Authored by: Ed O'Brien, @EdOBrienCFB
While eighth graders having Division I offers are no longer a surprise, it’s still a big deal. Here are nine Class of 2026 prospects from the state of California that have at least one Division I offer. Whether through film, word of mouth, or both, these athletes have already gotten the attention of college coaches before stepping onto a high school football field.
Brady Smigiel | 6-3 | 175 | QB
Smigiel has an offer from Arizona.
Deshonne Redeaux | 5-10 | 160 | ATH
Redeaux has an offer from Kansas. After watching some of his highlights, it’s easy to see why Kansas sent the early offer to Redeaux. He’s excelled at defensive back and running back, and can play some wide receiver as well. The position-designation of athlete for him is perfect. Redeaux will certainly get a lot of opportunities to showcase his running back skills at the high school level. He already displays great vision and that second-gear that the elite running backs have at the high school level.
Isaiah Ene | 5-8 | 176 | ATH
Ene has an offer from Nevada. He’s going to play both running back and safety at the high school level. Ene is that talented. His future may be the brightest on the defensive side of the football. Ene is a bundle of energy whose playing style, and hair, will draw comparisons to former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamau. He’s a hard-hitting defender who makes plays all over the field. Ene could grow into either a safety or linebacker.
Jaylen Whitaker | 5-10 | 150 | WR
Whitaker has an offer from Kansas.
Keenyi Pepe | 6-5 | 276 | OT
Pepe has offers from Colorado, Fresno State, Kansas, Nevada, and San Jose State. You’re not going to come across too many kids his size at his age. He is very advanced for his age when it comes to footwork and blocking technique. Pepe’s big, wide, and athletic. In the camp highlights that I’ve seen, he displays an ability to punch and re-set his hands to battle pass-rush counters. I look forward to seeing updated highlights when they become available.
King Shelton | 5-6 | 145 | ATH
Shelton has an offer from Kansas.
Ksani Jiles | 5-11 | 162 | ATH
Jiles has offers from Kansas and Nevada. I’m impressed with his instincts on the defensive side of the football as a defensive back. Jiles also possesses great speed that stands out on the football field.
Sean Jones | 5-10 | 200 | RB
Jones has an offer from Kansas. He already has the size that would be considered to be big at the high school level. Jones is a north-south runner that’s also a solid pass-catcher out of the backfield.
Zechariah Fort | 5-9 | 158 | CB
Fort has offers from Arizona and Kansas. I’m impressed with what I’ve seen from him in man-to-man coverage. Fort zig-zags pedal to stay in from of the receiver. His backpedal is low and steady and he makes smooth transitions.
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