IMG Academy (FL), Mater Dei (CA) and St. John Bosco (CA) are three high schools fans will see at the top of nearly every national poll.
Now, they’ll see St. John’s as well.
A powerhouse from Washington, D.C., St. John’s has taken high school football by storm. The Cadets aren’t unfamiliar with success, but on a nationwide scale, they’re building an impressive resume.
In 2018, they demolished Hoover (AL) 42-14, defeated Miami Central (FL) 37-34 in five overtimes and beat Georgia power Marietta 21-14. They’ve played IMG, Bosco and De La Salle in the past, on top of a grueling WCAC slate. St. John’s will stand toe-to-toe with anyone, and this year shows it.
The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference is already regarded as one of the best high school football conferences in the country, but that doesn’t stop the Cadets from scheduling the best of the best. In 2019, they’ll face IMG and Mater Dei — in back-to-back weeks, mind you — as well as prominent programs in Texas and Florida.
How do they do this? Having some of the nation’s top talent helps. One of the highest-rated recruits St. John’s has is their wide receiver Rakim Jarrett.
His speed is lethal, his hands can catch just about anything, and he has the gene every player yearns for: clutch. In a rainy matchup against Miami Central, both teams traded punches but couldn’t over the line. Then, Jarrett called game and put himself in the national spotlight.
— Overtime (@overtime) September 8, 2018
Since then, Jarrett has garnered interest from just about every college football powerhouse. Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson and others were pining for the 6’0″ receiver. However, it was LSU that earned his verbal commitment, and Jarrett will look to join the ranks of all-time great receivers to go through Baton Rouge.
Another player the Cadets boast is someone 247Sports rates higher than Jarrett. Outside linebacker Mekhail Sherman — a Georgia commit — is the No. 10 player in the class of 2020 and is loaded with the tools to make an immediate impact at the college level.
Sherman’s vision and pursuit are unmatched, making it very difficult for offenses to build consistent momentum. He ran a 4.53 40-yard dash in July 2018, but that’ll be impacted as Sherman missed his junior season with a torn ACL. Still, the natural instinct of where to be at the right time will make up for a recovering knee injury.
Jarrett and Sherman aren’t the only players committed to storied programs. Defensive tackle Tre Williams, who’s committed to Clemson, comes in at 6’2″ and 306 pounds according to 247Sports. Williams uses his big body to make his way through the offensive line. When he gets in the backfield, he’s smart with how he moves and uses his strength to chase down quarterbacks.
Dual-threat quarterback Sol-Jay Maiava (verbally committed to BYU), defensive end Greg Hudgins (undecided) and Mordecai McDaniel (undecided) are just a few more players ready for their senior seasons, but there are shoes to fill. St. John’s graduated two safeties, a five-star running back and other key players. One of the biggest challenges in high school football is adjusting to roster turnover, but head coach Joe Casamento has proven he can handle the hurdles of building a national powerhouse.
Last season, the Cadets made a name for themselves. They defeated notable programs and were on the way to an undefeated season, culminating in another WCAC title. Then, Gonzaga upset St. John’s in the WCAC semifinals 24-14. Having won only two WCAC titles since 1989, the Cadets still have work in order to establish themselves as the top program in the DMV area. With a team loaded with highly-rated players and looking for revenge, the Cadets will be ready to compete in 2019.