Bend Regional Defensive MVP’s; Ralston, Ezell, Banks, Strahm

(Mike Ralston 6-6 240 DE Sheldon)

In one of the break out performances of the early camp and combine season Mike Ralston did his thing and looked very good on both sides of the ball. Ralston’s a kid who
made the transfer from Jesuit to Sheldon and will help the Irish try to get back to the state title game in 2012.

Mike played D end for the Crusaders and Tight End sparingly, but made the switch so he could exploit his offensive abilities. Ralston showed power and quickness, but its his size and overall athleticism that make him so appealing. Mike has a huge upside and if he can maintain his health he will be one of the more recruited TE/WR/DE’s in the Northwest.

Josh Harper looked outstanding as well getting off the ball quicker then anyone and showing most of the O lineman why he lead the 5a classification level in sacks last year. He posed the biggest challenge to Bach with his speed, and will be one of the better DE’s in the state at the 5a level.


(Jack Ezell 6-4 215 LB Pendleton)

The Columbia River Conference Defensive Player of the Year comes in ranked as one of the state’s top linebackers, but he realizes he will have to prove himself outside of Eastern Oregon if he wants to find a home at a D1 university. Ezell did a good job of showing off speed and anticipation using his 6-4 frame. He will need to add some additional size before season, but watching his film you see a kid that plays with no fear and will run through a brick wall to stop a play.

Ezell’s a kid that we look forward to seeing on the camp circuit over the spring and summer as he has become an NEI favorite and someone we think has a ridiculous upside as indicated by his stellar play over the weekend.



(James Banks 6-1 220 LB Sheldon)

Another big time transfer that will make the jump from 5a Marist to 6a Sheldon is 1st team all league LB Banks. James looked as good if not better then any of the other athletes in attendance. All of the hard work he has been putting in the off season has been paying off, and he looked in August shape very early in the season.

Banks is a kid that earned all league honors as a sophomore at 6a South Eugene before helping to lead the Spartans D to a #1 ranking for most of the season in 2011. He is considered one of the state’s top 5 linebackers and moved very well on Sunday showing off improved mechanics and speed. James is a 4.0 student that excels with all AP classes taking math at the University of Oregon. He will have high end academic institutions courting him for the remainder of his career. He is an outstanding kid with natural football ability.



(Connor Strahm 6-1 210 S Sheldon)

One of the state’s best overall players made the trip to Bend for the regional event and didn’t disappoint. Strahm’s a kid that is deceiving when you see him without the pads. During the 2011 season he earned 1st team all state honors on both sides of the ball while going for over 1900 All purpose yards and 28 Tds. He finished 2nd in the state with 7 Ints and did it by using uncanny smarts that 98% of other DB’s dont possess.

Strahm currently holds offers from Portland St and Montana and was also the Southwestern Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2011. Sunday Strahm showed that he just knows where to be on the field, and has an understanding of the game that most others don’t. His 4.68 (40 yard dash) didn’t break any records but I challenge any other athlete to try and outsmart the kid on the field.