“One and done” doesn’t quite have the same connotation in the case of Rancho Cucamonga High School football as it does college basketball. But the Cougars are incorporating a senior transfer quarterback for the second straight season courtesy of Gage Pucci’s transfer from Damien.
Adam Friederichsen, a transfer from Carlsbad La Costa Canyon prior to last season, completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,849 yards with 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions before walking on at Arizona following his lone season at Rancho Cucamonga. Pucci’s numbers in two seasons as a starter at Damien don’t measure up, but the 5-foot-11, 195-pound rising senior will be surrounded by much more talent at Rancho Cucamonga, one of the best two or three programs in the Inland Valley.
As a junior at Damien, Pucci completed 47 percent of his passes for 1,498 yards with 15 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
“He’s learning the offense, picking it up pretty well,” Rancho Cucamonga coach Nick Baiz said. “He’s a leader. He’s a tough kid. I think our biggest issue will be if we can put together an offensive line that will keep him upright.”
Summit starting quarterback Jakob Jordan transferred to Eastvale Roosevelt in December, but it didn’t take the SkyHawks long to fill the void. The two-time defending Sunkist League champions will replace Jordan with Etiwanda transfer Keshon Flemmings.
Flemmings, who will be a junior in the fall, quarterbacked the Etiwanda junior varsity last season. He has turned in a great summer in passing league, according to Summit head coach Cesar Villalobos. Flemmings will certainly have plenty of talent at receiver this coming season in Washington commit Erik Brown and Jordan Washington, who has scholarship offers from Idaho and New Mexico State.
Ryan McMahon, a safety who walked on at USC following his football career at Damien and played his final two years of college football at Sacramento State, was signed by the Green Bay Packers on Thursday.
McMahon had multiple scholarship offers when he graduated Damien, but I remember the conviction in his voice five years ago when he explained to me his belief that he could play at a higher level. Apparently that attitude has carried him a long way.
He must have made an impression at the Packers’ rookie orientation camp in May, where he earned an invite to training camp. Of course, he still has a long way to go to make the 53-man roster, but I’m sure there are plenty of people who didn’t envision McMahon ever signing an NFL contract. At the very least, his look in this Sacramento State bio picture looks like something that would fit in Green Bay.
The Upland High School football program has attracted its share of transfers over the years, but it may reach new heights this season.
If all players who have transferred from other schools since last season are approved by the CIF-SS, the Highlanders could feature at least eight new faces in the fall.
That figure doesn’t include incoming freshman receiver Nathan Tilford, who received scholarship offers from USC and Arizona State while he was still in eighth grade.
“We work really hard at what we do and if people move in for whatever reason and we’re the benefactor, then I’m happy for that,” said Upland head coach Tim Salter, who is entering his 19th year. “We’re not out there recruiting kids, but I think we have one of the best programs around.”
San Dimas running back Jake Payton will be forced to sit out his senior season after a ruling today that his transfer to Upland was athletically motivated. The CIF-SS denied Payton’s transfer due to a violation of rule 510, according to its website.
This is the second high profile football transfer in the Inland Valley to receive this ruling in the offseason. Payton can only hope to have more success in the appeals process than Diamond Bar transfer Antonio Hull. Originally, San Dimas planned not to challenge Payton’s transfer to Upland, but changed its tune this week.
“We had a change of heart, it’s a group decision,” Zernickow told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune on Monday. “My opinion is that you can’t say nothing if something happened.”
Despite CIF recently easing restrictions on transfer rules, football player Antonio Hull was dealt an old school punishment today. The rising junior, whose transfer from West Covina to Diamond Bar in February was ruled athletically motivated by the CIF-Southern Section, lost his second appeal today, according to Diamond Bar football coach Ryan Maine.
Hull will not be permitted to join the team until Nov. 16, eight days after the end of the 2013 regular season. He can play on the junior varsity in the interim, but only if Diamond Bar reaches the playoffs and wins its first-round game will Hull be able to suit up this season for the varsity.
One of the rising stars last season on a West Covina team coming off consecutive CIF-SS championships, Hull split time between quarterback and running back. He would have joined a Diamond Bar offense that returns a trio of juniors including a 2,000-yard passer and two receivers, each with multiple Pac-12 scholarship offers.
“I want to be known as Cordell Broadus first. I want to be known as Snoop’s son second. I want to make a name for myself.”
Those were the first words out of Broadus’ mouth last summer before his sophomore season at Diamond Bar. As evidenced by his 10 scholarship offers, the son of rapper Snoop Lion is well on his way to accomplishing his goal.
Broadus and cousin Kanya Bell, Diamond Bar receivers who are transplants from Long Beach Poly, are ranked among the top 16 recruits in California in the class of 2014, according to espn.com.
The 6-foot-2 Broadus, a four-star prospect whose first offer came last summer from UCLA, now has a list that reads more like a coaches’ poll. Nebraska, LSU, Tennessee and Duke join five others from the Pac-12: USC, Oregon State, Washington, Arizona State and Cal.
The rising junior certainly passes the eye test – he looks like a tank in his football pads – and for a big receiver has very good speed.
It wouldn’t be fair to say Ryan Clady is Eisenhower High School’s finest football product considering Ronnie Lott, for whom the school’s football field is named, was a member of the class of 1977. The Denver Broncos left tackle, however, has established himself as one of the best in football at his position. Now he’s getting paid like it.
Clady signed a five-year $52.5 million extension today that includes $33 million guaranteed in the first three years. The guaranteed money in that time frame easily bests the contracts of the St. Louis Rams’ Jake Long ($12 million) and Houston Texans’ Duane Brown ($22 million). Only Joe Thomas received more with $40 million in his first three years with the Cleveland Browns.
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune’s Aram Tolegian is reporting that San Dimas will challenge the transfer of star running back Jake Payton to Upland on the grounds of athletic motivation. San Dimas originally said it wouldn’t challenge the transfer of the running back who had 1,658 yards and 22 touchdowns last season.
“We had a change of heart, it’s a group decision,” San Dimas football coach Bill Zernickow told the Tribune. “My opinion is that you can’t say nothing if something happened.”
It’s often a pat answer for why recruits decide on a college, but Jordan Austin’s grade-point average gives his reasoning some serious credibility.
Academics were indeed the Claremont High School offensive tackle’s deciding factor in committing to USC June 26. His 4.4 GPA and ambitious plans for higher education, not to mention the scholarship offer he received from Harvard, certainly speak to his priorities.
“I want to get a Masters degree and when you get one of those from USC, NFL or no NFL, you’re set for life,” Austin said. “But if you’re a starting offensive lineman at USC, you’re practically guaranteed a shot at the NFL.”