ESPN High Elite 25 High Football Rankings (2024)

Kudos to Northwestern (Miami), No. 1 in the ESPN HIGH Elite 25 high school football rankings, for going coast to coast this season. The Bulls punctuated their second straight undefeated season cruising to the Class 6A state title. In September, the Bulls traveled to Texas for a highly-anticipated game against then-No. 2 Southlake Carroll. Northwestern won, 29-21, earning acclaim before a national audience on ESPNU.

Fourteen teams which appeared in the Elite 25 preseason rankings are in the final rankings, including the current top 11 teams. The teams combined for 20 state championships, with nine successfully defending their crowns. Thirteen schools from the Southland Region were ranked, showing the dominance of that section of the country. California and Florida each contributed four teams.

Three California schools -- No. 15 Centennial (Corona), No. 18 Poly (Long Beach) and No. 19 Birmingham (Lake Balboa) -- won sectional titles. Centennial advanced to the Division I state title game but fell to No. 8 De La Salle (Concord), 37-31. South Panola (Batesville, Miss.) captured its fifth consecutive large school (Class 5A) state championship under first-year coach Lance Pogue, while De La Salle advanced to its second straight state final and won a 16-straight sectional title.

No. 12 Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) made the biggest splash in the Elite 25 after not being ranked in the preseason. The Ironmen won their 24th straight game to capture a second straight Non-Public Group 4 championship.

No. 22 Union (Tulsa) stays in the rankings despite falling in the Class 6A final to Jenks (Okla.). The Redskins had beaten their archrivals during the regular season and stayed in the rankings for nearly the entire season. No. 23 Colerain (Cincinnati) might have played in the nation's most difficult region or section this season. The Cardinals advanced to Ohio's Division I, Region 4 final, where it lost to No. 2 St. Xavier (Cincinnati).

No. 14 St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) erased three years of frustration to win Florida's Class 5A championship. It was the program's fourth title and first since 1999. The Raiders had lost the previous three 5A title games but not this time.

It was a memorable season. We'll see you in August 2008 when the ESPN HIGH Elite 25 preseason rankings will be released. Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year. -- Christopher Lawlor

