Now in year three under head coach Romeo Pellum, the arrow is still pointing up for the Millikan football program. While the Rams remain inexperienced in several spots, they’ll have some exciting top-end talent all over the field, as Pellum’s vision begins to take shape.
The shortened season earlier this spring showed glimpses of what Millikan can be, but also revealed some of the holes that needed to be filled. With a few key upgrades, it appears the Rams will be improved for the 2021 campaign, and they’re bringing some high expectations with them.
“Fortunately for us, we played a lot of young guys and got a lot of experience (during the spring season),” said Pellum. “The expectation for these guys is really, really high. I think it was a good thing that the turnaround was so quick, because it’s fresh in their minds.”
One of those key young players is Romeo’s younger brother, Ryan Pellum, who is an explosive playmaker that will contribute extensively at wide receiver, in the defensive backfield, and in the return game. The younger Pellum has more than two dozen scholarship offers from schools like LSU, Notre Dame, and Texas, and was recently named a MaxPreps First Team All-American for the sophomore class.
Defenses won’t be able to solely focus on him, however, since the Rams have possibly the most talented receiving corps in the city. Senior Tacario Davis brings his 6-foot-2 wingspan to both wide receiver and cornerback. The Arizona signee is one of the most experienced players on the team and has embraced that role entering his senior year.
“I’m trying to be more vocal here and there when it’s needed,” explained Davis. “To be more of a leader and show the young guys how it’s done. We have a lot of young guys with talent like I’ve never seen before.”
The receiving corps is further bolstered by returners Jhae Drummer, Matthew Martinez and Angelo Miranda. They should all benefit from the official arrival of highly-touted sophomore quarterback Myles Jackson, who transferred to Millikan during the spring season and showed off his electric arm in the Rams’ blowout scrimmage win over Santa Fe. Despite not playing an official varsity snap, the young signal-caller already has a handful of Division I offers from some Pac-12 and other West Coast schools.
Millikan will look to run an uptempo attack that will spread defenses out, and keep them on their toes with no-huddle looks and quick play-calling. Jackson’s ability to take command of the offense quickly will be a key factor in determining just how prolific the Rams’ offense can be.
“What I’ve been working on most is just getting chemistry with my teammates and my receivers,” Jackson said of his work during the offseason. “I see all my guys learning and getting better every day. We have a really strong returning group. They’re ingrained with this offense, so they know everything that they’re doing. I think we can execute really well.”
The Rams will need to show improvement up front, where senior Luke Clapham will anchor the offensive line at guard. Millikan will be more experienced with returners like Mason Scott and Harrison Chambers, and will have more depth as well. Their performance up front will be key in allowing Millikan’s stable of playmakers to put up the kinds of numbers they’re capable of this season.
“I definitely think we have the talent to execute what we need to execute and be at that next level,” Clapham said. “We’ve been pushing ourselves every day to get to where we need to be, and I think if we execute during the season, nobody’s going to stop us.”
Senior running back Ajae Gravelly knows the offense well, and will be happy to provide a balance to the high-powered passing attack while also chipping in as a nickel back on defense.
On the defensive front, Leo Moreno and Ethaniah Steffany will lead the way on the line, with a young group of linebackers that includes Riley Tuggle, plus brothers Ransom and Shea Robertson. The defensive backfield will feature Pellum and Davis, plus another future DI athlete in junior Jaden Hunt.
Millikan will again play some challenging non-league games as Pellum looks to get his team prepared for a possible playoff run in November. The Rams went unbeaten in Moore League play before losing to Poly in the season finale this spring, and hopes are high for a memorable season for the Rams.
“We’re a championship team, and we have to practice and play like a championship team,” Pellum said. “The goal obviously is to win the league, but even if we come in second, we have the potential to win a CIF championship, and I want (the players) to understand that. Because if we match up to teams in our division, talent-wise, I don’t think it’s close.”
Projected Depth Chart:
QB – Myles Jackson
RB – Ajae Gravelly
WR – Ryan Pellum, Tacario Davis, Jhae Drummer, Matthew Martinez, Angelo Miranda
OL – Alex Romero, Luke Clapham, Mason Scott, Ty Atterberry, Harrison Chambers
K – Jayden Icasiano
DL – Ethaniah Steffany, Leo Moreno, Damian Hernandez
LB – Riley Tuggle, Ransom Robertson, Shea Robertson
DB – Tacario Davis, Ryan Pellum, Jaden Hunt, Kelvin Turner, Xavier Taplin, Ryan Chester
P – Daniel Arroyo
2021 Millikan Football Schedule:
8/20 vs. Santa Ana
8/27 at Carlsbad
9/3 vs. St. Anthony
9/10 vs. La Mirada
9/17 at Jordan
9/24 at Poly (Vet’s)
10/1 vs. Lakewood
10/8 at Compton
10/22 vs. Cabrillo
10/29 vs. Wilson