2023 High School Football

2023 Southern Arizona football top underclassmen — Tombstone RB/DB Jmiah Wallis

In conjunction with AllSportsTucson.com’s daily listing of 50 of the top seniors in Southern Arizona with the football season approaching (only one day to Class 1A-3A teams kicking off their season on Aug. 18), we will publish information on some of the top underclassmen each day. Again, this is not a ranking. We acknowledge more quality underclassmen will play on high school fields locally this fall and we will report on them accordingly.

DB/RB/WR Jmiah Wallis, Tombstone, Jr., 5-foot-10, 170 pounds

Tombstone’s Jmiah Wallis had a breakout year on both sides of the ball last year as a sophomore (R & R Athletics photo)

— Rushed for 337 yards on 37 carries (average of 9.1 yards per rush) with three touchdowns in his first varsity season last year.
— Totaled 62 tackles, including one for loss.
— Top game offensively was rushing for 154 yards on nine carries with three touchdowns in a win over Avondale St. John Paul II.
— He tallied 15 tackles against Bisbee.

DT Noah Banhie, Salpointe Catholic, Soph., 6-foot, 290 pounds

Noah Banhie with Arizona defensive line coach Jason Kaufusi after an Arizona camp in June (Banhie photo)

— Banhie is pronounced (BAWN-yay).
— Offered scholarship by Arizona on June 11 by defensive line coach Jason Kaufusi following a camp at Arizona Stadium
— Has participated in a Big Man Camp with Salpointe’s Keona Wilhite and CDO’s Sa’Kylee Woodard at Jet Sports Training with former University of Memphis lineman Keith Brigham as the trainer.
— Brother of talented Salpointe senior RB/LB Jaxson Banhie.
— Played in the 2021 AYF National Tournament with the Tucson Jaguars
— Played in the AYF 8th Grade All-Star Game at Las Vegas in 2022.

ATH Romeo Berryhill, Sabino, Fr., 5-10, 140 pounds

Sabino’s Romeo Berryhill while playing with Cam Gaddis’ 7-on-7 team with his dad Stanley watching (Berryhill photo)

— Member of the famed Berryhill family that includes dad Stanley (Cholla football and track standout) and brothers Stanley Jr. (Arizona receiver who has gone on to NFL), Sabino senior Savaughn and junior Shamar.
— Member of the AYF West Coast 14U All-Star team that played in Las Vegas last season.
— He can play slot receiver and cornerback. Can also be a dangerous kickoff and punt returner with his speed.
— During a Middle School Invitational Showcase at Arizona this summer, he ran fastest time in the 40.

WR/LB Shamar Berryhill, Sabino, Jr., 6-foot, 200 pounds

Sabino junior Shamar Berryhill is a 1,000-yard receiving threat just like his older brother Savaughn with the Sabercats, especially with senior Cameron Hackworth at quarterback (Stephanie van Latum/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

— Offered a scholarship by Arizona on June 7, 2022, after his freshman season with the Sabercats.
— Plays uncommon combination of receiver and linebacker because of his size, toughness and durability. Caught 49 passes for 936 yards with 16 touchdowns last season playing on the opposite side of his brother Savaughn, who is one of the top seniors in Southern Arizona. He also tallied 40 tackles with two interceptions, three fumble recoveries and one caused fumble.
— 247Sports gives Shamar Berryhill a three-star rating entering the 2023 season.
— Member of the famed Berryhill family that includes dad Stanley (Cholla football and track standout) and brothers Stanley Jr. (former Arizona receiver who has gone on to NFL), Savaughn and freshman Romeo.
— An accomplished student with a 3.5 GPA.

RB Van Birchak, Salpointe Catholic, Soph., 5-8, 170 pounds

Salpointe sophomore Van Birchak figures to get carries out of the backfield for the Lancers after team lost seniors at that position (Salpointe photo)

— Background with Jiu-Jitsu in Tucson competing in national events. He has earned a yellow belt in Jiu-Jitsu.
— Father Anthony “El Toro” Birchak is an MMA fighter who graduated from Sahuarita. He is a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu.
— Trains at Jet Sports Training and was part of the Jet’s successful 7-on-7 team this summer.
— Participated in Arizona’s camp in June and met Scottie Graham, the running backs coach with the Wildcats.
— Tremendous athleticism, foot speed and durability built from his Jiu-Jitsu training from his early childhood days.

