In the year of the big man in the West Valley, one more big time talent in the trenches just moved in and tossed his hat into the recruiting fray.
Senior offensive tackle Kaleb Jackson-Carter was a name on college football recruiters' radar while playing at Clovis West High School in Fresno, Calif. It's hard for a prototypical 6-5, 275-pound tackle with the agility to play for a top varsity basketball team to hide.
Yet Jackson-Carter did not have any offers until arriving in Goodyear at the beginning of May to play for his uncles, Desert Edge co-coaches Mark and Marcus Carter.
San Diego State started the chain May 10 with Jackson-Carter receiving his only FBS offer to date from the Aztecs. Half the FCS-level Big Sky Conference followed, including NAU.
That number would have place Jackson-Carter in the top five of our local recruiting list. But we forgot about the newcomer.
Rather than putting him in a spot and kicking a kid that was in out, we're simply going to ask them to make a little - ok a lot of - room fir Jackson-Carter. So here's a listing for him:
Offers: Idaho, Idaho State, Montana, Montana State, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado, San Diego State
Jackson-Carter adds to the deepest senior football class in recent memory. Five more members in the Class of 2023 who were not in the top 10 have one offer from a Division I FCS school.
And a sixth has a chance to pop this year with a likely position switch. THey are mentioned below, as well as the Desert Edge-heavy Class of 2024 prospects.
Mountain Ridge quarterback Brendan Anderson throws upfield against the WIlliams Field defense during a Nov. 26, 2021 6A playoff game in Gilbert. Anderson is the top quarterback prospect in the area and has an offer from Yale. [Courtesy Matt Bushnell/For West Valley Preps]
Christian Aguilar 6-1 216 lbs. LB (Mountain Ridge) – Aguilar only has one offer to date but he's one of five returning players with a Division I FCS school offer that did not make our top 10 in this unusually loaded class. Aguilar could be a linebacker or rush end and has his offer from Butler, better known for its basketball but part of the D1 Pioneer League.
Brendan Anderson 6-1 185 lbs. QB (Mountain Ridge) – The top quarterback in the area has to deal with an unusually crowded position - and like many 2023 recruits has not been helped by the transfer portal. It's hard for QBs to nab a late offer from bigger FBS schools, but expect another FCS school to join Yale in pursuit of this flamethrower.
Will Galvan 5-8 160 lbs. ATH (Cactus) – He's not on the Division I or even Division II radar at this point, receiving offers from NAIA schools Arizona Christian and Jamestown. But after two years as the Cobras starting quarterback, Galvan has the most growth potential this season. The plan is to move him to his natural position of defensive back and also start at wide receiver.
Terrance Hall 5-10 175 lbs. WR (Mountain Ridge) – Hall seems like a shoo-in for the top 10 until looking at his list of offers again. After one from D1 FCS school Morgan State early last year they dried up. It's certainly not performance based, as Hall put up all state level numbers as a junior. Like so many West Valley players before him Hall may have to prove a little more because he's not quite a prototypical size - even though he's not tiny by any means.
Dom Solano 6-4 220 lbs. RB (Cactus) – While Galvan, running back Damian Jiles and safety Polo Banuelos have more varsity experience and time in the spotlight, this lanky defensive end had a big junior year and attracted the attention and an offer of Idaho State, a Big Sky rival of NAU with a new coach - Charlie Ragle - well connected to Arizona talent.
Layton Vining 6-3 265 lbs. C/OG (Liberty) –From a well-known West Valley football family, Vining started on the line since his sophomore year. That's not easy to do at a Liberty program with that much depth of talent. Big Sky schools have shown interest, and Idaho made Vining his first Division I offer in June.
Cactus senior tailback Aki Pulu runs downhill as Desert Edge senior cornerback Carmen Foster (#1) and sophomore linebacker DeShawn Warner (#15) look for an angle to tackle him. Warner is one of the most heavily recruited West Valley players in the Class of 2024, sporting offers from Arizona and Nebraska, among others [Courtesy James T. Abraham/For West Valley Preps]
1. Aundre Gibson 5-11 175 lbs. CB (Desert Edge) – The cornerback received a 4-star ranking in the offseason and the offers have rolled in - 13 Division I offers in all. Washington, Nebraska, Oregon, Washington State, Iowa State, Arizona State and Oregon State are the Power Five schools that are all in. Then there's Arizona, which continued its trend of being first locally by offering Gibson before his sophomore year started.
2. DeShawn Warner 6-4 205 lbs. LB/DE (Desert Edge) – Warner is another pillar of Desert Edge's four juniors to be - all prime targets. He benefits from a frame that is projectable as a rush end or outside linebacker, while classmate Jaylen Dawson - who just missed this list - has more of a classic middle linebacker build. Ten Division I schools offered Warner so far, and interestingly Arizona was the most recent. Nebraska, Oregon State, Washington State and Iowa State offered. Just under the Power Five, San Diego State and UNLV are intriguing.
3. Kezion Dia-Johnson 6-0 195 lbs. WR (Desert Edge) – The new guy in the Scorpions' stable caught the wave just in time. Dia-Johnson transferred in from Laveen Cesar Chavez and quickly picked up offers from Arizona, Nebraska, Oregon, Oregon State, UNLV and Washington State. His transition, and that of sophomore quarterback Hezekiah Millender, will be aided by the presence of potent senior receivers Vinny Mansfield and Gavin Parks..
4. Noah Carter 6-4 220 lbs. WR/DE (Centennial) – Carter and fellow junior to be Kenny Worthy III (who would be #6 on this list) received Iowa State offers almost simultaneously. Two things give Carter a small edge over his fellow Coyote. He has a second offer from Idaho State. More intriguing is his frame and speed off the edge, which give hime the tools to grow into a lethal pass rusher in college. This season should provide opportunities after Centennial saw a dramatic dropoff in sacks during its down 2021.
5. Zues Pindernation 5-9 180 lbs. CB (Millennium) – Pindernation and Worthy III (former Millennium teammates btw) both have one offer but it's from a Power Five school, giving them a slight edge over Jackson (offers from UNLV and NAU). So why does the running back and his offer from Arizona edge out the corner's offer from Iowa State? The scarcity of opportunities for running backs. Just ask seniors Christopher Cordero, Damian Jiles and even Kavaughn Clark to a degree. Major Division I offers to RBs are like gold.