College, high school and professional football became entangled a bit last week – Wednesday, Feb. 3 – during the buildup for Super Bowl week. While the football world was feasting on Cam Newton’s eventual showdown with Peyton Manning, an entire nation of high school stars was committing to college programs.
It’s a rare time for the sport.
Lost among the high-end signings from Corona Centennial, which had a dozen, or so, while Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama, Texas and all the Big Boys were lapping up the top-rated prospects, there were some nice local prep-to-college connections taking place.
Over at San Gorgonio, a very good defensive player – Shemiah Unutoa-Whitson, a defensive end-outside linebacker – was connecting with Oregon State.
Not to be overlooked, but Redlands East Valley is sending four – and probably at least that many more – into the collegiate ranks.
Three-time All-CIF linebacker Matteo Biscotti – Teo, at least, to his teachers – is headed for NCAA Div. 2 Dixie (Utah) State.
Khris Vaughn, a wide receiver who came up with plenty of big receptions during REV’s 2014 title run, will play at UC Davis.
Big blocking tackle Eric Esquer is headed for Azusa Pacific, a onetime NAIA giant that’s turned to NCAA Div. 2 in recent years.
And headed for Trinity International University-Chicago (which takes lots of trips to Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and North Dakota) is defensive end Shynol McClain, who played most of last season with a busted hand.
Likely still to come are running back Joey Harman, All-CIF punter-placekicker John Hilfer and defensive back Ryan Nieman, who still have some college decisions to make.
Another top REV pass receiver, C.J. Harris, was supposedly deciding between Nevada-Las Vegas and Nevada-Reno – an exciting decision for anyone.
REV’s dropped plenty of players into the collegiate ranks – Malik Lovette (Oregon), Kylie Fitts (Utah), David Peterson (San Jose State), past Washington recruits, Andrew Hudson, Ronnie Fouch and Chris Polk (now in the NFL), to name a few – which only brands the Wildcats as a nice stepping stone into the collegiate ranks.
It was a big week for football, one of rarest of times when Super Bowl preparations are interrupted by Signing Day – a chance to give college football a chance to dive into the high school ranks while the two best NFL teams are getting set.
There are plenty of tears and cheers to go around.
Nothing beats football, folks.
There are, on newspaper websites, far more “hits” on prep, college and NFL football than anything else. It’s a fact that can’t be changed.
Looking ahead, throw in onetime Citrus Valley defensive stud, Jonah Moi, who’s been playing linebacker at Oregon.
At some point next season, Unutoa-Whitson will wave across the field at former Spartan teammate, Nathan Meadors, who’s at a growing UCLA program.
When 2016 Pac-12 commences, we could be seeing Meadors pouncing on Lovette, or Moi trying to take on Unutoa-Whitson in a special teams’ matchup. If onetime REV tackle Joseph Price had accepted his full ride to Washington State a year ago, he could’ve been taking on onetime REV teammate, Fitts, in a big Pac-12 game in either Pullman, Wash. or Salt Lake City.
This thing’s getting fun.