Tribune Player of the Year and West Covina RB/S Chris Solomon received his first college offer this week from Colorado.
Solomon is being recruited as a safety and that’s where the Buffs want him. Solomon rushed for 1,790 yards last season and 20 touchdowns. On defense, he had 83 tackles, three caused fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
Aram’s take: There should be more to come, but not bad to have Colorado this early.
Jonathan Cornell never has doubted what path his football career would take after graduating from Bishop Amat High School in 2006. It’s basically been NFL or bust.
Fresh off four seasons in the SEC as a middle linebacker at Ole Miss, Cornell is ready to make his vision a realization in next month’s NFL draft.
“It would be a dream come true, but at the same time, without trying to sound cocky or arrogant, it’s something I’ve been working for since ninth grade,” said Cornell, who grew up in Azusa. “It’s just part of a grand strategy.”
According to current projections, it’s a 50-50 proposition as to whether Cornell will hear his name called during the draft. He’s on the tail end of some inside-linebacker projections and completely left out of others.
Cornell also is fighting the uphill battle of not having been invited to the NFL combine to audition for scouts in the various drills prospects are put through, but Cornell, who left Amat at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, is now 235 pounds of solid muscle with speed to burn.
He showed that Tuesday at Ole Miss’ pro workout day, when he ran a 4.8-second 40-yard dash, posted a 32-inch vertical leap and bench pressed 225 pounds 25 times, an amount typical of only bigger defensive tackles.
“I was shocked I didn’t get invited to the NFL combine,” Cornell said. “I felt I put together a decent-enough career to get invited, but that’s out of my control. There’s nothing I can do about it.
“I just have to make the best of the situation. Without a doubt, I’m on the same level as the guys who got invited.”
Cornell went into Tuesday’s workout calling it feast or famine for his draft chances, but had to bow out earlier than expected after suffering a hamstring injury. Nonetheless, he said scouts were impressed and informed him they’d be following up for private workouts between now and the draft.
Working out, though, is only part of the process for prospects such as Cornell.
His preparation started shortly after Ole Miss’ season ended Nov. 27. The first order of business was getting an agent.
After consulting with former Amat standout and current Lancers assistant coach Daylon McCutcheon, who had an eight-year career in the NFL, Cornell settled on Marty Magid of MRM Sports in Pennsylvania.
Magid is hesitant to say his client is being overlooked, and projects Cornell to go somewhere in the fifth to seventh round.
“The thing is, we won’t know if he’s being overlooked until draft day,” said Magid, who represents eight prospects this year. “He’s a whale of a linebacker. He has all of the characteristics of somebody who should have been invited to the combine. Sometimes you just get shortchanged, and the other factor is that some of the guys who go to the combine actually end up hurting themselves.
“I’m hoping (rounds) five through seven – that’s where I have him projected, based on people I’ve spoken to and who has needs for linebacker – but if he doesn’t get drafted, I’m sure he’ll be in camp.”
Cornell already has a degree in political science and is close to receiving another in English. His on-the- field accomplishments include being named second-team All-SEC at linebacker this past season.
For Cornell, the decision to leave Southern California after graduating from Amat has been what he calls the best move he’s ever made, though the social setting in the South took some getting used to. And Cornell, never shy in high school about expressing his opinion, was more than happy to tell the folks back home about his first school day at Ole Miss.
“I had taken my California learning and experience to Mississippi, and this is what really struck me my first day here,” Cornell said. “I was looking for a building and went up to a white girl and said, `Do you know where I can find the Hume building?’ And she looks at me, rolls her eyes, points and walks off.
“It was because I’m black. At the time, I didn’t know it; I just thought she was being rude. If you’re going to talk to a white girl here, you’re either going to keep it on the down low, or she’s going to have a very different set of friends. That’s the social dynamic here. I’m not saying everybody is like that here, but for the most part.”
And Cornell’s first-day experience soon got even better.
“Then after that class, I go to another class and I ask this black girl where the next building is and she says, `Why don’t you go ask your white girlfriend? I saw you talking to her.’ ” Cornell said. “It really struck me.
“I was like, `You really feel like that?’
“I really can’t understand anything of that nature. But you know what? As much as people want to say about the South and its ways, you still have racism everywhere you go, and I hate it when people act like racism is specific to the South.”
Although far from home, Cornell’s heart still was with his former team, and he’s been keeping an eye on Amat’s football resurgence all the way from Oxford.
