Fourth in a series of stories featuring top high school football players by position. Today, Jaden Rattay, receiver of LA Lincoln.
When the starting pistol banged at the start of the city section final for the 400-meter dash, Lincoln High’s Jaden Rattay started a race last spring that saw no one give him a shot at beating Granada Hills’ Dijon Stanley .
“I knew I was the underdog, so I knew I had to give all my heart,” he said.
Rattay ran alongside Stanley in lane 5 and briefly took the lead on the final corner. It was a shocking moment. Rattay started the year with the 400 in 51 seconds in his first track experience. Now he competed, leading one of the fastest athletes in the City Section.
“I was a little excited,” Rattay said. “I thought I had a chance.”
Except Stanley turned on the afterburners and finished the second-fastest 400 by a City Section athlete this century at 46.94. Rattay ran a career best of 48.15 and finished second.
“I was really excited,” he said.
It was an example of Rattay’s fearlessness and his refusal to back down no matter the challenge and no matter what others might think.
“He pushed me,” Stanley said of the race.
Rattay’s increasing speed and strength marks him as an athlete to watch this football season. He’s a 16-year-old senior receiver and safety who is considered one of the most versatile goalscorers in the City Section.
Last season, he led Lincoln to a 10-0 record in the regular season and had 13 receiving touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns, two touchdowns on interception returns, and one touchdown on punt returns.
He has grown to nearly 6 feet and 165 pounds and is a candidate to graduate from school as he has never received a grade other than A on his report card since elementary school. His father, Chris, was Lincoln’s football coach. His Uncle Tim was an NFL quarterback. And the fact that he won’t turn 17 until October makes him one of the youngest seniors on the field and someone who only gets better as he matures.
“I’m definitely stronger than I’ve been in the past few years,” he said.
As a receiver in high school, teams tried to block him at the line of scrimmage. It was an effective strategy against someone who needed more power. It will be interesting to see how he could be able to burn cornerbacks this season if he breaks free and uses his speed to create big play opportunities.
Lincoln will use him in a variety of ways – getting him the ball on screens, fly sweeps and deep posts. Once he gets the ball in open space, will someone catch him?
“Hopefully not,” he said.
In the spring, his father gave him a goal in the 400 to break 50 seconds. When he ran 49.8 in his next race, the reaction was, “Oh shoot, let’s keep pushing.”
The roughly three-second improvement shows Rattay may be scratching the surface of what he can achieve, as increased speed and power combined with his work ethic and intelligence could result in some exciting athletic moments at Lincoln High this fall and spring.
Name, School, Ht., Wt., Year, Comment
Tiger Bachmeier, Murrieta Valley, 6-1, 180, signed by Sr. Stanford, has good hands, athleticism, intelligence
Aaron Butler, Calabasas, 6-1, 170, Jr. USC commit can get even faster
Hector Ceballos, Franklin, 5-9, 175, Sr. Catched 27 passes in a game last season
Grant Gray, Norco, 6-3, 180, Sr. Two-time athlete is a UCLA conscript
Carlos Hernandez, Monrovia, 6-0, 170, Sr. Washington State commits with great hands
Makai Lemon, Los Alamitos, 6-0, 180, Sr. USC is committed with great skill
Mikey Matthews, Mission Viejo, 5-10, 185, Sr. Trusted to make any type of catch
Jaden Rattay, Lincoln, 6-0, 165, Sr. City Section’s most versatile weapon
Jason Robinson, Long Beach Poly, 5-10, 170, Jr. USC commit makes big catches
Peyton Waters, Birmingham, 6-0, 160, Jr. Birmingham’s next college recruit
Morning: Nick Fernandez, San Pedro tight end.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/highschool/story/2022-08-11/jaden-rattay-lincoln-high-receiver-getting-stronger-faster Prep football preview 2022: WR Jaden Rattay is tapping potential