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Foothill League football: Locals face college choice

Vikings senior picks Minnesota; fellow Foothill Leaguers to decide on future

Posted: December 31, 2009 7:12 p.m.
Updated: January 1, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Canyon senior lineman Shane Moniz (60) breaks the huddle with the Cowboys' offense, including teammates Christopher Schmidt (70) and Richard St. John (73) on Sept. 25 against Thousand Oaks at Canyon High School. Moniz is scheduled to visit Northern Arizona University and Cal Poly in January.

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To a kid from the Santa Clarita Valley, attending the University of Minnesota might feel like a culture shock.

The climate is much colder. There are lakes all over the city of Minneapolis. It's one of the largest public campuses in the country.

But to Valencia High's Brock Vereen, it felt just like home.

"It's everything I thought it would be and more," he said.

Vereen committed to play football at Minnesota in mid-December, the biggest commitment so far from the 2010 class of local football players.

The cornerback has an uncle living in the area, and Vereen said that Minnesota was the best situation for him.

"They have special packages that I see myself fitting into nicely," he said. "They have a lot of corners leaving this year so they're expecting freshmen to come in and compete."

Minnesota finished 6-7 this season, including 3-5 in the Big Ten Conference. The Golden Gophers closed out their season with a 14-13 loss to Iowa State in the Insight Bowl.
Vereen is listed as 5 feet 11 inches tall and 170 pounds on Valencia's roster.

He said he also had offers from Fresno State University and Stanford University. If he had picked the Cardinal, he would have had the chance to face his brother Shane, who currently stars for the University of Cal, Berkeley.

"I'm definitely missing out on the opportunity to play my brother," the younger Vereen laughed. "Maybe we'll see them in the Rose Bowl."

Vereen put his decision on hold until after Valencia's season, and he had long talks with Shane, his parents and Vikings head coach

Larry Muir before deciding to attend Minnesota, where he said he'll major in business.

Another Viking who could be suiting up on Saturdays next fall is Jabari Howard, who played cornerback opposite of Vereen this season.

Howard has visits scheduled every weekend in January to schools such as Columbia University, Cornell University, UC Davis and Cal Poly.

He already took a visit to the University of San Diego in mid-December.

Howard said his grade point average is 3.8, so he's considering his education just as much as his football career.

"It's kind of like a combination of academics and athletics," said Howard, who is listed as 6 feet tall and 160 pounds on Valencia's roster.

Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholarships, however, though they do offer financial aid packages.

Football Championship Subdivision schools like UC Davis and Cal Poly offer 22 fewer scholarships than Football Bowl Subdivision schools.

The University of San Diego doesn't offer scholarships for football at all.

Still, Howard's combination of academics and athletics will be tough for schools to pass up.

"I'm more academic," he said of his focus. "Of course I'd love to go to the NFL. It's more of a dream than a goal."

Muir also mentioned that linemen Nolan O'Sullivan and Kevin Carrington were getting looks from college football programs, along with wide receiver Zach Tartabull.

He said O'Sullivan's list included all the schools Howard is considering plus the Navy and Air Force, and that Carrington is also considering Air Force.

Muir added that the University of Nevada is looking at Tartabull.

Another Foothill League player with multiple options is Canyon offensive lineman Shane Moniz, who said he has offers from Stony Brook University in New York City and Weber State in Ogden, Utah, where former Cowboys quarterback Jordan Adamczyk is currently playing.

He said he also has a couple of official visits scheduled for Northern Arizona University and Cal Poly in January.

"I'm kind of leaning toward Cal Poly," Moniz said. "I like the area. They have a good, strong program with a lot of good coaches and I like the offense they run."

Moniz said that Cal Poly runs a lot of Wildcat formations, which require more athletic linemen and more zone blocking schemes.

West Ranch head coach Sean O'Brien said his team has several potential Division III players, including defensive back Branden Pistone, tight end James McGough and offensive lineman Spencer Boring.

Division III schools do not offer athletic scholarships, although they offer other financial aid packages.

O'Brien added that the Wildcats graduating in 2011 will probably have more luck with football scholarships.

For Hart High School, head coach Mike Herrington said that none of his players have been offered yet, although wide receiver Ty MacArthur is trying to go to Air Force.

C.J. Reyes, who started at quarterback this past season for the Indians, is trying to play in college as a punter or kicker.

Herrington said Reyes is drawing interest from Idaho State, Cal Poly and Fresno State, and Herrington added that running back Jake Stephens is looking at several Division II programs.


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