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SBLive/Sports Illustrated Power 25 preseason national high school football rankings

California powerhouses Mater Dei and St. John Bosco top the first national rankings of the 2023 season
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The 2023 high school football season kicks off in earnest this week (Utah, Alaska and Hawaii started last weekend), meaning it’s time to release the first SBLive/Sports Illustrated national rankings of the season.

When we left off in mid-December, St. John Bosco was securing the top spot in the final 2022 rankings by avenging a loss to Mater Dei in the Division 1 CIF Southern Section title game, then routing Serra (San Mateo) in the Open Division final. 

Mater Dei ended up No. 2 in the final rankings, followed by Nevada power Bishop Gorman and Central of Miami, Fla

To start this season, Mater Dei flips the top spot with its Southern California rival, thanks to returning 19 starters. The Monarchs are one of four California teams in the preseason rankings, while Florida has the most with five. 

Georgia joins California with four teams, while Texas (three) and Maryland (two) are the other states with multiple teams.

Here’s the complete breakdown of our 2023 preseason SBLive/Sports Illustrated Power 25 national high school football rankings. 


1. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)

Last season: 12-1. Final ranking: 2. 

The Monarchs suffered their first loss since 2019 in the Division 1 CIF Southern Section championship game to rival St. John Bosco, 24-22. They return 19 of 22 starters, including senior QB Elijah Brown (Stanford commit; 2,875 passing yards, 31 TDs), DL Aydin Breland (247Sports’ No. 6 national recruit; 10½ tackles for loss) and OT Brandon Baker, but under new coach Frank McManus, who takes over for Bruce Rollinson after Rollinson’s retirement following 34 seasons and a 339-86-2 record.

Early test: at No. 16 Centennial, Aug. 18. 

2023 Mater Dei football team

Frank McManus (center) takes over as the head coach for Mater Dei this season.

2. St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.)

Last season: 13-1. Final ranking: 1.

The Braves avenged a regular-season loss to Mater Dei when it counted most in the Division I CIF Southern Section championship game, then came back the following week to defeat Serra 45-0 to win the Open Division state title. Graduation took a toll on the Braves, but they still have USC commit CB Marcelles Williams (46 tackles, 2 interceptions, 4 pass breakups), Alabama commit S Peyton Woodyard (53 tackles, 7 pass breakups), UCLA commit RB Cameron Jones (1,046 yards, 18 TDs) and Notre Dame-bound LB Kyngstonn Villamu-Asa (111 tackles, 8½ tackles for loss, 5½ sacks).

Early test: at No. 10 St. Thomas Aquinas, Aug. 26.

3. IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)

Last season: 8-1. Final ranking: 5.

The Ascenders shook off a Week 1 loss last season to Miami (Fla.) Central to outscore opponents 435-61 the rest of the way. They have five blue-chip recruits in the top 100 of 247Sports’ class of 2024 national rankings, led by No. 4 Ellis Robinson IV (Georgia), No. 10 David Stone and No. 34 TJ Lindsey (Auburn) anchoring the defense. The offense features senior QB Jayden Bradford (Liberty; 1,071 yards, 78% completions, 19 TDs, 0 interceptions), senior RB Jerrick Gibson (Texas; 608 rushing yards, 8 TDs) and junior WR Winston Watkins Jr. (Colorado; 25 catches, 393 yards, 10 TDs).

Early test: at No. 18 Lipscomb Academy, Aug. 18. 

4. St. Frances Academy (Baltimore)

Last season: 9-1. Final ranking: 6.

The Panthers’ only loss last season was in their season finale to IMG Academy, but with senior QB Michael Van Buren (812 passing yards, 9 TDs, 57% completions) and CB Ify Obidegwu (both Oregon commits) leading the way, they’ll tackle another challenging schedule that includes five Power 25 teams, opening Aug. 18 at Buford (Ga.). 

Early test: at No. 7 Buford (Ga.), Aug. 18. 

5. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)

Last season: 14-1. Final ranking: 3.

The Gaels' only blemish to an otherwise brilliant season was a 24-21 loss to Mater Dei last August. They won the GEICO State Champion Bowl Series with a 49-14 romp over Chaminade-Madonna in the final, and with MaxPreps Junior of the Year QB Micah Alejado (Hawaii commit; 3,575 yards, 39 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 75.8% completions) throwing to junior WR Derek Meadows, they’ll be among the nation’s top teams once again.

