackle, has soft hands and is a strong route runner.” 

Mark Hamper (West Linn) photo by Ken Waz 

Mark Hamper (West Linn) photo by Ken Waz 

Haakon Hanson, La Pine, senior

The Hawks don’t pass often, but when they do, Hanson — a third-team 3A all-state selection — is often the target. “He blows the top of coverages, and we can also use him on fly sweeps,” coach Bo DeForest said. “He’s a kid who’s really come along over the last couple of years.” 

Cooper Hiday, Wilsonville, senior

Hiday was first-team all-NWOC West and second-team 5A all-state at receiver last season, when he led the Wildcats with 832 receiving yards (26 yards per catch) and nine touchdown catches. 

Demarcus Houston, West Albany, senior

A three-star prospect and the state’s No. 3 senior in the 247Sports composite rankings, Houston is an electric athlete who holds Division I offers from Oregon State and Portland State. He caught 33 passes for 426 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior. “Demarcus has big-time ability on both sides of the ball, and we need him to be a key player for us, that’s for sure,” Bulldogs coach Brian Mehl said.

Brady Huff, North Valley, senior

Huff was the Knights’ leading receiver last season, catching 16 passes for 261 yards and six touchdowns in earning all-Skyline honorable mention. 

Zeyon Hurliman, Tillamook, senior

Hurliman led Tillamook in receptions (23) and receiving yards (363) last season. Kye Johnson also coached track and field, and he watched Hurliman make it to state in the high jump and the long jump. That athletic ability comes across on the football field, as well. “He catches everything that goes his way,” Johnson said.

Travis King, Stayton, senior

King, a three-year starter for the Eagles, brings speed to the offense. He won district titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes last spring. “People are going to have to figure out how they are going to deal with him, because he’s a tough cover just because of his speed, and we can hand him the ball, little bit of jet sweep stuff,” coach Randy Nyquist said. “He causes issues for other teams.” 

Zach McEwen, Sheldon, senior

McEwen seriously improved his top-end speed during the offseason — Irish coach Josh Line said the only players who run the 100 meters in under 11 seconds are McEwen and quarterback Brock Thomas. McEwen was a second-team all-Southwest selection who caught 40 passes for 533 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior. “For the first time, Zach has the ability to get behind coverages, take the top off defenses and make them respect the field,” Line said. “Zach is coming into the season with no lingering injuries, and that wasn’t the case the last two years. He was still an effective player, but I think we’ve yet to see his full potential.” 

Malaki Myer, Baker, junior

Myer was a big-time playmaker for the Bulldogs last fall, leading the team with 38 catches for 432 yards and four touchdowns and earning second-team all-GOL honors at receiver. In the spring, he won district titles in the 200 and 400 meters and anchored the district champion 4x100 and 4x400 relays.

Caden Negra, Ashland, junior

Negra, a second-team all-Midwestern receiver as a sophomore, showed off his top-end speed in May at the Class 5A state track meet, placing eighth in the 400 meters and leading off the state champion 4x400 relay. “He’s an extremely gifted athlete on both sides of the ball,” coach Beau Lehnerz said. “He’s very fast and physical, not afraid to mix it up.”

Jack Nguyen, Creswell, senior

Nguyen was a first-team all-league selection last season, catching 27 passes for 373 yards and five touchdowns to help the Bulldogs post their first winning season in the past decade. “Jack is our meal ticket,” coach Scott Worsham said. “He is super athletic and all over the field both offensively and defensively.” 

Brady Nichols, Sweet Home, senior

Nichols earned first-team all-league honors a season ago, when he caught 27 passes for 649 yards and 11 touchdowns. Coach Ryan Adams described Nichols as a quick, elusive playmaker who can turn short passes into explosive plays. 

Joey Olsen, Lakeridge, junior

Olsen is one of two 247Sports four-star recruits in the state (North Medford’s AJ Pugliano is the other) and has ranked among the nation’s top receivers the past two seasons. He has received offers from a dozen Power 5 schools after an honorable mention all-state sophomore season when he averaged 26 yards per catch (28 for 727 yards and seven touchdowns). “Joey is a great player, but he is also one of our hardest workers,” coach Spencer Phillips said. “Joey is an A-plus teammate and wants his teammates to succeed more than him.”

Joey Olsen (Lakeridge) photo by Naji Saker 

Joey Olsen (Lakeridge) photo by Naji Saker 

Tony Ortiz, Klamath Union, senior

Ortiz was a bright spot in an offense that struggled to put points on the board last season, earning first-team all-Skyline recognition. He spent the summer making the rounds on the camp circuit. “He has pushed himself to get to that next level and increased his speed and strength,” coach Tom Smith said. 

AJ Perez, Clackamas, senior

Perez transferred to Clackamas after leading Tigard with 29 catches for 490 yards and two touchdowns as a junior, making the all-Three Rivers honorable mention list. Cavaliers coach James Holan called Perez a rangy, smooth playmaker. 

Isaac Real, South Umpqua, senior

Real was a first-team all-state selection in the secondary last season but also ranked among the team leaders with 33 catches for 582 yards and six touchdowns for the 3A runner-up Lancers. “He’s going to be looked at even more in the passing game this year,” coach Steve Stebbins said last month. “He is a big-play threat from any part of the field.” 

Cameron Reich, Weston-McEwen, senior

Reich last season led the TigerScots with 16 catches for 385 yards and five touchdowns and received first-team all-Blue Mountain recognition. 

Drew Rodriguez, Sprague, senior

One of the most electric players in the state, Rodriguez made first-team all-league on offense (29 receptions for 452 yards and seven touchdowns), defense and special teams a season ago. In early July, the three-star prospect committed to Colorado State. “Most games, Drew is going to be one of if not the best player on the field,” Olympians coach Jay Minyard said. “We have to hope he stays healthy so we can continue using him in a bunch of different ways.” 

