The Brenham (TX) Blinn College Buccaneers head into the season as the top-ranked team in the nation in the final JCGridiron.com Dirty 30 preseason rankings. Blinn will be put to the test a week from today when they face off with No. 4 El Dorado (KS) Butler County College when the teams from the Southwest Junior College Football Conference and Jayhawk Conference open the 2009 season playing one another for the third straight year.
Blinn won the 2006 JCGridiron.com national title when they finished 11-0, edging out California state champion Torrance (Calif.) El Camino College. The Warriors from El Camino seem a strong candidate to once again challenge for the national title, as they enter the season No. 3 in the rankings.
Blinn appears to have all the necessary components to make a run at a second title. They have as many as seven players with early offers (and maybe more), including high-profile wide receiver Dexter Ransom who is nearing 15 offers. Bounce back quarterback Cameron Newton (U. of Florida) has a pair of early offers and running back Mike Hayes is likely to be one of the top running back prospects in the country. The Bucs will also have one of the top defensive fronts in the country, with defensive end Anthony Gonzales and defensive tackle Jonathan Mathis making it tough for opponents.
Walnut (Calif.) Mt. San Antonio College came within an eyelash of capturing the California state title in 2008 and the Mounties open the season at No. 2 in the country in 2009. Despite losing freshman quarterback Nick Lamaison to Tennessee in the spring, Mt. SAC managed to land bounce back quarterback Matt Faulkner from Fresno State over the summer. The Mounties are huge up front with an offensive line that averages 307-pounds across the board. The back seven on defense should be as good as any in the country with linebacker and early Tennessee commit Bruce Irvin making things a mess for opposing offenses.
El Camino has been uncharacteristically quiet during the summer months but don't be fooled, the Warriors should have a lethal offense. El Camino landed Matt Simms (son of Phil Simms) from Louisville during the offseason and have one of the top wide receivers in the nation in Kenbrell Thompkins. Much like Mt. SAC, El Camino will be strong on the back end on defense with one of the top corner prospects in the nation in Mike Harris with J'Courtney Williams clogging things up in the middle at linebacker.
No list of top teams in the nation would be complete if the No. 4 El Dorado (KS) Butler Grizzlies were not included. Butler has become a juggernaut in the junior college football world and coach Troy Morrell has built a perennial power. Butler has been known to produce some of the top rushing teams in the nation and things could change a bit in 2009 with the return of quarterback Chance Riley, who played sparingly behind Press Taylor in 2008. Riley and his 6-foot-5 frame should draw plenty of attention from scouts in 2008 and wide receiver Tyler Jock should give him some opportunities to put up some numbers. The Grizzlies, however, are likely to take on the same mold on offense of pounding the ball with running backs Ricky Jacques and Kwamaine Brown providing their version of thunder and lighting. The defensive front is thick with tackles Jovonta Boyd and Marty Everett clogging things up in the middle. Outside linebacker Forlando Johnson and safety Ryan Downing will provide star power in the back seven, which should include a number of solid incoming freshmen.
One team that stole a lot of headlines during the off-season so far is No. 5 San Marcos (Calif.) Palomar College, as the Comets appear to be on the cusp of something special in 2009. Palomar has some of the more decorated players in the nation heading into the summer months and should have one of the top offensive teams in the nation. The Comets will have one of the best offensive lines in the country, led by early USC commit Brice Schwab. The trio of Martavious Lee, Saalim Hakim and Paul Moore at wide receiver should give quarterback Matt Christian some memorable games for scouts to attend. The back end on defense has possibilities to be one of the best in Southern California with the return of corner Anthony Young and safety Bubba Boudreaux. The defensive front is young and athletic, with freshman defensive end Josh Marquardt ready to make an impression.
One team that made a move on the pack since the initial rankings came out in early July is Mission Viejo (Calif.) Saddleback College, where the Gauchos reported as many as 140 prospects at one point during the summer months. Saddleback rose to No. 10 in the nation to start the season and should prove to be a tough challenge throughout. The Gauchos have one of the top running back prospects in the country in Jai Morris and landed a number of bounce back prospects including 6-foot-8 wide receiver T.J. Knowles. Saddleback should be very tough on defense with defensive end Dominic Glover bouncing back from Oregon and corner Dominique Vinson heading home from Boise State. The Gauchos have as many as five tremendous linebacker prospects, including returning starter Kory Johnson.
JCGridiron.com Dirty 30 (August 21, 2009) 1. Blinn (TX) 8-3 2. Mt. SAC (Calif.) 12-2 3. El Camino (Calif.) 10-2 4. Butler (KS) 10-1 5. Palomar (Calif.) 8-3 6. City College of San Francisco (Calif.) 7-4 7. Snow (UT) 10-1 8. Canyons (Calif.) 12-1 9. Navarro (TX) 10-1 10. Saddleback (Calif.) 7-4 11. Fullerton (Calif.) 10-2 12. Butte (Calif.) 12-0 13. Mississippi Gulf Coast 10-2 14. East Mississippi 8-2 15. Pearl River (MS) 8-3 16. Harper (IL) 10-1 17. Fort Scott (KS) 8-2 18. Georgia Military 7-2 19. Sierra (Calif.) 9-2 20. Santa Rosa (Calif.) 8-3 21. Foothill (Calif.) 8-3 22. Ellsworth (IA) 8-2 23. Trinity Valley (TX) 5-4 24. Reedley (Calif.) 7-4 25. Glendale (AZ) 7-2 26. Jones County (MS) 7-2 27. Grossmont (Calif.) 5-5 28. Coffeyville (KS) 3-5 29. Tyler (TX) 5-4 30. Pasadena City (Calif.) 7-4 Others on the bubble: Eastern Arizona 6-3, Phoenix (AZ) 7-4, Dean (MA) 6-1, Orange Coast (Calif.) 4-6, Kilgore (TX) 6-4, Iowa Central 7-3, Sacramento City (Calif.) 5-5, Chaffey (Calif.) 5-5, Rochester (MN) 8-2, Antelope Valley (Calif.) 6-4