RB Andres Bonilla, Buena, Jr., 5-foot-9, 175 pounds

Andres “Scrappy” Bonilla was one of the top rushers in the state last year with 1,546 yards on 187 carries with 16 touchdowns (Clea McCaa/Buena High School photo)

— Younger brother of Buena senior standout Adrian Bonilla, a wide receiver/safety.
— Coming off a season in which he rushed for 1,546 yards on 187 carries with 16 touchdowns. In his two-year varsity career, after playing extensively as a freshman, he has 2,045 yards rushing on 291 carries with two touchdowns.
— Eclipsed 100 yards in all nine games he played in last season, including a season-high 300 on 20 carries in a win over Cholla. Also had 210 yards on 20 carries in a victory over Nogales.
— Coaches selected him to the All-5A Southern First Team.
— Strong and durable. He can bench 250 pounds, squat 300 and deadlift 400. He has a high rep of 14 bench presses at 185 pounds.

WR/CB Nate Bryant, Mica Mountain, Jr., 6-foot, 175 pounds

Mica Mountain’s Nate Bryant has a 73-inch wingspan to go with other impressive attributes (Bryant photo)

— Bryant is effective on both sides of the ball because of his athleticism (wingspan of 73 inches, broadjump of 9 feet, 6 inches and vertical leap of 35.1 inches.
— He has also been timed with a running speed of 21.88 mph.
— Figures to have more of prominent role in Pat Nugent’s rotations after recording 16 tackles with an interception last season. He also had two pass deflections.
— He also earned 10 medals in track and field last season. He placed third in the long jump in the state meet with a jump of 20 feet, 11 inches.

RB Robert Cash III, Walden Grove, Jr., 5-foot-10, 190 pounds

Walden Grove junior Robert Cash III provides the Red Wolves’ pass-oriented offense with senior QB Gabriel Smith balance on the ground (Walden Grove photo)

— Rushed for 604 yards on 124 carries with seven touchdowns last year in his first full varsity season.
— Caught eight passes for 52 yards last season but figures to get additional opportunities of receiving the ball out of the backfield.
— Rushed for a career-high 135 yards on 21 carries in last season’s regular-season finale, a 34-27 win over visiting Catalina Foothills, to improve Walden Grove to 8-2.
— Able to squat 315 pounds, bench 275 and deadlift 365.

ATH Noah Chanez, Tucson, Soph., 5-foot-7, 140 pounds

Tucson’s Noah Chanez is one of the top multi-skilled athletes in Southern Arizona as a sophomore (Tucson High photo)

— Chanez can be used in so many ways by new Tucson coach Zach Neveleff. Last year as a freshman, he showed he can run (139 yards on 14 carries), receive as a slotback (24 catches for 364 yards and touchdown) and return (20.2 yards a kickoff return).
— Coaches selected him to the All-5A Southern second team as a punt returner.
— Attended various camps during the summer and was one of Tucson’s top performers during its 7-on-7 season in June.
— Carries a 4.0 GPA.
— He trains regularly at Jet Sports Training with other members of the Tucson High football teams.

SS/P Michael Coronado, Bisbee, Jr., 5-foot-10, 155 pounds

Bisbee’s Michael Coronado was one of the Southern Arizona leaders in sacks last season with 10, including 6.5 for sacks

— Coronado played more like an outside linebacker or defensive end then as a strong safety last season, tallying 10 tackles for loss among his 62 tackles.
— He also produced 6.5 sacks and deflected two passes.
— Averaged 44.1 yards a punt.
— Coaches selected him to the All-2A San Pedro Second Team.

WR Jonathon Diaz, Tucson, Soph, 6-foot, 170 pounds

Tucson’s Jonathon Diaz has a successful background in 7-on-7 and TYFSF football (Stephanie van Latum/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

— Diaz had 21 receptions for 350 yards with two touchdowns last season as a freshman.
— Diaz and teammate Noah Chanez were standouts with the TYFSF’s Raiders before joining the Tucson High program last season.
— Has background playing with the successful Tucson Turf 7-on-7 youth football organization in Tucson.
— Trains at Jet Sports Training with Chanez.

WR/CB Brendyn Downing, Tombstone, Jr., 5-foot-9, 160 pounds

Tombstone’s Brendyn Downing is coming off a season with more than 500 receiving yards (Tombstone photo)

— Caught 20 passes for 507 yards with six touchdowns last season.
— At cornerback, he produced 36 tackles and six pass deflections.
— Squats 215 pounds and deadlifts 255.
— Going into his third year as a varsity starter, he had two games with at least 100 yards receiving last season, including one of 154 yards on six receptions with two touchdowns in a win over Globe.