ESPN HIGH Elite 25 High School Football Rankings
1 (1)Northwestern, Miami 15-0Won second straight Class 6A state championship, defeating Boone (Orlando), 41-0, before nearly 22,000 in Orlando. Miami-bound QB Jacory Harris (49 TDs this season) passed for 281 yards and two TDs. The defense recorded its fifth shutout and coach Billy Rolle pocketed a third state championship. Defeated Deerfield Beach, 19-14, in Class 6A semifinals at the Orange Bowl. Tyresse Jones' five-yard TD run with 18 seconds remaining capped a 12-play, 99-yard drive. The Bulls, which won their 29th straight, equaled the Dade County record for most consecutive victories with two other schools.
Next: Season complete.
2 (2)St. Xavier, Cincinnati 15-0Won Division I state championship. Coach Steve Specht claimed his second state title in four seasons playing one of the nation's most difficult schedules.
Next: Season complete.
3 (3)South Panola, Batesville, Miss. 15-0Won fifth straight Class 5A state championship, defeating George County (Lucedale), 28-21, before 18,000. RB Darius "Tig" Barksdale rushed for 333 yards and all four TDs as the Tigers completed their fifth straight 15-0 season, stretching the win streak to 75 games (third all-time). Barksdale, a Mississippi recruit, scored on runs of 64, 71 and 1 yards as the Tigers led, 21-0, at halftime. Barksdale finished with 2,900 yards and 35 TDs this season.
Next: Season complete.
4 (4)Booker T. Washington, Miami 14-0Won Class 4A state championship, defeating Nease (Ponte Vedra Beach), 23-15, at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando. RB Eduardo Clements (20 carries, 100 yards rushing) scored three TDs. Defeated Armwood (Seffner), 34-14, in Class 4A semifinals. Armwood had eliminated the Tornadoes in three of the past four 4A tournaments. Moise passed for two scores and ran for another.
Next: Season complete.
5 (5)Katy, Texas 16-0Won Class 5A, Division II state championship, defeating Pflugerville, 28-7. RB Aundre Dean, the game's offensive MVP, piled up 221 yards and a TD on 30 carries. Tied 7-7 at halftime, the Tigers exploded for three TDs in the third period as Dean ran 66 yards for a score and QB Bo Levi Mitchell fired two of his three TD passes. It was the program's fifth state title and first since 2003. Defeated San Antonio Madison, 66-21, in semifinals; and Fort Bend Clements (Sugar Land), 42-0, in Region III final.
Next: Season complete.
6 (6)Maryville, Tenn. 15-0Won fourth straight Class 4A state championship, defeating Maplewood (Nashville), 28-13. QB Brent Burnette threw for 222 yards and two TDs to WR Chris Jordan. Leading 14-13 in the second quarter, Burnette fired a 34-yard pass to Jordan for a 21-13 edge. Stephen Shriver closed out the scoring in the third, passing 30 yards to Thomas Shuler. The Rebels finished the season with 61 consecutive wins.
Next: Season complete.
7 (7)Northside, Warner Robins, Ga. 15-0Won second straight Class 4A state championship, defeating Ware County (Waycross), 20-14. RB Tijuan Green took a direct snap and fired a 40-yard TD pass to Nick Bass with 5:23 left for the decisive score. The Eagles closed the season with 30 consecutive victories. In the semifinals, the Eagles defeated Tucker, 31-28. QB Marques Ivory, out the last five games with a broken fibula, threw three TDs passes as the Eagles rallied from a 21-point deficit at the break.
Next: Season complete.
8 (8)De La Salle, Concord, Calif.13-0 Won Division I Prep Bowl, defeating No. 15 Centennial (Corona), 37-31. Noah Perio's 25-yard TD reception with 5:09 left in the fourth quarter broke a 31-31 tie. Defeated California High (San Ramon), 37-0, to capture the CIF-North Coast 4A East Bay championship. The victory was the 44th straight for the Spartans in section play and their 16th consecutive section title. Tito Pica and Kylan Butler each rushed for two TDs to build a 30-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Next: Season complete.
9 (9)Prattville, Ala.15-0Won second consecutive Class 6A state championship, defeating Spain Park (Hoover), 14-0. RB Jerrod Williams rushed for 120 yards and two TDs on 17 carries, earning MVP honors. Williams' 21-yard scamper gave the Lions a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter. The stingy defense limited Spain Park to 31 yards rushing on 25 carries. Defeated McGill-Toolen (Mobile), 21-0, in semifinals.
10 (10)Pahokee, Fla. 14-0Won second straight Class 2B state championship, defeating Newberry, 53-14. The Blue Devils did it with the big play as QB Anthony Sheppard completed 16 of 21 passes for 384 yards and four TDs of 77, 56, 26, and 11 yards. RB Janoris Jenkins scooted 80 yards for a score and Carlos Lammons returned a fumble 80 yards for another TD.
Next: Season complete.
11 (11)Central Catholic, Pittsburgh 16-0Won PIAA Class AAAA state championship, defeating Parkland (Allentown), 21-0. The Vikings won their third state title (first since 2004), becoming the WPIAL's second team to accomplish the feat in 20 years. QB Tino Sunseri, who earlier this month gave a verbal commitment to Pittsburgh, hit on 11 of 15 passes for 128 yards, including a three-yard TD to Brian Friend (seven receptions, 104 yards). Andrew Taglianetti and sophom*ore Jeff Know each bolted for scoring runs. Defeated Harrisburg, 14-6, in Class AAAA semifinals.
Next: Season complete.
12 (12)Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J. 12-0Won second straight Non-Public Group 4 state championship.
Next: Season complete.
13 (14)Byrnes, Duncan, S.C. 15-0Won Class 4A, Division I state championship. It was the program's eight overall title and fifth in six seasons.
Next: Season complete.
14 (NR)St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale 14-1Won Class 5A state championship, defeating Osceola (Kissimmee), 35-20, before 9,250 in Orlando. It was the program's fourth overall title in 11 appearances. Junior QB Ryan Becker (10 for 15, 172 yards, three TDs) hit WR Duron Carter late in the fourth quarter with a 51-yard scoring pass for a 15-point cushion. Coach George Smith was named one of Florida's all-time top coaches during the state's football centennial celebration.
Next: Season complete.
15 (15)Centennial, Corona, Calif. 13-2Advanced to CIF Division I Prep Bowl final, losing to No. 8 De La Salle (Concord), 37-31. The Huskies rallied from a 31-7 deficit in the second half to make it a game. Defeated Corona Santiago, 42-7, in CIF-Southern Section Inland Division final. Arizona-bound RB Ryan Bass rushed for 83 yards and two TDs on 11 carries as the Huskies led, 14-0, at the break. The lead swelled to 28-0 in the third when Ricky Marvray caught a 21-yard TD pass and Jerry Hardeman scored on a 72-yard interception return.
Next: Season complete.
16 (16)Jenks, Okla. 13-1Won second consecutive Class 6A state championship. It was the program's 12th title and ninth in 12 years under coach Allan Trimble.
Next: Season complete.
17 (17)Destrehan, La. 15-0Won Class 5A state championship, defeating Acadiana (Lafayette), 41-21. It was the program's first title since 1973 and third overall.
Next: Season complete.
18 (18)Poly, Long Beach, Calif. 13-1Defeated Crespi (Encino), 13-3, in CIF-Southern Section Pac-5 Division final. It was the Jackrabbits' 17th section title. RB Melvin Richardson (17 carries, 157 yards) scored both TDs, including a 69-yard gallop on the second play from scrimmage. DB Vaughn Telemaque snuffed out three drives with three interceptions.
Next: Season complete. < b>
19 (19)Birmingham, Lake Balboa, Calif.13-1Defeated Carson, 41-6, in CIF City Section Championship Division final. RB Milton Knox ran for 179 yards and three TDs on 20 carries.
Next: Season complete.
20 (21)Rockhurst, Kansas City, Mo. 13-0Won Class 6 state championship.
Next: Season complete.
21 (NR)Euless (Texas) Trinity 15-1Won the Class 5A, Division I state championship, defeating Converse Judson, 13-10. QB Denarius McGhee scored on a one-yard run and passed 17 yards to Justin Runningdeer for the decisive score. RB Samir Baker, the game's offensive MVP, totaled 229 yards on 40 carries. It was the school's second title in three years.
Next: Season complete.
22 (22)Union, Tulsa 13-1Advanced to Class 6A final. Split two games with their rival No. 16 Jenks (Okla.).
Next: Season complete.
23 (23)Colerain, Cincinnati 12-1Advanced to Division I, Region 4 final. The Cardinals' only loss was to No. 2 St. Xavier (Cincinnati).
Next: Season complete.
24 (24)Westfield, Chantilly, Va. 15-0Won Class AAA Division 6 state championship, defeating Woodbridge, 42-14. North Carolina State-bound QB Mike Glennon completed 14 of 23 passes for 152 yards and a TD, his 32nd of the season (11th all-time in Virginia). Six different players scored, pacing a balanced offense.
Next: Season complete.
25 (25)Eden Prairie, Minn. 14-0Won second straight Class 5A championship.
Next: Season complete.

