Last year saw the Golden State dominate the VolleyballMag.com 2017 Boys Fab 50, which ranks the top 50 senior-age boys players in the nation. This list is not an exclusive reflection on high-school, club or USA HP performance, but rather an amalgamation of all the top players in the country. The list is voted on by a panel of NCAA men’s Division I-II coaches.
California again placed 27 players on the 2018 VolleyballMag.com Boys Fab 50 presented by TallSlim Tees, equaling the total from a year ago.
In terms of clubs, 949 leads the way by a mile this year with seven Fab 50 entrants. The San Juan Capistrano, California-based outfit placed Brandon Browning, Sam Burgi, Kevin Kobrine, Andrew McSweeney, Ethan Talley, Patrick Paragas and Patrick Vorenkamp on the list with Kobrine rated the No. 2 player in the class with Browning right behind in the No. 3 position.
Hawai’i’s Spike & Serve placed three players on the Fab 50 list, while San Diego-area based Coast had three and Virginia-based Coastal also had three, along with longtime Southern California club powerhouse Balboa Bay.
Ahead of Kobrine and Browning on the top five list is Jonny Bowles out of the SMBC Pali 18’s Adidas club. He takes home the top recruit honor in the Class of 2018. Bowles easily outdistanced the next closest player in terms of receiving first-place votes on a Top 5 voting list that featured 17 players earning at least one vote. Four other SMBC starters received Fab 50 recognition, including Blake Crisp, Tim Baldwin, Brandon Hicks, and Devon Johnson. UCLA recruits Cole Pender and Daniel Matheney check in at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.
Shifting to the college side of things, UC Irvine and Loyola-Chicago lead the way with six Fab 50 recruits each with UCLA and UC Santa Barbara right behind with five each. Also of note, Pepperdine placed four in the top 50, while Hawai’i had three.
Two highly touted players were not eligible for inclusion in the Fab 50 because they live outside the United States. Stanford recruit Justin Lui is a libero from Pickering, Ontario, Canada, and plays for the Durham Attack club. Lui, who drew high praise from numerous voters on the Fab 50 panel, previously was the youngest player on the court at 16 to try out for the Canadian junior national team.
Also not on the list is Miguel Sarabia, a 6-5 outside hitter out of Tijuana, Baja California, who helped Mexico win the 2017 U19 Pan American Cup. Sarabia currently is listed as a BYU commit. Sarabia plays for the Storm club out of Chula Vista, California. Sarabia received one first-place vote in the top 5 players in the Class of 2018 voting.
Voting panelists also are also super-excited about the Class of 2019. Below you will find our 25 Underclassmen to Watch list, also presented by TallSlim Tees.
Boys Fab 50 presented by TallSlim Tees
Name, Height, Position, High School, Club, College Kanai Akana, 6-4, RS, Punahou (Honolulu, Hawaii), Spike & Serve, BYU
JT Ardell, 6-8, MB, Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Illinois), Sports Performance, Pepperdine
Tim Baldwin, 6-6, OH-RS, Oak Park (California), SMBC, BYU
Cole Bogner, 6-4, S, Hickory, (Chesapeake, Virginia), Coastal, Penn State
Jonny Bowles, 6-7, RS, Chandler (Arizona), SMBC, UC Irvine
Brandon Browning, 6-6, OH, Corona del Mar (Newport Beach, Calif.), 949, USC
Sam Burgi, 6-3, OH-RS, Laguna Beach (California), 949, UCLA
Max Cajuste, 6-3, OH-RS, Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), MB Surf, UCSB
Mac Cavanah, 6-10, MB, Newbury Park (California), Ventura Co., UC Irvine
Blake Crisp, 6-3, S, Westlake (Westlake Village, Calif.), SMBC, UC San Diego
Joe D’Attomo, 6-7, MB, New Trier (Winnetka, Illinois), Adversity, Loyola-Chicago
Luke Denton, 6-5, RS-OH, Desert Ridge (Mesa, Arizona), AZ Fear, Loyola-Chicago
Ian Eschenberg, 6-6, OH, Newbury Park (California), Ventura, Co., UC Irvine
Gabe Featherstone, 6-6, RS-OH, La Jolla (California), Coast, Long Beach St. Dawson Fugate, 6-5, OH-S, Del Oro (Loomis, California), NCVC, Long Beach St.