QB DJ Elias, Tombstone, Jr., 5-foot-9, 150 pounds

Tombstone’s DJ Elias is one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in Southern Arizona (Stephanie van Latum/AllSportsTucson.com)

— Elias is a dual-sport athlete (baseball and football) who is a dual-threat quarterback for Tombstone. Thrust into the starting quarterback role last season after the previous starter transferred, Elias thrived passing for 1,203 yards while rushing for 541.
— He completed 62 of 135 pass attempts with 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
— He rushed rushed 79 times for an average of 6.8 yards with 10 touchdowns.
— He also is a defensive force in the secondary, recording 55 tackles with an interception last year.
— In baseball, he batted .506 last season with 11 doubles and two home runs. He was 7-3 with a 2.18 ERA with 92 strikeouts and 17 walks. He pitched a perfect game when he was a freshman.

RB/LB Jacob Espinoza, Amphi, Jr., 6-foot-2, 225 pounds

Amphi junior Jacob Espinoza is entering his third year as a starter in Jorge Mendivil’s program.

— Espinoza rushed for 499 yards on 125 carries with 10 touchdowns last season.
— Tallied 74 tackles, including three for loss, and had an interception.
— Started as a freshman and produced 456 yards on 74 carries and 65 tackles with six for loss with two interceptions.
— Has mentioned before that he enjoys playing more on defense. He is a threat on either side of the ball.
— Nephew of Arizona softball great Laura Espinoza.

LB Evan Greer, CDO, Jr.

CDO junior linebacker Evan Greer tallied 21 tackles for loss last season in his first varsity season (CDO photo)

— Greer was one of the leaders in sacks in Southern Arizona with nine last season in his first varsity season.
— He totaled 42 tackles with an incredible 21 for loss.
— Coaches selected him to the All-4A Kino second team.
— Greer came on strong in the postseason with five sacks, including three against in a 28-3 win over Thunderbird in a quarterfinal game.

WR/LB Andrew Griesemer, Tombstone, Jr., 6-foot, 170 pounds

— Greisemer tallied 92 tackles with three for loss (two of them sacks) last season.
— He also recovered three fumbles.
— Coaches selected him to the All-2A San Pedro First Team last season as a linebacker.
— Three-sport standout who also excels in basketball and baseball.
— Twin brother Hunter Greisemer also a standout at Tombstone.

DB Hunter Griesemer, Tombstone, Jr., 6-foot, 170 pounds

Tombstone’s Hunter Griesemer was one of the top returners in interceptions locally with three.

— Tallied 38 tackles last season, one for loss
— His three interceptions were among the 2A San Pedro leaders
— Averaged 20 yards a kickoff return
— Honorable mention selection by coaches for All-2A San Pedro
— Twin brother of Tombstone standout LB/WR Andrew Griesemer

DE/RB Fabian Hernandez, Bisbee, Soph., 6-foot-1, 210 pounds

Fabian Hernandez recorded 12 tackles for loss as a freshman last season for Bisbee (R & R Athletics Consulting photo)

— One of the top freshmen in the state last year who tallied 84 tackles, 12 for loss, including four sacks.
— Also intercepted a pass and deflected a pass.
— Earned All-2A San Pedro Second-Team honors as voted by coaches.
— Played running back last season mostly as a protective/lead blocker for QB Sebastian Lopez.

OT Lamar Howell, Sahuaro, Soph., 6-foot, 300 pounds

Sahuaro sophomore big man Lamar Howell is under the coaching of Al Alexander and Dennis Bene with the Cougars (Sahuaro photo)

— Played five varsity games with Sahuaro last season as a freshman.
— Lauded by coach Al Alexander, who specializes in coaching offensive lineman, of being “really, really strong in the weight room.”
— Will be coached by legendary coach Dennis Bene, who is coaching the offensive line for Alexander.
— Participated in the Big Man Camp at Arizona in June.

DE Jimmy Leon, Mica Mountain, Jr., 6-foo-3, 240 pounds

Mica Mountain junior defensive end Jimmy Leon has already been offered a scholarship by ASU (Mica Mountain photo)

— Leon, 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, played in five games with Mica Mountain last season after transferring from Salpointe Catholic.
— He tallied 25 tackles, 13 for loss, with five sacks last year with the Thunderbolts.
— He also recovered two fumbles.
— Leon announced on Twitter on July 16 that former Arizona assistant Charlie Ragle, now on ASU’s staff, offered him a scholarship.
— Leon also a standout basketball player as a power forward. He averaged 9.4 points and 5.5 rebounds a game as a sophomore.

