January 8, 2011
Two Grant football stars make verbal commitments

By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com

veimoala.jpgWith national letter-of-intent day less than a month away, the verbal commitments are starting to trickle in.

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.

jamessample.jpgIf Sample goes to Washington, he will follow former Grant star safety C.J. Wallace, who played one season with the Seahawks and last fall with the Las Vegas Locomotives, who won the UFL championship.

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 Benton/rbenton@sacbee.com)

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 Patrick/bpatrick@sacbee.com)



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Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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