Manteca High junior wide receiver Jacob DeJesus is among the top returning talents in the southern half of the Sac-Joaquin Section. (Sean Kahler Photography)

A quick look at the region's top returning football talent

James Burns

These aren't rankings, people.

Not yet, any way.

For now, this is just a list — an early list, at that — of the top returning football players in the southern half of the Sac-Joaquin Section. So, please, don't get too fired up about where your favorite player appears ... or doesn't.

For starters, the list is alphabetical. It serves as a precursor to the top-50 returning players, which The Front Row will begin rolling out later this month. The top-50 will help us walk-up to the season-openers on Aug. 17 for teams.

This just stirs the pot.

If you've got a returning varsity player we've overlooked, which is possible, please send their information to or, and we'll add them here and consider them for the top-50.

Now then, here's a preliminary list of the area’s top returning high school football players, including their position and school, in alphabetical order: 

Carlos Arreola, running back, Hughson

Payton Bass, running back, Pitman

Evan Bearden, defensive end/wide receiver, Sonora

D’angelo Bellamy, running back/defensive back, Central Catholic

Jacob Bettencourt, quarterback, Orestimba

Jon Buttrey, running back, Buhach Colony

Xavier Carlton defensive end/tight end, Modesto Christian

Raylen Carter, running back, East Union

C.J. Castleman, running back, Sonora

Jorge Cedano, wide receiver, Manteca

Kaden Christensen, running back/defensive back, Escalon

Greg Clark, offensive lineman/linebacker, Ripon

Adrian Cuevas, defensive back, Central Catholic

Nick Cummins, linebacker, Downey

Ryan Daggett, quarterback, Ripon

Roland Davis, running back, Ripon

Jacob DeJesus, wide receiver, Manteca

Yolan Dickson, running back, Buhach Colony

Ethan Difuntorum, wide receiver/defensive back, Downey

Jake Dirkse, linebacker, Turlock

Javyn Drobnick, running back, Big Valley Christian

Dalton Durossette, quarterback, Central Catholic

JoJo Espinoza, quarterback/free safety, East Union

Zaire Eugene, running back, Modesto

Garrett Fountain, defensive end, Turlock

Logan Foumai, offensive lineman, Patterson

Nate Garcia, running back/linebacker/quarterback, Patterson

Jake Gookin, quarterback, Sonora

Anderson Grover, wide receiver, Downey

Justin Hansen, defensive back, Ripon

Marquise Higgins, linebacker/wide receiver, East Union

Kyle Jackson, quarterback, Central Catholic

Everett Johnson, offensive lineman, Turlock

Jonah Kosakiewicz, quarterback, Turlock

Michael Kamps, running back, Ripon Christian

Ryan Kraft, quarterback, Bret Harte

Marcello Longstreth, quarterback/athlete, Gregori

Trey Longstreth, wide receiver/defensive back, Gregori

Antonio Lopez, running back, Los Banos

Sean McGovern, wide receiver/defensive back, Ripon Christian

Dawaiian McNeely, running back/defensive back, Central Catholic

Chris Mendoza, offensive lineman, Central Catholic

Bryan Millan, wide receiver/defensive back/kicker, Hilmar

Omar Ortega, offensive lineman, Patterson

Tramayne Paster, defensive back, Buhach Colony

Bryce Peterson, quarterback, Downey

Justin Rentfro, running back/defensive end, Hilmar

Xavier Rodriguez, quarterback, Davis

Trabron Russell, running back, Manteca

Nash Satnat, linebacker, Escalon

Hayden Sauser, quarterback, Modesto Christian

Isaac Schinnman, running back/linebacker, Modesto Christian

Gunnar Selover, quarterback, Big Valley Christian

Isaac Sharp, running back/defensive back, Hilmar

Joao Silveira, linebacker, Hilmar

Eric Soares, offensive lineman, Central Catholic

Michael Solario, running back/defensive back, Ripon Christian

Justin Traina, defensive back, Central Catholic

Tyler Vargas, wide receiver/defensive back, Orestimba

Drew Van Vliet, offensive lineman, Ripon Christian

Dhameer Warren, quarterback/defensive back, Merced

If we've missed a must-see returning talent, please email the information to or