Early test: at Corner Canyon (Draper, Utah), Aug. 18. 

6. Duncanville (Texas)

Last season: 15-0. Final ranking: 7.

The Panthers rode the best defense in Texas high school football to their first state championship since 1998, defeating North Shore 28-21 in the final. Edge rusher Collin Simmons (33 tackles for loss, 22½ sacks) and tailback Caden Durham (LSU; 1,960 yards, 36 TDs) headline another talented senior class, and LSU commit WR Dakorien Moore is No. 5 in 247Sports’ class of 2025 national rankings.

Early test: vs. South Oak Cliff (Dallas), Aug. 25.

7. Buford (Ga.)

Last season: 11-1. Final ranking: NR.

The Wolves were No. 9 in the Power 25 until Walton (Marietta) shocked them 42-35 in the second round of the 7A state playoffs, dropping them out of the final rankings. With QB Dylan Raiola (Georgia), the top-ranked recruit according to 247Sports, transferring from Pinnacle (Phoenix, Ariz.), they should quickly rebound. Raiola threw for 2,435 yards and 22 touchdowns with 5 interceptions as a junior, and he joins fellow five-star prospects S Khalil Bolden (Florida State) and DE Eddrick Houston in a loaded lineup.

Early test: vs. No. 4 St. Frances Academy, Aug. 18. 

8. St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia)

Last season: 12-1. Final ranking: NR.

The Hawks won a seventh consecutive state title last fall with a 42-7 victory against Harrisburg in the PIAA 6A final. Their chances of winning an eighth in a row hinge on four of the state’s top uncommitted juniors in the class of 2025, including 247Sports Top 10 DL Maxwell Roy and LB Anthony Sacca.

Early test: vs. No. 3 IMG Academy, Aug. 26.

9. Miami (Fla.) Central

Last season: 14-0. Final ranking: 4. 

The Rockets opened last season by beating IMG Academy and closed it with a 38-31 victory over American Heritage to win the 2M state championship — their fourth consecutive title. They lost out on senior DB Jamari Howard — who arrived from Westland (Hialeah) in May, then transferred to Norland (Miami) last month — but still have senior WR/DB Lawayne McCoy (Florida State) and junior DL Armondo Blount, No. 6 in 247Sports’ class of 2025 national rankings.

Early test: at No. 5 Bishop Gorman, Sept. 1. 

10. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Last season: 14-0. Final ranking: 12.

Since Roger Harriott returned to his alma mater in 2015 to direct the football program, he’s won six 7A state titles — including a fourth in a row last season with a 38-21 victory over Homestead in the 3M final. With senior receivers James Madison II (Missouri; 19 catches, 407 yards, 6 TDs) and Chance Robinson (Miami) and transfer LB Bowen Drewes (109 tackles, 16 tackles for loss for American Heritage), the Raiders should contend for a fifth consecutive championship. 

Early test: vs. No. 2 St. John Bosco, Aug. 26. 

11. Chaminade-Madonna (Hollywood, Fla.)

Last season: 13-1. Final ranking: 10. 

The Lions’ only loss last year came in the final of the GEICO State Champion Bowl Series to Bishop Gorman, and they have a loaded senior class led by WR Jeremiah Smith (Ohio State), the No. 2 prospect in 247Sports’ national rankings who caught 58 passes for 1,073 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior. WR Joshisa Trader (Miami) and S Zaquan Patterson (69 tackles, 4 blocked punts) are also back.

Early test: vs. No. 4 St. Frances Academy, Aug. 26.

12. St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio)

Last season: 15-1. Final ranking: 21. 

The Eagles successfully defended their Division 1 state title last year with a 28-14 victory over Springfield, and they figure to have one of the nation’s top offensive lines led by senior OTs Ben Roebuck (Michigan) and Deontae Armstrong (Ohio State) and OG Devontae Armstrong. Senior DE Loghan Thomas (Notre Dame), the No. 10 edge rusher in 247Sports’ class of 2024 rankings, transferred from Paetow (Texas) in late July.

Early test: vs. No. 25 Our Lady of Good Counsel, Aug. 27.

