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SCV suits up on Saturday

Football players with local ties look to make an impact in college ranks

Posted: August 26, 2009 10:29 p.m.
Updated: August 27, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Then-College of the Canyons wide receiver Hayo Carpenter runs after making a catch in this undated photo. Howell and Carpenter are just two of the football players with local ties that are playing in college. Then-College of the Canyons wide receiver Hayo Carpenter runs after making a catch in this undated photo. Howell and Carpenter are just two of the football players with local ties that are playing in college.
Then-College of the Canyons wide receiver Hayo Carpenter runs after making a catch in this undated photo. Howell and Carpenter are just two of the football players with local ties that are playing in college.
With the opening kickoff of the college football season on the horizon, many local products are getting ready to hit the gridiron.

Hart graduate Delano Howell will be moving to a new position this season at Stanford. Other players, such as Valencia alumnus and current California Golden Bear Shane Vereen, are on teams that have a legitimate chance to play at the highest collegiate level.

Players with ties to the Santa Clarita Valley are all over the college football landscape. Here are some of them:

Chris Black, senior, College of the Canyons, University of Hawaii — As a reserve defensive back, Black played in three games, mainly on special teams last year. He appeared in games against Nevada, Utah State and Washington State.

Kenny Brown, sophomore, College of the Canyons, UNLV — Brown enrolled at UNLV in January and took part in spring practice, and he will battle for time at left cornerback this fall.

Hayo Carpenter, junior, College of the Canyons, University of Minnesota — Arguably the most prolific receiver in College of the Canyons history, Carpenter is set to embark on his first season with the Gophers.

Demitri Diamond, freshman, Hart, Colgate University — Diamond lettered for three years with the Indians. He played wide receiver, running back and linebacker in his senior season. He was the captain in his junior and senior seasons and a three-time team MVP.

J.J. DiLuigi, sophomore, Canyon, Brigham Young University — DiLuigi earned letterman honors as a redshirt freshman and saw action in 11 games. He spent the year as a key contributor on special teams and totaled three tackles on the season, Also, DiLuigi gained 48 rushing yards on 13 carries, including a season-high 34 yards against the University of California, Los Angeles.

Ricky Drake, junior, College of the Canyons, University of Nevada, Reno — Drake helped the Cougars to a Southern California Championship game in 2008 before transferring to Nevada. He hit 11 field goals last year.

Ramsen Golpashin, sophomore, Saugus, University of Oregon — Golpashin saw his first collegiate action against Utah State last year. He has also spent time as a special teams scout team player, and could see more playing time for the Ducks in 2009.

Adam Gutierrez, freshman, Valencia, Occidental — Guttierrez is coming off a senior year with Valencia when he helped the Vikings make the playoffs. He will look to break in with Occidental in 2009.

Michael Herrick, junior, Valencia, University of Mississippi, Northern Arizona University — Herrick enters the fall as the starting quarterback for the Lumberjacks after throwing for 449 yards on 50-of-67 attempts over final two games last season. This will be his second season with the program after transferring to the school from Ole Miss.

B.R. Holbrook, redshirt freshman, Hart, University of New Mexico — The second-year quarterback showed potential in spring practice, Holbrook looked good in scrimmages, including a 104-yard day on April 4.

Jonathan Hollins, junior, College of the Canyons, University of Arizona — Hollins will take his defensive line skills to Arizona after a season that saw him tally six sacks for the Cougars.

Delano Howell, sophomore, Hart, Stanford University — Howell was one of eight true freshmen to see action for the Cardinal. He appeared in nine games and made his collegiate debut against San Jose State. He also rushed nine times for 59 yards and one touchdown, and caught nine passes for 94 yards. This year he will make the transition to strong safety.

Anthony King, junior, Canyon, University of Toledo — The former Cowboy cornerback did not register a tackle in two games last year after appearing in 10 games during his freshman campaign.

Patrick Larimore, redshirt freshman, Hart, UCLA — Larimore recorded a school-record 138 tackles as a junior for the Indians. Last year he did not see any action with the Bruins.

Tyler Lyon, junior, Hart, University of Arizona — Lyon competed in the spring as an inside receiver, and he has also worked at the small tight end position.

Roderick Oliver, junior, College of the Canyons, University of Tennessee at Martin — The former Cougar defensive back is the only player from the team headed to Division I FCS.

Alex Pettee, junior, Hart, College of the Canyons, University of Toledo — Listed at No. 3 on the preseason quarterback depth chart, Pettee played in one game last year and completed a pass for 11 yards.

Spenser Souza, freshman, Hart, Cornell — Souza was a two-time first-team all-Foothill league selection at wide receiver and quarterback for Hart. He was named the team’s most valuable offensive player and the offensive captain as a senior after passing for 1,665 yards and 10 touchdowns and also rushing for 684 yards and six touchdowns. He will now focus on being a wideout in the Ivy League.

Tyler Staley, senior, College of the Canyons, Portland State — Staley earned a starting role at center after just three weeks of preseason camp last year. He was one of four offensive linemen to start every game for Portland State and helped the Vikings become the top passing offense in the nation for the second year in a row at 372 yards per game.

Joe Thompson, junior, College of the Canyons, Tennessee — Thompson has returned to his home state to attempt to walk on with Tennessee.

Shane Vereen, sophomore, Valencia, University of California, Berkeley — Vereen played in all 13 games last season and made three starts, amassing 715 yards on the ground as the primary backup to Jahvid Best.

A.J. Wallerstein, sophomore, Canyon, Air Force Academy — Wallerstein played in six games as a reserve offensive lineman, which included a performance against Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl, while helping the Falcons win the conference rushing title and rank sixth nationally in rushing with a 266.9-yard average.

Shane Watterson, freshman, Saugus, UNLV — One of a trio of young blockers from the Golden State who signed with UNLV in 2008, Watterson enrolled full-time at UNLV in January and took part in his first spring practice with the Rebels, working at the right tackle position. Last year, he grayshirted.

Graham Wilbert, redshirt freshman, Valencia, Florida Atlantic — After posting a senior quarterback rating of 107 with Valencia, Wilbert redshirted for FAU last year.

Ryan Wolfe, senior, Hart, UNLV — The first two-time first-team all-conference receiver in school history returns as a senior All-America candidate in 2009. A durable receiver, he already holds UNLV career records with 209 receptions and 2,735 receiving yards.

Dejuan Yates, junior, College of the Canyons, New Mexico State — Yates tallied three tackles for a loss in his final game for COC in the Cougars’ 51-44 playoff loss to Mt. San Antonio College.

Zac Zimmerman, senior, Hart, Utah State — Headed into his final year at Utah State, Zimmerman hauled in three balls last year for 35 yards. As a junior, he appeared in all 12 games for the Aggies.

This list was compiled by The Signal. If you have information about other locals currently playing in the Football Bowl Subdivision, please send an e-mail


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