La Jolla Country Day grad Rashaan Salaam tops list of 50 best San Diego football players

By City News Service

Four Heisman Trophy winners topped a list of the 50 best football players from San Diego County high schools since 1960, released today by the San Diego Hall of Champions.

The hall is releasing several Top 50 lists to commemorate the golden anniversary of the San Diego Section of the California Interscholastic Federation.

The winners of the Heisman Trophy, annually given to college football’s best player, on the list are Marcus Allen of Lincoln High School, Reggie Bush of Helix Charter High School, Rashaan Salaam of La Jolla Country Day School and Ricky Williams of Patrick Henry High School. All are or were running backs.

Allen went on to play for USC and the NFL’s Los Angeles Raiders and was selected for both the college and pro football halls of fame. Bush also played for USC and now plays for the New Orleans Saints.

Salaam won the 1994 Heisman Trophy while playing for the University of Colorado. Williams won the 1998 Heisman Trophy while playing for the University of Texas. He now plays for the Miami Dolphins.

The list also includes:

  • the late Sal Aunese of Vista High School, who later played quarterback at Colorado and fathered a child with the daughter of Buffaloes coach Bill McCartney and died of cancer at the age of 21 in 1989;
  • Dillon Baxter of Mission Bay High School, whose freshman year as a running back at USC has been derailed by off-field problems;
  • Sean Salisbury of Orange Glen High School, who played quarterback at USC and became a television commentator;
  • Junior Seau of Oceanside High School, also a Trojan who went on to become a perennial All-Pro linebacker for the San Diego Chargers;
  • and Brian Sipe of Grossmont High School, who went to play quarterback at San Diego State and was the recipient of The Associated Press’ 1980 NFL Most Valuable Player Award when he played for the Cleveland Browns.

A list of the 50 top athletes from other fall high school sports was also released.
The biggest name on the list was Meb Keflezighi, the cross-country runner from San Diego High School who won the 2009 New York Marathon and was the silver medalist in the 2004 Olympic men’s marathon.

The lists were compiled by sportswriters and others with long experience with local high school sports.

San Diego-area schools competed in the Southern Section before 1960. The lists do not cover athletes before then.