The start of the second semester brings, for some, brings with it a new beginning and new school. Such is the case for standout receiver Dylan Crawford, who left St. Francis for Santa Margarita this week, and running back Kameron Johnson, who left Monrovia for Cathedral.
Crawford, a junior, is one of the nation’s top recruits and has college offers from UCLA, USC, Michigan, Notre Dame and Oklahoma, to name a few. He He had 44 receptions for 1,006 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2014.
Crawford’s father said Thursday the decision to leave St. Francis was based on his son’s academics. St. Francis head coach Jim Bonds declined comment.
“Our family has nothing but great feelings for St. Francis and wish them the best in all things,” Crawford’s father Glenn said. “The decision was made to accommodate academic options that would allow Dylan to graduate high school a semester early and allow him to start his life as a collegiate scholar-athlete.”
Aram’s take: Uh … what? This one is a shocker. Some things to keep in mind here: Crawford is close friends with Santa Margarita QB KJ Costello, a top recruit in his own right. But Crawford, unless there’s some sort of craftiness, is risking being a sit-out as far as CIF transfer rules go. Word is that Crawford wanted to graduate early so he could begin practicing with whatever college team he chooses this spring. St. Francis supposedly doesn’t offer its students that luxury. As for St. Francis, this is definitely a big blow. Talents like Crawford don’t come around these parts often and the Knights could have used his services to have another big season. Leading rusher Areg Nazarian is back. Junior-to-be QB Miles Bryant has tons of upside and flashed what he could do in the playoff vs. La Serna. The stage was set for SF to have a monster offense again if Crawford returned.
Charter Oak all-purpose threat Zion Echols was named Offensive MVP of the U.S. Army All-American All-Combine Team this weekend in San Antonio, Texas. The event is designed to showcase next year’s top football recruits while this year’s get ready for Sunday’s nationally televised all-star game.
Echols, who already had plenty of recruiting interest, may see his stock really take off because of what he did at Friday’s combine. Bishop Amat’s Tyler Vaughns, a the Tribune’s Player of the Year, was chosen as honorable mention on the All-Combine offensive team.
Echols rushed for 1,141 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. He also had 553 yards and six touchdowns receiving. Echols was named co-MVP of the Hacienda League after helping the Chargers to the league title.
Two CIF champion coaches and one legend have been selected to coach the upcoming San Gabriel Valley All-Star Game on Jan. 30 at West Covina High School.
Colony’s Steve Randall, who guided the Titans to a 12-2 record and Central Division championship, will coach the East team. Crescenta Valley’s Paul Schilling, who led the Falcons to a 14-0 record and the Southeast Division championship, will join forces with four-time CIF champion coach Steve Bogan of Maranatha to coach the West.
The game, which has traditionally been played in early summer, was moved to winter by game organizer and West Covina coach Mike Maggiore in order to provide players with one last recruiting showcase before signing day and hopefully lure some of the area’s top talent.
The borders have also been changed and expanded. Instead of using the 605 Freeway as the dividing line to determine East and West rosters, Azusa Avenue will be the new divider. This means that area powers like Bishop Amat, Los Altos and Northview will be part of the West’s talent pool. The West’s boundaries expands to the Burbank area.
The East has also expanded out to the 15 Freeway and that will mean the inclusion of the entire Baseline League. The expanded borders have led to some impressive early returns in terms of nominations, according to Maggiore. Roster are expected to be finalized in early January and there will be four practices for each team.
“The nice thing is that this year everyone is nominating their best players,” Maggiore said. “We’ve had more nominations than we’ve ever had and more Division I kids than we’ve ever had, so I think it’s going to be a more high-level game than we’ve ever had.”
La Mirada WR/DB Tony Brown gave a verbal commitment on Thursday to play at Texas Tech next season.
Brown, who transferred to La Mirada from Servite for his senior season, had offers from Colorado, Nebraska and UCLA but chose the Red Raiders because he developed a close relationship with Red Raiders assistant coach Darrin Chiaverini, who played with La Mirada head coach Mike Moschetti at Colorado.
Brown caught 46 passes for 993 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.