By Joe Davidson
This is especially true in Del Paso Heights, where two Grant Pacers All-Americans announced Saturday where they plan to attend college and make tackles.
Defensive tackle Vei Moala, a two-time Bee Defensive Player of the Year, will play for Cal, the latest local coup for coach Jeff Tedford.
Safety James Sample said he has made a verbal commitment to Washington.
Sample and Moala played for the West team in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio on Saturday, won by the East 13-10. Moala, 6-foot-3 and 330 pounds, was strong in the middle Saturday and showcased his athletic ability by blocking a kick in the third quarter. Sample, known for his hard-hitting ability and closing speed, flattened an East receiver.
"They played great," Grant defensive coordinator and athletic director Reggie Harris said from San Antonio.
Moala is rated as a five-star recruit, the highest one can have, and the No. 14 overall prospect in the country and second at his position. If he makes it official by signing with Cal - verbal commitments are not binding - he will follow in the Pacers footsteps of linebacker Worrell Williams, a four-year starter who played this past season for the Sacramento Mountain Lions, and cornerback Syd Thompson, a four-year starter who is with the Denver Broncos.
Grant was state-ranked No. 1 all season until falling to eventual Division II state champion Folsom in the Sac-Joaquin Section finals. The Pacers also expect to see linebacker/tight end Darryl Paulo, all-purpose star Ference Lang and linebacker Vidal Davis, among others, sign on letter-of-intent day.
Folsom also has a host of players expecting to move on, including running back/safety Jordan Richards, who has given a verbal commitment to Stanford, and receiver Tyler Trosin, who is headed to Oregon State. Receiver Kori Babineaux, linebackers/defensive ends Burton DeKoning and Marcus Hendricks and freshly named State Player of the Year quarterback Dano Graves are also being recruited.
Top photo: Grant defensive tackle Vei Moala, who has committed to Cal, makes tackles and pounces on fumbles. (Randal Bentonfirstname.lastname@example.org)
Bottom photo: Grant safety James Sample, right, was a team captain and leader for the Pacers, known for his speed and ability to hit. He is headed to the Washington Huskies. (Bryan Patrickemail@example.com)