B/DB Gabriel Lopez, Cienega, Jr., 5-foot-6, 150 pounds

Cienega junior Gabriel Lopez (Cienega photo)

— One of Cienega’s top athletes who figures to get more carries and receiving opportunities this varsity season.
— Accomplished student with a 3.3 GPA.
— Member of Cam Gaddis’ Gainz Elite 7-on-7 team.
— Will be used on both sides of the ball, including as a cornerback in the defensive secondary.

QB/DB Sebastian Lopez, Bisbee, Jr., 6-foot-1, 165 pounds

Bisbee quarterback/defensive back Sebastian Lopez has started since he was a freshman

— Completed 36 of 78 pass attempts last season for 653 yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions.
— Rushed for 836 yards on 110 carries with 10 touchdowns.
— Also had 74 tackles, six for loss, and had two interceptions and eight pass deflections.
— Also a quality punter, averaging 41.0 yards on five punts last season.

LB/RB Bryceton Meyer, Bisbee, Jr. 6-1, 195 pounds

Bisbee’s standout running back and linebacker Bryceton Meyer is a highly accomplished INEX Legends division racer at Tucson Speedway, capturing the 2022 championship.

— Meyer’s first varsity football season last year included 200 yards on 40 carries and also 12 catches for 217 yards.
— Tallied 64 tackles, five for loss, including a sack.
— He also intercepted two passes, including one he returned 65 yards for a touchdown against Willcox.
— Meyer has raced automobiles since he was 5 years old. He is a championship racer with his No. 7 Legend car and the No. 22 Thunder Truck at Tucson Speedway.
— Also a talented baseball player, Meyer batted .357 with the Pumas in the spring. He also had a 3.46 ERA in 26 1/3 innings.

LB Carlos Montoya Jr., Walden Grove, Jr., 5-foot-8, 200 pounds

Walden Grove linebacker Carlos Montoya Jr. (Walden Grove photo)

— Playing mostly as a middle linebacker, he tallied 85 tackles, including 15.5 for loss, last season.
— He also had 1.5 sacks and 13 quarterback hurries.
— Recorded two pass defections, two caused fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two blocked field goals and a blocked punt.
— Also is instrumental in short-yardage situations as a running back with his size. He carried the ball 12 times last season for 91 yards and three touchdowns.
— Coaches selected him to the All-Class 4A second team and to the All-4A Gila first team last season. Also the 4A Gila Defensive Player of the Year.

WR/S Morgan Quiri, Salpointe Catholic, Jr., 6-foot-4, 175 pounds

Salpointe’s Morgan Quiri is a quality transfer from Pusch Ridge

— Transfer from Pusch Ridge who must sit Salpointe’s first five games this fall per AIA transfer policy. He will become eligible when the Lancers host Tempe Corona del Sol on Oct. 6.
— Quiri, who towers over cornerbacks at 6-4, played in his first varsity season with Pusch Ridge last year and caught six passes for 103 yards with a touchdown.
— As a safety, he compiled three interceptions and had 14 tackles.
— Part of the successful Tucson Turf 7-on-7 organization, including winning a national championship in May.
— Attended camps in June at Colorado State, UNLV, ASU and Arizona.
— After transferring from Pusch Ridge, competed for Salpointe’s track team in the spring and was part of the Lancers’ 4×100 relay division championship team.

WR/DB Brit Roberson, Sabino, Jr., 5-foot-11, 155 pounds

Sabino junior Brit Roberson joined the 250-pound Power-Clean Club at Sabino this summer (Sabino photo)

— Roberson was effective on both sides of the ball last season in his first year at the varsity level.
— Had 50 tackles, an interception, fumble recovery and a caused fumble playing in the secondary.
— Effective secondary receiver for QB Cam Hackworth (whose primary targets are the Berryhill brothers — Savaughn and Shamar).
— Caught 29 passes for 363 yards with three touchdowns.

QB Jake Rogers, Salpointe Catholic, Fr., 5-foot-10, 150 pounds

Salpointe’s Jake Rogers during his successful stint with the Jet Sports Training Jets 7-on-7 team this spring and summer (Arizona Jets photo)

— Son of Salpointe head coach Eric Rogers.
— Quarterbacked the Arizona Jets 15U that captured the Showdown Series championship in Los Angeles in April.
— Part of the Tucson Jaguars 14U team in 2021 that advanced to the national tournament in Orlando, Fla.
— Carries a 4.0 GPA.
— May start with Salpointe’s freshman team but potentially elevated to varsity before the end of this season.

