The Star is counting down the top 22 high school football players in Southern Arizona. Up next: No. 4, Salpointe Catholic's star safety Lathan Ransom. 

Name: Lathan Ransom

The rundown: Ransom is a 6-foot-1-inch, 195-pound junior at Salpointe Catholic.

Who he is: Ransom is Southern Arizona’s top safety and one of the Class of 2020’s fast-rising recruits. He shuttled between wide receiver, cornerback and safety last season but is expected to focus on defense as a junior.

Ransom is a three-star prospect who is ranked as the nation’s 17th-best safety in the 2020 class by 247Sports.com. Ransom finished with 48 tackles as a sophomore; he also led the Lancers with five interceptions.

“I can do a little bit of everything,” Ransom said. “I’m very versatile; I like hitting and covering, too.”

Ransom grew up idolizing “Legion of Boom” members Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas of the Seattle Seahawks. He said he tries to replicate their intensity and nastiness on the field.

Salpointe Catholic head coach Dennis Bene said Ransom will focus primarily on defense this season. Transfer Josh Hart from Mountain View will take over many of Ransom’s reps at receiver.

However, Bene licks his chops at the idea of having Bijan Robinson, Mario Padilla, Hart and Ransom on the field at the same time.

Cornerback Lathan Ransom and the Lancers open their season Aug. 24 at Mesa Dobson.

Proof he’s good: Cal special teams coach Charlie Ragle, a former UA assistant, offered Ransom his first Division I scholarship. Things have snowballed since then: Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford, Washington, Utah, Indiana and Nebraska have since followed suit.

Georgia offered Ransom a scholarship in June.

Ransom was in Atlanta in June for the Pylon 7-on-7 national tournament as Tucson Turf Elite’s safety. Georgia’s coaching staff invited him to campus in nearby Athens.

“Right after some drills, they offered me on the spot,” Ransom said.

He said it: “Lathan can play corner; he can play safety. Those guys are very, very valuable assets to any great defense. Physically, he’s really tremendous, and I look for things like maturity and work ethic, and their ability to practice with certain intensity. One of the things I like about our team is that our most talented guys are the best practice players. You don’t always see that. … On both sides of the ball, he did a really great job for us, and now he’s a totally different guy. His confidence is through the roof and physically, he’s much thicker and stronger, and plays with a higher energy. Those are the type of things that set him apart from non-Division I guys.” — Bene


Sports producer

Justin Spears is an award-winning sports journalist and Tucson native. He can be reached at jspears@tucson.com. On Twitter @justinesports.