Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018 | 2 a.m.
Mike Overland arrives at 5 most mornings to the Cimarron-Memorial High School weight room for the Spartans’ speed, strength and agility offseason program. When the workouts started in January, coaches told the offensive lineman he could blossom into a force.
He’s done that and then some.
Overland this fall is primed to be one of the Las Vegas area’s best players, which is something the coaches at UNLV saw this summer. He was so impressive at their camp, they were the first to offer the 2020 prospect a scholarship.
“He’s a stud,” Cimarron coach Kory Walker said. “We really wanted to showcase this kid’s ability. He’s worked his butt off and has gotten into better shape. It has started to show.”
Overland is 6 feet 3 inches tall and 291 pounds — about 10 pounds less than last season. The training has trimmed body fat and turned it into muscle.
“It changes my mindset about everything,” Overland said of the body transformation. “I lost 25 pounds (of fat), and got out of the kid stage.”
Overland, who started every game last year as a sophomore, also wrestles and plays baseball for the Spartans. “With his athleticism, he’s just getting started,” Walker said.
He highlights our list of players — many considered under the radar — primed to have a breakout season in 2018:
Kalyja Waialae, wide receiver, Green Valley
Waialae, you can argue, is pound-for-pound one of the top players in the Las Vegas area. Despite standing just 5 feet 8 and weighing 145 pounds, Waialae was an offensive force in 2017 in finishing with 31 receptions for 581 yards and seven touchdowns. He helped Green Valley win 10 games to reach the regional championship game.
“I am here to push my teammates and help us win games,” the senior wide receiver said.
He plans to continue being tough to contain on Friday nights.
“I’m so hyped to get my name out there and have a good season,” he said.
Isaiah Bigby, wide receiver and defensive back, Clark
Not only will Bigby be a four-year varsity player for the Chargers, he has been one of their top performers since his freshman season. And he’s a standout on both sides of the ball.
Last year, he had 62 tackles on defense and caught 16 passes for 314 yards and two touchdowns. With the experience comes high expectations, Bigby said.
“Just play hard and go 100 percent, no matter what,” he said.
Clark isn’t considered a football school, which partially explains why the 6-foot, 200-pound Bigby didn’t receive his first scholarship offer until this summer.
More should follow, especially if he builds off the initial three seasons of productivity. After all, not many can say they’ve played four years on varsity.
“I like to fly under the radar,” he said.
Kody Presser, quarterback, Shadow Ridge
Presser isn’t your typical quarterback. First, he attempted just 44 passes last season. And he wears jersey No. 33, a number mostly sported by linebackers.
But when you consider the true meaning of a quarterback — someone who runs the offense and is intimate with its nuances — Presser is vitally important. He will be a four-year starter for the Mustangs, which run a complex misdirection rushing attack.
Presser thrived last season in rushing for 846 yards and 13 touchdowns. His experience is second to none.
“There aren’t many defenses that I haven’t seen or that I have not prepared for,” he said.
Shadow Ridge won five of its initial six games last season and then closed on a three-game losing streak to miss the playoffs. This year, Presser has visions of playing into the postseason.
Semaj Bolin, defensive back, Coronado
Bolin does a little bit of everything for the Cougars — he’s their go-to defensive back, wide receiver and kick returner. He’s committed to Portland State to play his position of choice, defensive back.
“I am a lockdown defender,” he said. “I can come up and make a tackle, but I’d rather have the quarterback make a dumb read and throw it to me so I can take it the other way.”
Bolin had three interceptions in 2017 and on offense caught 18 passes for two touchdowns. He also had about 300 kick return yards.
When he visited Portland State, he ran a 4.5-second 40-yard dash. The school offered him a scholarship on the spot, he said.
Jordan Blakely, defensive back, Foothill
Blakely, you can argue, is the best two-way performer in Southern Nevada. In 2017, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound wide receiver and safety caught 27 passes for 399 yards and four touchdowns. He also had 54 tackles, three interceptions and a fumble recovery.
“I have had more opportunities to impact the defense,” he said. “This year, I plan having a better year on offense.”
Blakely, who is verbally committed to Air Force, isn’t the lone impact returner for Foothill. Jordan Wilson and Braeden Wilson on offense, and linebacker Mateo Monterde combine to make the Falcons one of the city’s top teams.
“I’ve been taught to never look down on anybody and never look up at anybody,” Blakely said. “I can’t wait to compete against Liberty. They have been running through teams. They are the top dog in the division and the team we have to prove ourselves against.”