13. DeSoto (Texas)

Last season: 14-2. Final ranking: 23.

The Eagles secured the 6A Division II state title last year with a 42-17 victory over Vandegrift (Austin), and while they don’t have the star power of some of their rivals, they are still loaded with talent, led by senior CB Mario Buford (Nebraska) and LB Brandon Booker (Stanford). Senior QB Darius Bailey committed to Sam Houston State after throwing for 3,871 yards and 45 touchdowns as a junior.

Early test: at Allen (Texas), Aug. 25.

14. North Shore (Houston)

Last season: 15-1. Final ranking: 9.

The Mustangs overcame the loss of QB Kaleb Bailey (torn ACL) in late September to reach the 6A Division 1 final, where they lost 28-21 to Duncanville. Bailey, who took over as starter midway through his freshman season to lead the team to the state title, appears ready to return under center for new coach Willie Gaston, while junior WR Deion Deblanc is now eligible after his transfer from Eisenhower (Aldine) to join senior WR Christopher Barnes (North Texas) and TE Kaleb Thomas (University of Houston) and junior CB Devin Sanchez, No. 8 in 247Sports’ class of 2025 rankings.

Early test: vs. The Woodlands (Texas), Aug. 25.

15. Colquitt County (Moultrie, Ga.)

Last season: 13-1. Final ranking: NR. 

The Packers had been in the Power 25 for most of last season until they lost 35-27 to Carrollton in the 7A semifinals. They’re back again this year led by TE Landen Thomas (Florida State), No. 25 in 247Sports’ national rankings and the No. 1 tight end prospect (44 catches, 753 yards, 8 TDs), and Georgia commit WR Ny'Quavion Carr (62 catches, 1,051 yards, 10 TDs).

Early test: vs. Dutch Fork (Irmo, S.C.), Aug. 19.

16. Centennial (Corona, Calif.)

Last season: 9-2. Final ranking: NR.

The Huskies were another Power 25 mainstay through the 2022 season until getting stunned by Mission Viejo in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinals, denying them a 15th consecutive semifinals berth. Matt Logan begins his 27th season as head coach by welcoming junior QB Husan Longstreet, who threw for nearly 4,000 yards at Inglewood last year and ranks No. 4 among 247Sports’ class of 2025 quarterback prospects.

Early test: vs. No. 1 Mater Dei, Aug. 18. 

17. Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.)

Last season: 11-1. Final ranking: 14.

The Crusaders avenged a regular-season loss to Don Bosco Prep to defeat their longtime rival 45-0 in the Non-Public A state final last year. Junior QB Dominic Campanile (1,163 passing yards, 15 TDs) returns along with senior OT Nyler Daniels (Georgia) and S Kaj Sanders (Rutgers) and junior WR Quincy Porter (34 catches, 682 yards, 10 TDs).

Early test: at No. 11 Chaminade-Madonna, Sept. 8.

18. Lipscomb Academy (Nashville, Tenn.)

Last season: 13-0. Final ranking: 13.

The Mustangs lost coach Trent Dilfer to the head coaching job at UAB following a dominant season that closed with a 42-0 win over Christ Presbyterian Academy in the Division II Class AA state final, but new coach Kevin Mawae (a Pro Football Hall of Famer) inherits another powerhouse led by senior linebacker Edwin Spillman (Tennessee) and cornerback Kaleb Beasley (Tennessee) and four-star junior QB Deuce Knight, a transfer from George County (Miss.) who threw for 1,929 yards and 11 touchdowns as a sophomore.

Early test: vs. No. 3 IMG Academy, Aug. 18.

19. Langston Hughes (Fairburn, Ga.)

Last season: 15-0. Final ranking: 16. 

Senior QB Prentiss “Air” Noland, an Ohio State commit, returns to lead the Panthers after throwing for 4,095 yards and 55 touchdowns with just four interceptions for the 6A state champions. He has LSU commit WR Joseph Stone among his weapons in the passing game, and the Panthers also return Wake Forest commit DT Ameir Glenn (125 tackles) and junior OT Dontrell Glover (Alabama) and welcome transfer S Jakob Guide (Central Florida).

Early test: at Carrollton (Ga.), Aug. 18.