“I keep up with Bishop Amat. What else is there in the SGV to keep up with?” Cornell said with a laugh. “Every Saturday morning I would wake up and go to the Tribune website and check out the score. I would be like, `We’re 9-0? We’re 9-0? We rule the Valley.’
“We underachieved my senior year, but now, I couldn’t be any more proud, any more excited, and I’m talking trash to everybody back home. Every guy I’ve ever met from Long Beach Poly or City Section guys – I know a lot of City Section guys.
“Everybody I know from California who plays football, I tell them they can’t hang with Bishop Amat. I’m talking trash for Bishop Amat from the South to the North to the East to the West. Everywhere.”
These days, though, Cornell doesn’t have much time to do anything but follow a strict workout regimen that starts in the morning and ends in the evening, with only a couple of hours of rest in between.
Whether the hard work pays off April 28-30 remains to be seen, but Cornell is confident a prosperous pro career awaits.
Arroyo’s leading rusher and receiver are gone, so who will help QB Steven Rivera?
“We have a quarterback who’s been in the program as long as some of my coaches,” Singiser said. “It’s just a matter of getting his receivers up to his level and the level of some of the other returning guys.” READ MORE.
Wilson is expected to name Bob Burt, who according to a Riverside Press-Enterprise article last December is 69-years old and coached at Notre Dame of Riverside last season, its next head coach, sources said Tuesday.
I have two phone calls in to HLPUSD Asst. Superintendent Rob Roberts to confirm this and have not heard back (usually means there’s something to it).
Anyway, Burt would replace Brian Zavala, who resigned this offseason after just two seasons at the school.
There’s a possibility that former Wilson coach Dave Merrill, who is currently retired, is interested in joining Burt’s staff one source said. Burt is also retired and would be a walk-on coach, according to one source.
Aram’s take: Burt is reportedly well respected and a good coach, from what I hear. But what the heck is Wilson doing A. hiring a walk-on and B. hiring somebody who probably won’t be in for the long haul? I’m really starting to wonder about this entire district. Hiring/firing/resigning and two formerly good programs now floundering. I know for a fact that several well-qualified young coaches applied for the gig and many of them NEVER GOT A CALL.
The vacant Wilson High School head varsity football coach job is down to two final candidates.
All I know is that one of the candidates isn’t from this area and the other one may or may not be.
How’s that for reporting?
Believe me, I’m digging as best I can, but it ain’t easy with Robledo on a yacht somewhere and me having to help Steve Ramirez steer the ship thru the state playoffs in soccer and hoops.
Anyway, one source I spoke to said something about one of the candidates being from Ayala, but it’s not head coach Tom Inglima. I’ve also heard that the school is running a credential check on one of the candidates and that a hire could be made very shortly. However, I’ve also heard there’s some issue with the teaching position.
If any of you with intimate knowledge of the situation want to take a stab, please be my guest.
Monrovia High School defensive line standout Ellis McCarthy, who figures to be the most coveted college recruit in the Valley next season, has been chosen to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl next season.
The game will be played in early January of 2012 and feature top high school seniors from around the country.
Aram’s take: Just another in a long line of accolades heading McCarthy’s way over the next year.
Dale Ziola, an assistant at Los Altos High School last season and previously at Montebello, is the Conquerors’ new football coach.
He succeeds Jim Arellanes, who last month was let go after one season at the Hacienda Heights school.
Ziola, the fourth coach at Los Altos since Conqueror legend Dwayne DeSpain retired following the 1996 season, is a former player at Whittier College.
His coaching tenure began at Montebello, where he was an assistant from 2004-09 before moving over to Los Altos last season, where he coached running backs.
Ziola was also a finalist when Arellanes, who came over from Northview, was hired prior to last season.
The Conquerors’ program has been on a downward spiral the past few years, winning just four games since 2007.
Former area player of the year Felipe Aguilar, who followed Greg Gano prior to the 2008 season, went 1-9 and 3-7 before resigning. Arellanes followed, and went 0-10 this past fall.
Aram’s take: This one caught me surprise, as Los Altos obviously moved very quickly to replace Arellanes. Did LA fly the position? Did it conduct interviews? How did LA make a hire so quickly while Wilson is still deep in the process of finding its new coach, which is a vacancy that came about earlier than Los Altos’ did. Anyway, don’t know much about Coach Ziola. I will find out more …