League: Class 4A Northeast
Head coach: Tico Rodriguez, sixth season (50-10)
2017 record: 10-2 (5-0 3A Sunset, first)
Returning lettermen: Eight
Returning starters: Seven offense, six defense
Base offensive set: Spread
Base defensive set: 4-3
Top offensive players: TE Danell Washington (Jr.); RB Cameron Wiley (Sr.); QB Tyler Williamson (Sr.); WR Tye Moore (Sr.); WR/RB Devin McGee (Sr.); OL Joe Brown (Jr.)
Top defensive players: DE Gabriel Lopez (Jr.); DT Blaze Homalon (Jr.); LB Dejon Pratt (Sr.); LB Elijah Wade (Jr.); SS Darius Stewart (Jr.); CB Andrew Williams (Jr.); CB Cory Clark (Jr.)
Top newcomers: WR Brandon Thomas (Jr.); DE Braezhon Ross (So.); LB Nick Salter (So.); OG Jr. Vailea (So.)
Key losses: CB Jordan Howden; DL Lorenzo Brown; WR Jaden Mitchell; DT Jordan Butler
Outlook: The Jaugars have won the last two Class 3A state titles, but take a step up to Class 4A this season.
Desert Pines has plenty of talent to compete at the higher level, led by tight end Washington. The 6-foot-7-inch, 255-pound Washington caught 19 passes for 309 yards and a touchdown last season and already holds scholarship offers from schools across the country, including Alabama.
Williamson is back at quarterback after completing 60.5 percent of his passes for 1,284 yards and 13 TDs last season. He was intercepted only three times.
The Jaguars top two rushers, Michael Lofton and Jyden King, both transferred, but Wiley could be the area’s top back. He sat out last season after transferring from Silverado, but already has committed to Minnesota.
Moore, who has committed to New Mexico, led the Jaguars with 20 catches for 324 yards last season, and McGee proved to be a big-play threat, averaging 11.3 yards per carry and scoring eight TDs on just 34 offensive touches.
Defensively, the Jaguars must replace Brown, who was the Class 3A state lineman of year. Desert Pines also lost highly recruited tackle Butler, who transferred to IMG Academy in Florida.
Lopez, who was selected to the Class 3A all-state first team by the coaches, is back to anchor the line after posting 47 tackles and eight sacks last season.
Rodriguez said he hopes “to continue our winning culture in the new 4A division.”