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SCV has a Pac-12 connection in football

Posted: July 30, 2013 10:30 p.m.
Updated: July 30, 2013 10:30 p.m.

The Pac-12 has always been a destination for the Santa Clarita Valley’s top-tiered football talent.

However, two schools are standing out more than others in terms of their recruitment of area players.

One — Cal Berkeley — for its long history of not only recruiting SCV players but for the success locals have had at the school, and two — Colorado — which has increased its efforts of luring kids to play for the college.

Colorado received a verbal commitment from Canyon High senior quarterback Cade Apsay, has Valencia High graduate and freshman defensive back Tedric Thompson in the fold and was rumored to have offered Hart High wide receiver Trent Irwin.

That sort of activity in the last year would make Colorado the most aggressive Pac-12 school in this area.

“There are a lot of good football players in that area. Football is important,” said first-year Colorado head football coach Mike MacIntyre.

For people wondering why Colorado has been so active in the area, there are a number of reasons.

The players targeted by the Buffaloes certainly speak for themselves, but MacIntyre was previously at San Jose State, which was rumored to be targeting SCV players before the coach left.

The names talked about were Apsay, Thompson and Canyon graduate Drew Wolitarsky.

Another reason why Colorado might be paying close attention to the area is Buffaloes offensive line coach Gary Bernardi.

Bernardi, a former SCV resident whose son Joe played at Hart High, coached at UCLA from 1994 to 2003 — a time in which UCLA was recruiting heavily in the SCV — landing such former Hart stars as Matt Moore, Jerry Owens and Pat Norton.

“Gary has recruited in that area (the SCV). He coached at USC, he coached at Arizona, he coached at UCLA and he recruited in that area. And then he coached at UNLV and then San Jose and recruited out of there. So I guess he’s been recruiting out of there for 27 years,” MacIntyre said. “He knows a lot about it. He does a great job recruiting. He has a lot of connections and we’re going to always recruit that area hard.”

Meanwhile the coaching change at Cal — from Jeff Tedford to Sonny Dykes — doesn’t appear to change the school’s interest in the SCV — yet.

Irwin has an offer from Cal — the same school where Hart grad Kyle Boller, former College of the Canyons running back J.J. Arrington, Canyon grad Nate Longshore and Valencia grad Shane Vereen became college stars.

Tedford told The Signal at last year’s Pac-12 Media Day of his appreciation for the area.

He even grabbed West Ranch grad Jeff Coprich, who is now at redshirt freshman for the Golden Bears.

However, Dykes said he wants to look in his backyard for talent first.

“Recruiting all starts down the street. That’s the first place you’ve got to recruit is down your street, and then a block over and then two blocks over. So you start at home and work your way out,” Dykes said. “We’ll branch off from there. We’ll go from the Bay Area to Southern California. We’ll recruit the entire state, and then places that make sense after that.”

There are currently just four rostered SCV players on Pac-12 teams — Thompson, Coprich, Valencia’s Steven Manfro at UCLA and Jordan Thompson at Oregon.

Signal staff writer Dan Agnew contributed to this story.


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