RPS players to watch this football season

ROCKFORD – The Rockford Register Star has been running a series of “Top 10 Players to Watch” lists in the run up to the next week’s season opener.

Here are the Rockford Public Schools players singled out so far:

Running back: Javius Catlin, East. Catlin finished second in the league in rushing as a freshman with 423 yards in six games. “Catlin is a once-in-a-generation type kid,” East coach Gary Griffin said to the Register Star.

Receiver and tight end: Daquavion Oaks, Auburn. Made his biggest impact on defense last year but is expected to be a major player on offense. “We’re going to use him in as many ways as we can and get him the ball as much as we can,” Auburn coach J.P. Toldo told the Register Star.

Offensive line: Evan England, East. England is a 6-4, 285-pound three-year starter that Griffin said is being recruited “by about 20 schools.”

Defensive line: Tyrus Cunningham-Smart, East. The 6-foot, 230 pound senior was first-team All-Conference last season. “He will be a standup linebacker in college; that’s how athletic he is,” Griffin told the Register Star.

Linebacker: Joey Alvarez, Jefferson. Alvarez is a junior who will also play running back and some quarterback. “He can be a special player in the conference,” Jefferson coach Jacob Arnold told the Register Star.

Malikai and Kaleb Burnell, Auburn. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound seniors will be starting for the third straight year. “They will argue about which one is more athletic, but I can barely tell them apart,” said Auburn coach J.P. Toldo.

D’aireus Sago, East. Sago had 38 tackles in six games with two sacks. “He’s almost as athletic as our (defensive backs),” Griffin said.

Defensive back: Scott Garrett, Jefferson. The senior safety was also a starting receiver last year. Arnold said Garrett is so well-rounded that he “might get some quarterback touches because we like dual-threat.”

Shamar Holt, East. Holt led the NIC-10 with four interceptions in six games last season. “He just gets where he needs to be and he gets there pretty darn quick,” Griffin told the Register Star.



Posted on 08.20.21