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Local football recruits keep their word

02/05/2014, 4:41pm PST
By John Maffei

Standouts stick with college commitments, despite late pressure.

The cake decorations and sweatshirts tell the story at Oceanside High, where twins Alijah Holder (left) and Mikah Holder have chosen to play football for Stanford and San Diego State, respectively.

One of the mysteries of National Signing Day was if Mission Hills High linebacker Fred Warner would honor his verbal commitment to BYU or be swayed by a last-minute, full-court-press by USC.

Warner, the San Diego Section Defensive Player of the Year, left little doubt when he entered the Mission Hills library Wednesday morning wearing a blue BYU cap.

"I committed very early to BYU, but was serious about USC," Warner said. "I didn't take my college visits during our football season because it would have meant time away from the team, time away from preparing to win a CIF championship.

"Washington and USC came in late, and it got kind of stressful.

"But after visiting USC and BYU, BYU was the best for me."

Warner wasn't the only San Diego player who was wooed after making an early commitment.

Oceanside receiver Mikah Holder committed early to San Diego State and signed with the Aztecs on Wednesday.

But his commitment didn't stop Utah and Washington from calling.

"For me, I knew SDSU was the right place," said Holder, whose twin bother Alijah, a defensive back, signed with Stanford.

"It was flattering other schools wanted me, and I found the recruiting process to be fantastic.

"But I was solid on San Diego State the whole time."

Alijah Holder said once he committed to Stanford, calls from other colleges stopped.

"This is going to be the first time Mikah and I will be apart for any length of time," Alijah said. "I didn't commit immediately because I wanted to see if Stanford would offer Mikah.

"Once I was convinced the weren't going to offer, I made my commitment. I stood solid on that, and Mikah was OK with it."

A Stanford commitment stood up for Carlsbad linebacker/tight end Jordan Perez.

"Stanford was the first to offer, and once they did, my phone blew up," Perez said. "Cal and USC jumped in, but I never waivered on Stanford."

Carlsbad quarterback Christian Chapman signed with San Diego State, but still got calls after he made his verbal commitment.

Utah and Boise State jumped in to challenge the Aztecs.

"But I was committed to San Diego State the whole time, and wasn't going to change," Chapman said.

Mission Hills Coach Chris Hauser said he had a long talk with Warner before his star player visited USC last week.

"I presented Fred with as much information as I could," Hauser said. "I presented facts without bias.

"Fred is a very mature young man, very focused. He's fun to be around, but he's all business on the field.

"He has three goals ... get a degree, compete at a high level, and make it to the pro level.

"Those were big factors for him.

"What I told him was after you have all the information, think about what tunnel you want to run out of on game day.

"Do you see yourself in Cardinal and Gold at the L.A. Coliseum or Blue and White in Provo?"

Warner's teammate Ricky Liuchan, a linebacker, signed with Oregon State on Wednesday, choosing to play for the Beavers over San Diego State.

"I'm so glad it's all over," Liuchan said. "I found the recruiting process to be totally annoying."


Quarterback Beau Reilly, who signed with Colorado State out of Valley Center, has been on his LDS mission to Brazil the last two years. Wednesday, he signed with Hawaii where he'll work with former Oceanside star Jordan Wynn. Wynn, who played at Utah, is now the quarterbacks coach at Hawaii.

Mission Hills had six players sign Wednesday, three football players including DB Nate Ostrom who is headed for Humboldt State.

Oceanside had five football players sign ... the Holder brothers, DB Jace Whittaker (Arizona), PK Jackson Koonce (SMU) and DL Brandon Badillo (Western New Mexico). Soccer player Misael Miranda signed with Houston Baptist.

Carlsbad has nine football players going out, led by Perez and Chapman.

La Costa Canyon quarterback Jake Mann signed with Montana as an athlete. TE Quinn Smith signed with Lafayette in Pennsylvania.

Palomar College quarterback Ryan Lamb (Oceanside) signed with Central Michigan. Palomar PK Jonathan Leiva (L.A. Cathedral) signed with UNLV.

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