Brody Sample, Cascade Christian, senior

Sample earned first-team all-Far West and third-team 3A all-state honors last fall, catching 18 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 193 yards on 27 carries. 

Jace Schow, La Grande, senior

As a junior, Schow made the all-GOL first team at two positions (receiver and kick returner) and was a second-team selection in the secondary. He was a first-team all-state pitcher and earned the win on the mound in the 4A state final. “He’s more of that quiet, behind-the-scenes leader, the guy who gives you 110% but you might never notice him,” coach Rich McIlmoil said. “He’s pretty fast, explosive athlete, and we’re expecting pretty big things from him.” 

Jeremiah Schwartz, Ridgeview, senior

Schwartz had 683 receiving yards and nine touchdowns — tied for second in 5A — as a junior en route to honorable mention all-state recognition. The 6-2, 185-pound speedster was the 400-meter state champion as a sophomore. “And this year he had a good lead when he pulled a hamstring and ended up getting second,” coach Patrick Pileggi said. “So, he’s pretty dang fast and can jump out of the gym. He’s being recruited by some Big Sky schools, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him get his first offer pretty quick.”

Jackson Selden, Phoenix, senior

Selden was one of the bright spots in the Pirates offense last season. The all-Skyline honorable mention selection caught a team-high 15 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns. 

Henry Smith, Lake Oswego, senior

Smith’s road to his senior season took an eerie detour last fall. He developed a sinus infection early in the season, and after sitting out a week, he returned to action and had 12 tackles and two interceptions. But the infection hadn’t cleared his system and instead leaked to his brain, requiring surgery to get rid of it. He’s 100% now and has become an inspiration to the entire Lakers program — in the season opener, he caught two touchdown passes. “We’re lucky to have him back,” coach Steve Coury said. 

Hudson Spike, Baker, junior

Spike last season started opposite Malaki Myer at receiver and, like his classmate, earned second-team all-GOL honors, catching 23 passes for 322 yards. “He has great hands, is long and athletic and a smart player,” coach Jason Ramos said. 

Tinitali Tinitali III, South Salem, senior

A first-team all-league pick at receiver as a junior, Tinitali III had a 6A-leading 78 catches for 1,040 yards and seven touchdowns. He is rated the 28th-best prospect in Oregon for the class of 2023 by 247Sports. “He’s just a really good football player who is good after the catch,” coach Scott Dufault said. 

Jackson Tunick, Grants Pass, senior

Tunick has excellent speed that allows him to succeed on both sides of the ball. As a junior, he earned second-team all-Southwest honors at wide receiver, catching a conference-best 44 passes for 563 yards and three touchdowns. “Jackson can play safety, corner and any receiver position for us,” coach Brad Page said. “He’s become very versatile, which is nice. He’s always one of the most athletic guys on the field.”

Jackson Tunick (Grants Pass) photo by Leon Neuschwander 

Jackson Tunick (Grants Pass) photo by Leon Neuschwander 

Colton Vandetta, Lebanon, senior

Vandetta was all-league on both sides of the ball last season, catching 17 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns. If needed, Vandetta can fill in at quarterback. “With Colton, it’s all about versatility,” coach Troy Walker said. “He’s a very elite baseball player and could maybe play both sports at the next level.” 

Andreas Villanueva, Myrtle Point, senior

Villanueva was his league’s co-offensive player of the year and a second-team 1A all-state selection after catching 34 passes for 797 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. “Andreas is a phenomenal talent,” Bobcats coach Ryan Miller said. “The game comes naturally to him, but he is also dedicated to practice and watching film.” 

Andrew Walker, South Medford, senior

A senior speedster, Walker was a bright spot for South Medford a season ago, earning first-team all-Southwest honors by catching 23 passes for 568 yards (24.7 yards per reception) and three touchdowns. He proceeded to win the 100 (10.61 seconds) and 200 (21.33) meters at the 6A track state championships. “Andrew has fantastic top-end speed,” coach Bill Singler said. 

Owen West, Lake Oswego, senior

West didn’t start playing football until two years ago but has been a quick study. He started opposite all-state receiver Justius Lowe last season and received all-TRL honorable mention, finishing third on the team with 29 catches for 516 yards and four touchdowns. In the secondary, he finished with 22 tackles and three interceptions. “He’s still learning the game, but he’s an exceptional athlete, and he’ll be a go-to guy for us, for sure,” coach Steve Coury said. 

Cael White, Madras, senior

White was the dynamo that powered the White Buffaloes offense last fall — he made the all-Tri-Valley first team after catching 38 passes for 623 yards and six touchdowns. “Cael is our most dynamic player in the pass and run game,” coach Judd Stutzman said. “He also has the ability to cover and make plays on defense with his ability to cover ground.”

Zach Wusstig, South Salem, senior

Wusstig transferred to South Salem after receiving third-team 2A all-state honors as a junior running back at Jefferson. He moved to receiver this year and is a three-star prospect and Oregon’s 20th-best senior, according to 247Sports. “He’s getting recruited right now and is a real good athlete,” coach Scott Dufault said. “He jumped out at us over the summer.” 

Kaden Zajic, Sweet Home, senior

Completing the Huskies’ one-two punch at wide receiver is Zajic, a first-team all-Oregon West selection as a junior, when he caught 23 passes for 629 yards and four touchdowns. Coach Ryan Adams explained that Zajic and Brady Nichols complement each other well — whereas Nichols is smaller and more shifty, Zajic uses his size and straight-line speed to stretch the field vertically and come down with jump balls. 

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