20. Mill Creek (Hoschton, Ga.)

Last season: 14-1. Final ranking: 20.

The Hawks won the 7A state championship last fall with a 70-35 victory over Carrollton. They open their title defense against North Gwinett in the Corky Kell-Dave Hunter Classic featuring senior RB Cameron Robinson (1,802 yards, 21 touchdowns), LB Josh Anglin (North Alabama; 95 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 11 hurries, 5 sacks) and DE KingJoseph Edwards, who returns from a shoulder injury that cost him most of his junior season. 

Early test: vs. Cedar Grove (Ellenwood, Ga.), Sept. 15.

21. American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.)

Last season: 13-2. Final ranking: 11.

The Patriots reached the 2M state final last season before falling to Miami Central 38-31. They added senior S Xavier Lucas (Wisconsin), a transfer from Dillard (Fort Lauderdale), and junior RB Deandre Desinor, a transfer from North Broward Prep (1,248 yards, 16 TDs) and return senior OT Jimmy Williams (Louisville) and promising sophomores QB Dia Bell and WR Malachi Toney.

Early test: vs. No. 23 St. John’s, Aug. 26.

22. Basha (Chandler, Ariz.)

Last season: 12-1. Final ranking: 19. 

The Bears won the Open Division state championship game 28-21 over Saguaro to clinch their spot in the Power 25. The first state title in program history ended a streak of six first-round defeats for the Bears, who bring back a couple of four-star recruits in CB Miles Lockhart (Ohio State; 69 tackles, 4 interceptions) and QB Demond Williams Jr. (Arizona), who threw for 2,339 yards and 23 touchdowns as a junior.

Early test: at Saguaro, Sept. 8.

23. St. John’s (Washington, DC)

Last season: 8-4. Final ranking: NR.

The Cadets are back-to-back Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champions after avenging a regular-season loss to DeMatha with a 7-3 victory in the WCAC final. They return several key players, including Oregon commit RB Da’Juan Riggs (962 yards, 15 TDs) and junior CB Tariq Hayes (4 interceptions) and QB Isaiah French (827 yards, 5 TDs).

Early test: at No. 21 American Heritage, Aug. 26.

24. Mission Viejo (Calif.)

Last season: 10-2. Final ranking: NR. 

The Diablos reached the CIF Southern Section Division I semifinals by knocking off Centennial in the quarterfinals before falling 41-6 to St. John Bosco. They bring back one of the top offensive lines in Southern California, led by OT Mark Schroller (UCLA) and OT Daxton Christman-Gourley, along with Boise State commits CB Treyvon Tolmaire (10 pass breakups, 2 interceptions) and WR/FS Travis Anderson (9 interceptions). Senior LB Jack Matranga had 22 tackles for loss, 7 sacks and 12 hurries in 2022. 

Early test: at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly, Sept. 1.

25. Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.)

Last season: 8-3. Final ranking: NR.

The Falcons, who lost in the WCAC semifinals 14-10 to St. John’s, return three MaxPreps Junior All-Americans in LB Aaron Chiles (Florida), RB Dilin Jones (Wisconsin) and OL Kyle Altuner (West Virginia). Jones ran for 1,308 yards and 17 touchdowns on 149 carries as a junior. Junior Faheem Delane is 247Sports’ No. 1 recruit in the state and No. 3 nationally among safeties.

Early test: vs. No. 12 St. Edward, Aug. 27. 

Also under consideration

Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Belleville (Mich.)

Bixby (Okla.)

Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Carrollton (Ga.)

Center Grove (Greenwood, Ind.)

Chandler (Ariz.)

Columbus (Miami, Fla.)

Corner Canyon (Draper, Utah)

Dutch Fork (Irmo, S.C.)

Gainesville (Ga.)

Kahuku (Hawaii)

Katy (Texas)

Lakeland (Fla.)

Liberty (Peoria, Ariz.)

Long Beach (Calif.)Poly

Orange (Calif.) Lutheran

Saguaro (Scottsdale, Ariz.)

Saraland (Ala.)

Serra (San Mateo, Calif.)

Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)

Skyridge (Lehi, Utah)

Southlake (Texas) Carroll

Thompson (Alabaster, Ala.)

Walton (Marietta, Ga.)

Westlake (Austin, Texas)