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Two Vikes bound to serve

O’Sullivan and Carrington to play football for military academies

Posted: January 27, 2010 10:21 p.m.
Updated: January 28, 2010 4:30 a.m.
 
The Santa Clarita Valley is becoming a recruiting hot spot for military academies.

A few days after Hart wide receiver Ty MacArthur committed to play for the Air Force Academy, two Valencia football players are joining him in service to their country.

Valencia senior center Nolan O’Sullivan, who was recently named to the All-CIF-Southern Section Northern Division football team, verbally committed to play football at the United States Naval Academy.

His fellow lineman, senior guard Kevin Carrington, recently verbally committed to the Air Force Academy, where he was recruited as a long snapper.

“They’re exceptional programs and exceptional schools. It reflects how outstanding these kids are,” said Valencia head coach Larry Muir. “Their leadership was terrific all year. Both kids did a great job and anchored the offensive line and the interior of our offense.”

Carrington and O’Sullivan, who have been friends since their youth football days in the eighth-grade, will now face each other at rival schools.

As teammates, they helped lead the way this season by directing blocking schemes at the line of scrimmage for Valencia’s hyperefficient offense, which averaged nearly 44 points per game.

Now O’Sullivan will try to do the same for the Midshipmen, and Carrington will snap for the Falcons.

“It’s kind of a cool story because me and him were competing on the O-line in Warriors (youth football), and then freshman year,” Carrington said. “We’ve been best friends the whole time, and now we’re going to rivalry schools.”

In recent history, O’Sullivan’s future team has the edge over Carrington’s in the rivalry. Navy hasn’t lost to one of the other military academies since 2002.

The 6-foot-3-inch, 256-pound O’Sullivan saw interest from UC Davis, University of San Diego and Cornell, but once he took a visit to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., he was sold.

“I began to realize how much Navy had to offer me,” O’Sullivan said. “Of course, it was free, and then jobwise afterwards almost any door will be open. I know that it’s going to be really hard and it might not be the most fun,” O’Sullivan said.

Valencia quarterback Alex Bishop said O’Sullivan’s leadership was invaluable as the team made its run to the CIF-SS Northern Division semifinals.

“This was his third year on varsity, and he really knew what he was doing,” Bishop said. “He was just a lot of help leading the O-line.”

But it wasn’t just during game time, Bishop said. His mental toughness was always notable.

“I saw him a lot over the summer (during two-a-days). He was throwing up during or after practice and he was battling through it,” he said. “He would be bleeding from the nose and just kind of play through it. He’s a lead-by-example kind of guy.”

O’Sullivan should also be a perfect fit for Navy’s option offense, which relies more on speed and agility rather than bulk.

“Footballwise, I’m about the average size of their linemen,” O’Sullivan said. “So I fit in with their program and fit in academically.”

At 6-feet tall and 250 pounds, Carrington was a little smaller than the Air Force’s linemen, who spend most of their time run blocking.

However, he’s still hoping to earn himself a shot at the defensive line, where he also saw duty as a Viking.

The high GPAs of O’Sullivan and Carrington will preclude them from attending prep school, which is a route many take to prepare for the academies’ strenuous regiment.

And both said they are looking forward to the service, even though both said they weren’t really thinking about academy life until it came calling.

“I don’t think serving your country sounds that bad,” O’Sullivan said. “It’s something I wouldn’t mind doing.”

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