Brian Garcia, 6-5, S, Madera (California), NCVC, UC Irvine Camden Gianni, 6-4, OH, La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.), Wave, Grand Canyon
Mike Herlihy, 6-5, MB, Lincoln-Way East (Frankfort, Illinois), Ultimate, Loyola-Chicago
Brandon Hicks, 6-4, MB, Corona del Mar, SMBC, UCSB
Cole Hogland, 6-5, OH, Iolani School (Honolulu, Hawaii), Outrigger, Hawaii
Tommy Koppang, 6-7, OH-RS, St. Charles (Illinois) North, Hitmen, Pepperdine
Christian Janke, 6-4, OH, Sage Creek (Carlsbad, Calif.), Coast, Grand Canyon
Cody Johnson, 6-7, MB, Vista Murrieta (Murrieta, Calif.), Seaside, Fort Wayne Cole Johnson, 6-6, S-OH, Central York (York, Pennsylvania), Yorktowne, UCLA
Devon Johnson, 6-7, OH, Westlake (Westlake Village, Calif.), SMBC, Hawaii
Trevor Kennan, 6-0, Libero, Seminole (Florida), MVP Academy, George Mason Kevin Kobrine, 6-4, RS, Corona del Mar (Newport Beach, Calif.), 949, UCLA
Luke Krzmarzick, 6-4, RS, South Torrance (Torrance, Calif.), MB Surf, Concordia
Luke Lentin, 6-3, OH-S, La Jolla (California), Coast, Ohio State
Andrew Lyons, 6-5, OH, Maury (Norfolk, Virginia), Coastal, Loyola-Chicago
Daniel Matheney, 6-6, MB, Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.), Team Rockstar, UCLA JT Martin, 6-8, MB, Cardinal Gibbons (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), Ocean Bay, Pepperdine Jameson McKibbin, 6-3, S, Punahou (Honolulu, Hawaii), Spike & Serve, USC
Kyle Merchen, 6-3, S, Buchanan (Clovis, Calif.), Mountain View VC, Concordia
Andrew McSweeney, 6-3, OH, Capistrano Valley (Mission Viejo, Calif.), 949, UCSB
Parker Mikesch, 5-11, Libero-OH, Beavercreek (Ohio), Vanguard, Ohio St. Jerod Nelson, 6-5, OH, Saint Francis (Mountain View, Calif.), MVVC, Princeton
Patrick Paragas, 6-0, S, Corona del Mar (Newport Beach, Calif.), 949, UCSB Cole Pender, 6-3, Lib.-OH, Newport Harbor (Newport Beach, CA), Balboa Bay, UCLA Ian Piet, 6-1, RS-OH, Lincoln-Way East (Frankfort, Illinois), Ultimate, Loyola-Chicag Sean Ryan, 6-5, OH, Lyons Township (LaGrange, Illinois), Adversity, Ohio State
Cole Schlothauer, 6-5, OH, Lee-Davis (Mechanicsville, Virginia), Richmond, Loyola Brett Sheward, 6-0, S, Orange Lutheran (Orange, California), Balboa Bay, Hawaii
Jacob Steele, 6-8, OH, El Toro (Lake Forest, California), Balboa Bay, Pepperdine
Ethan Talley, 6-7, MB-RS Newport Harbor (Newport Beach, Calif.), 949, Ohio St.
Canyon Tuman, 6-6, OH, N. Allegheny (Pittsburgh, PA), Pittsburgh, Penn State Patrick Vorenkamp, 6-5, MB, JSerra (San Juan Capo, Calif.), 949, UC Irvine
Owen Wahlgren, 6-8, MB, Downers Grove (Ill.) North, Sports Perf., UC Irvine
Ryan Wilcox, 6-3, OH, Punahou (Honolulu, Hawaii), Spike & Serve, UCSB
Brett Wildman, 6-5, OH, Frank W. Cox (Virginia Beach, Va.), Coastal, Penn St.
Top 5 Players in the Class
1. Jonny Bowles 2. Kevin Kobrine 3. Brandon Browning 4. Cole Pender 5. Daniel Matheney
25 Underclassmen to Watch
Name, Ht., Pos., Year, High School, Club, College (if known) Akin Akinwumi, 6-5, OH-RS, Jr., Peninsula (Palos Verdes, Calif.), Rockstar, Pepperdine
Mason Briggs, 5-11, Libero, Jr., Bishop Alameny (Los Angeles), Legacy, Long Beach St. Colton Brooks, 6-2, OH, Jr., Amador Valley (Pleasanton, Calif.), Bay to Bay, Loyola-Chicago Joe Deluzio, 6-6, OH, Soph., First Academy (Orlando, Fla.), Top Select, Pepperdine
Will Dominguez, 7-1, MB, Jr., Mountain View (California), Bay to Bay, NA
Chaz Galloway, 6-3, OH, Jr., Cathedral (San Diego, Calif.), Wave, Hawaii
Nathaniel Gates, 6-7, MB, Jr.,La Jolla (California), Coast, NA
Clark Godbold, 6-5, OH-RS, Soph., Peninsula (Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.), SCVC, NA
Aidan Grosz, 6-5, MB, Jr., St. Anthony’s (Long Beach, Calif.), Balboa Bay, Long Beach St.
James Hartley, 6-5, OH, Jr., Marvin Ridge (Waxhaw, N.C.), Carolina Union, NA
Ethan Hill, 6-7, MB, Jr., St. Margaret’s (San Clemente, Calif.), Balboa Bay, NA
Joe Karlous, 5-11, S, Jr., Newport Harbor (Newport Beach, Calif.), Balboa Bay, NA
Kevin Kauling, 6-5, S, Jr., Neuqua Valley (Naperville, Illinois.), Sports Perf., Lewis
Alex Knight, 6-6, OH, Jr., Pacifica Christian (Culver City, Calif.), Pac 6, UCLA
Aidan Knipe, 6-2, S, Jr., Huntington Beach (California), Long Beach, Long Beach State
Kevin Lamp, 6-3, OH, Jr., Lake Forest (Illinois), Sports Performance, NA
Nathan Lietzke, 6-4, RS, Jr., St. Andrew’s (Austin, Texas), Austin Jrs., NA Cole Power, 5-9, Libero, Jr., Edison (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Balboa Bay, UCLA
Sebastian Rodriguez, 6-5, S-OH, Soph., Redondo Union (Calif.), Balboa Bay, NA
Will Rottman, 6-5, OH, Jr., Santa Barbara (California), SB Coast, NA
Scott Solan, 6-8, RS, Jr., West C&T (Las Vegas, Nevada), Vegas United, Pepperdine
Akhil Tangutur, 6-3, OH, Jr., Palisades (Pacific Palisades, Calif.), Pac 6, NA
Matthew Tompkins, 6-2, OH, Jr., Trinity (Uless, Texas), HPSTL, Ohio State
Teilon Tufuga, 6-3, OH, Jr., Lakewood (California), Team Rockstar, BYU Kyle Vom Steeg, 6-7, RS, Jr., Aliso Niguel (Laguna Niguel, Calif.), Balboa Bay, UCLA