Buena (Ventura) linebacker Dru Mathis had a familiar face hosting him during his official recruiting visit to San Diego State: Aztec defensive back and older brother Kendrick.
Now, the Mathis brothers will unite in the 619, as the younger Mathis ended his recruiting process and committed to the defending Mountain West champions on Sunday.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Mathis said his brother had an influence on his college decision.
“Kendrick being on the team played a role for me to go there. It's crazy to say we are going to play together,” Mathis said.
Kendrick – who starred at Buena High and graduated in 2012 – will be a fifth-year senior once his sibling joins the Aztecs.
Like his older brother, the Class of 2016 defender Dru Mathis earned a 3-star ranking by the national scouting outlets, but earned his accolades by thrashing the line of scrimmage against offenses. Regardless if he was lined up in a two-point stance or a three, Mathis emerged as the Bulldogs’ top pass rusher and run stuffer.
Mathis was on a lot of Mountain West teams’ recruiting board; with the likes of Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, San Jose State and Nevada all trying to court him.
NEW SOUTH DAKOTA COACHING STAFF SELLS CAMARILLO STAR
Before he took his official visit to the University of South Dakota during the weekend of Jan. 30, Camarillo left tackle Sean Chisholm was mostly seen as a wanted prospect for the NCAA Division II and NAIA level - as schools from those two realms extended scholarship opportunities to him.
But the new Coyote coaching staff thought otherwise, as the Football Championship Subdivision program not only offered the big 6-foot-6, 290-pound lineman, but received a verbal commitment from him on Sunday.
Chisholm said he likes the vision in place at SDU.
“The commitment to improvement that the school is giving toward the football program on and off the field - from the new weight room going in over the summer and a new locker room (was what sold me),” Chisholm said.
The Coyotes hired Bob Nielson on Dec. 15, 2015 to improve a team that went 5-6 overall last season. Nielson and his staff were another deciding factor for Chisholm.
“It may be a new coaching staff for the school, but if you do a little research they went and hired a very experienced head coach with a great surrounding staff that have a great mix of professionalism,” Chisholm said.
Chisholm was the powerful blindside protector for record-breaking Scorpion quarterback Jake Constantine, who committed to Boise State on Jan. 23. He also cleared running lanes for running back and 1,000-yard rusher Isaiah Otis, who pledged to DII Wayne State on Saturday.
And they shined on a 15-1 team that didn’t generate much interest from colleges during the season, until now.
“Playing at Camarillo is what I truly feel made me into a football player,” Chisholm said. “There was very few selfish moments on our team and in the four years I've been here, there wasn't a single person on our team who didn't put the team before them – and that is what helps shape a player’s value.”
HUMBOLDT STATE GOES TO FRESNO POWERHOUSE FOR MORE TALENT
Humboldt State’s 559 pipeline continued on Sunday, as the Lumberjacks added Bullard (Fresno) defensive back Nick Cole and athlete C-Jay Smith on Sunday.
Last year around this time, HSU lured in Edison High’s Khai Williams, Ju’Wan Murphy and Vance Sams to Eureka. Now, Cole and Smith become the latest from Fresno to verbally join the NCAA Division II powerhouse.
“Going to Humboldt on my official visit felt like I never even left home. I clicked with the team very fast and they made me feel welcome,” Smith said. “The coaches at Humboldt were amazing. They talked to me like they already knew me. I'm glad I picked Humboldt as a college I want attend for the next four to five years.”
Added Cole: “Overall, it was just an awesome campy scenery. The people are all welcoming and in one night it felt like home to me.”
The senior duo helped lead the Knights defense by swatting passes and forcing fumbles. Both combined for 10 pass deflections for the 9-3 Knights in 2015-16.
They’re now the fourth Bullard players to make a verbal pledge to a four-year university this season. Running back Charles Williams (UNLV) and center Connor Vikupitz (Air Force) are also heading to the collegiate level. Cole spoke highly of the Knights’ 2016 class.
“Without a doubt our senior class was really special with our leadership and we are all like brothers,” Cole said.
The recruiting process was a long and grueling one for the Knight players, with an offer finally coming to them at the 11th hour of the 2016 session. But now, Cole and Smith can breathe a sigh of relief and thank the people who stuck with them.
Cole: “To be committed is great. It's just so stressful going through it but to all the young players, don't get frustrated. It's all well worth it.
“I would like to thank God. He blessed me and also thank coach (Don) Arax and the entire staff, especially coach (Yosef) Fares who is like a father figure to me,” Cole continued. “Also, I would like to thank The Brandt family. Phillip Brandt Sr., who is like my second dad and has done a lot for me, always tells me to ‘Keep my head on straight.’ I thank Rachel Brandt, my second mother. She's just a great lady and can't forget Phil Brandt Jr., who is my trainer and trains a lot of athletes in Fresno.”
Smith: “I would like to thank everyone who supported me in the long run: God for the possibilities he's given me because if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be in this situation and my coaching staff at Bullard for pushing me every day in the weight room and on the field just to make me the athlete I am today.”
LEMOORE ATHLETE HEADING TO DIVISION II POWER
Azusa Pacific University may have been late to the party with offering Lemoore athlete Jerald Campbell, but the Cougars still won over the explosive Tiger, as the senior committed to APU on Saturday.
Campbell held a reported 12 scholarship offers – 11 of them coming from the DII, DIII and NAIA field.
“Some things that convinced me that APU was the right fit was that it's close to home, the great education and (playing for) an amazing football program,” Campbell said.
Campbell – who caught passes, returned kicks and covered wide receivers for the Central Section Division II title game runner-up – said the APU coaches were honest and approachable with him.
“The coaches were very straight forward with me; telling me about the school and the football program. They would contact me weekly by checking up on me and seeing how they could get me to commit to APU,” Campbell said. “They plan on playing me on the defensive side of the ball and on special teams. It's an amazing feeling being able to commit to such an amazing school. I'm blessed with the opportunity to continue playing the game I love.”