Dropped out: No. 13 St. Xavier (Louisville, Ky.) lost in overtime to Trinity (Louisville), 34-28, in Class 6A final; and No. 20 Ridley (Folsom, Pa.) lost to Parkland (Allentown), 35-21, in PIAA Class AAAA semifinals.

Regional rankings
1. Central Catholic, Pittsburgh (16-0)2. Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J. (12-0)3. Everett, Mass. (13-0)4. Parkland, Allentown, Pa. (15-1)5. Ridley, Folsom, Pa. (13-1)6. William Floyd, Mastic Beach, N.Y. (11-0)7. St. Peter's Prep, Jersey City, N.J. (11-1)8. Quince Orchard, Gaithersburg, Md. (14-0)9. DeMatha, Hyattsville, Md. (10-2)10. St. Anthony, South Huntington, N.Y. (10-1)Midwest
1. St. Xavier, Cincinnati (15-0)2. Jenks, Okla. (13-1)3. Rockhurst, Kansas City, Mo. (13-0)4. Union, Tulsa (13-1)5. Colerain, Cincinnati (12-1)6. Eden Prairie, Minn. (14-0)7. Macomb (Mich.) Dakota (14-0)8. Martin Luther King, Detroit (14-0)9. Lake Zurich, Ill. (13-1)10. Bettendorf, Iowa (13-0)

1. Northwestern, Miami (15-0)2. South Panola, Batesville, Miss. (15-0)3. Booker T. Washington, Miami (14-0)4. Katy, Texas (16-0)5. Maryville, Tenn. (15-0)6. Northside, Warner Robins, Ga. (15-0)7. Prattville, Ala. (15-0)8. Pahokee, Fla. (14-0)9. Byrnes, Duncan, S.C. (15-0)10. St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale (14-1)

1. De La Salle, Concord, Calif. (13-0)2. Centennial, Corona, Calif. (13-2)3. Poly, Long Beach, Calif. (13-1)4. Birmingham, Lake Balboa, Calif. (13-1)5. St. Bonaventure, Ventura, Calif. (14-1)6. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas (14-0)7. Crespi, Encino, Calif. (11-3)8. Skyline, Sammamish, Wash. (14-0)9. Sheldon, Eugene, Ore. (13-1) 10. Brophy Prep, Phoenix (12-2)

Records through Dec. 22.

About the rankings: The ESPN HIGH Elite 25 high school football rankings are compiled by Christopher Lawlor of, who consults with a national network of sports writers, Scouts Inc. analysts and high school coaches. Criteria considered are a team's strength of schedule with an emphasis on national games; the superiority of competition in its state, district or league; the program's history and tradition; and the quality of its personnel.

ESPN High Elite 25 High Football Rankings (2024)
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