League: Class 4A Southwest
Head coach: Kenny Sanchez, second season (15-0)
2015 record: 15-0 (4-0 Southwest League, first)
Returning starters: Seven offense, Eight defense
Base offensive set: Spread
Base defensive set: 4-3
Top offensive players: QB Tate Martell (Sr.); RB Biaggio Ali Walsh (Sr.); OL Adrian Dupuis (Sr.); OL Amir Johnson (Sr.); WR/QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson (Jr.)
Top defensive players: DT Haskell Garrett (Sr.); DB Alex Perry (Sr.); DB Bubba Bolden (Sr.); LB Farrell Hester (Sr.)
Key losses: WR Tyjon Lindsey; OL Jaron Caldwell; OL Julio Garcia
Outlook: The Gaels begin their quest for a third consecutive mythical national championship, and they bring plenty of talent to tackle a difficult schedule.
Gorman, ranked No. 3 in USA Today’s preseason national rankings, has five players who already have committed to play for Division I programs.
Martell, the 2014 Review-Journal Player of the Year, and Ali Walsh, the 2015 Review-Journal Player of the Year, will lead a potent offense.
Martell, who has committed to Ohio State, passed for 2,608 yards and 32 TDs and rushed for 604 yards and nine scores as a junior. Ali Walsh, who has committed to California, carried the load on the ground, rushing for 2,451 yards and 33 TDs with a ridiculous average of 12.1 yards per carry.
The Gaels probably will need to find a replacement for first-team all-state receiver Lindsey (45 catches, 1,117 yards, 14 TDs), who transferred to Centennial (Calif.) for his senior season (The L.A. Times reported Wednesday that Lindsey has not been at practice this week, and may return to Gorman). Second-leading receiver Brandon Gahagan (36 catches, 648 yards, 7 TDs) also graduated, so someone will need to emerge as Martell’s go-to target if Lindsey does not return.
That could well be Thompson-Robinson, who is a big-time college quarterback prospect, but will see time as receiver as he waits for Martell to graduate. Thompson-Robinson caught just five passes last season, but is an explosive athlete who averaged 9.6 yards per carry in limited action. He already holds scholarship offers from the likes of Michigan and UCLA along with several other schools.
Dupuis and Johnson return on the offensive line, but the Gaels must replace three starters, including Caldwell and Garcia, who now are playing at UNLV.
Garrett, who has committed to Ohio State, may be the state’s most dominating defensive player. He had 53 tackles and six sacks as a junior.
Hester, who has committed to UNLV, is back to lead the linebackers after leading the Gaels with 97 tackles and earning first-team all-state honors last season. Junior linebacker Palaie Gaoteote, who had 92 tackles in earning second-team all-state honors, also returns.
The secondary should be dominant, with Perry and Bolden leading the way. Both were first-team all-state picks last year, and both have numerous scholarship offers after decommitting from Pacific-12 programs.
They’re joined in the secondary by Malik Hausman, who has committed to Arizona.