WR/DB Dezmen Roebuck, Marana, Jr., 5-foot-11, 170 pounds

Marana’s Dezmen Roebuck already holds a scholarship offer from Arizona (Marana football)

— Roebuck was one of the top receivers in the state last year catching 92 passes for 1,274 yards with 10 touchdowns.
— Tallied 31 tackles, one for loss
— 247Sports rates him a three-star prospect.
— Arizona offered Roebuck a scholarship after his freshman season. ASU and UNLV are among the others schools who are recruiting him.
— Standout for the Tucson Turf Elite team that has competed for national championships.

WR/FS David Rushing, Salpointe Catholic, Fr., 5-foot-11, 140 pounds

David Rushing’s nickname is “Agent Zero” because of his uniform number starting in his youth football career (Rushing photo)

— Rushing is the younger brother of Arizona freshman defensive back Cruz Rushing (a former Lancer standout) and Salpointe senior defensive end Elijah Rushing, a 5-star talent who has committed to Arizona.
— He is the older brother of Michelle Rushing, who recently finished second in the 80-meter hurdles in the USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships at Eugene, Ore. She is the Jet Sports Training Female Athlete of the Month for July.
— David has a wingspan of 73 inches and hands that are 9 1/2 inches long.
— Participated at Arizona’s camp in June and was also part of Salpointe’s 7-on-7 team during the summer.
— Quality sprinter in track and field.
— Was selected the Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church Citizen of the Month in February.

QB Imanol Silva, Amphi, Soph., 6-foot, 165 pounds

Amphi QB Imanol Silva (MaxPreps photo)

— Played in all 10 games last year as the starting quarterback as a freshman for Amphi coach Jorge Mendivil.
— Completed 82 of 155 pass attempts for 1,131 yards with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions.
— Best game was a 15-of-31 performance for 268 years with three touchdowns and no interceptions against Catalina Foothills.
— Accurate arm when throwing on the run out of the pocket, which is mostly his style.

TE/LB Nate Spivey, Salpointe Catholic, Jr., 6-foot-1, 200 pounds

Salpointe junior Nate Spivey (Salpointe photo)

— Spivey caught 34 passes for 344 yards on four touchdowns last season.
— Also had 65 tackles, including two for loss, including a sack, and a fumble recovery.
— Tallied season-high 12 tackles at Scottsdale Chaparral last year.
— Recovered a fumble in game at Highland in the 6A quarterfinals.
— Carries a 3.5 GPA

WR/CB Kayden Steptoe, Salpointe Catholic, Soph., 5-11, 165 pounds

Salpointe sophomore Kayden Steptoe is back in Tucson after attending a high school at College Station, Texas, last year (Steptoe photo)

— Son of former Arizona standout receiver Syndric Steptoe, who is now the director of player development at Arizona.
— Spent his freshman season at A&M Consolidated High School at College Station, Texas, last year while living with family.
— Didn’t get an opportunity to play at the varsity level last year at A&M Consolidated and transferred to Salpointe.
— He was part of the Tucson Jaguars 14U team that advanced to the national tournament at Kissimmee, Fla., in 2021.

FS/WR Jayden Thomas, Buena, Soph., 5-foot-9, 145 pounds

Buena sophomore Jayden Thomas is a son of Colts head coach Joseph Thomas (Buena photo)

Jayden Thomas, son of head coach Joseph Thomas, started on defense with the varsity team last fall as a freshman.
— Tallied 29 tackles, one for loss.
— Had three interceptions and nine pass deflections.
— Also a track athlete for the Colts, following the footsteps of his father, who attended NAU on a track & field scholarship after playing football at Pima College.

QB Jayden Thoreson, Mica Mountain, Jr., 5-foot-11, 165 pounds

Jayden Thoreson still has two years of eligibility after having a breakout season last year (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

— In his first full varsity season last year, Thoreson completed 133 of 215 pass attempts for 1,695 yards with 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
— 4A Kino Offensive Player of the Year selection by region coaches.
— Top game was passing for 289 yards while completing 17 of 28 pass attempts with a touchdown and no interceptions.
— Also completed 18 of 23 passes for 268 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in a win over Pueblo.

LB Remington Todd, Willcox, Jr., 5-foot-11, 158 pounds

Willcox junior Remington Todd (MaxPreps photo)

— One of the top returners in interceptions in the state with five last year.
— Also had two pass deflections and two fumble recoveries.
— Tallied 35 tackles, one for loss.
— Rushed for 164 yards on 26 carries, an average of 6.3 yards per carry.


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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