Above from left to right: A.J Powell (Portland State), Adam Muema (San Diego
State), Keith Smith (San Jose State) and Brandon Golden (Washington State)
By Fred J. Robledo Staff Writer
COVINA — After the autographs made it official on national letter of intent signing day Wednesday, the Charter Oak high school foursome of Keith Smith, A.J. Powell, Adam Muema and Brandon Golden talked glowingly about the anticipation of playing big-time college football. Smith, a 6-foot-2, 225 linebacker and cornerstone of a defense that helped the Chargers win their second consecutive CIF-SS Southeast Division title, is heading north to San Jose State. And guess what, San Jose State’s first game in late August is against defending BCS national champion Alabama in Tuscaloosa. (To continue, click thread).
“I really don’t want to red-shirt just to be in that atmosphere,” said Smith. “That was in my thought process all along, that we’ll be playing Alabama, that’s why you play division football, for the opportunity to be part of a game like that.
“Who knows though, if I don’t go, there will plenty of other big games down the line.”
Running back and Tribune player of the year Adam Muema, who set Charter Oak career records in rushing with 4,552 yards and 61 touchdowns, is headed to San Diego State, where he already has a 2012 game circled against San Jose State, where he will meet up with Smith.
“No mercy,” Muema joked. “We’re friends off the field but when we’re on the field it’s game time.”
Muema’s hoping to pick up where he left off in high school, knowing he’s following in the footsteps of the Aztecs’ famed alum, running back Marshall Faulk.
“I made my decision after the trip,” Muema said. “I had a good connection with the coaches and do look forward to chasing some of Marshall Faulk’s records.”
Powell, a corner/receiver, was arguably the Chargers’ best all-around athlete. He opted to sign with Portland State after flirting with Colorado partly because the Vikings want to use him at running back.
“That’s a new experience for me, and they have one of the best business programs in the country,” Powell said.
Although the recruiting process was long, Powell soaked in every minute of it.
“All four of us talk about it every day,” Powell said. “This was the biggest decision of our lives. As much as we love winning championships, this is better, because we get to do something with our lives.”
Defensive back Brandon Golden announced long ago that he would go to Washington State, but almost changed his mind at the last minute with Colorado pursuing him hard in the final weeks.
After making it official with Washington State on Wednesday, he too enjoyed the recruiting process, regardless of how stressful it was.
“It’s ironic because you hear a lot of people say they’re stressed out about being recruited,” Golden said. “But there are a lot of kids who would give anything to be in our position, so we’re extremely thankful. This doesn’t happen very often.”
In over 40 years at Charter Oak, football coach Lou Farrar said it was the first time the school had four signees on signing day.
Farrar’s parting words were don’t come back until you have a degree.
“The first thing you think of is how do you replace them, you’re not losing four players you’re losing eight starting spots, because they all played both ways.” Farrar said. “But all joking aside, this is what it’s about, that great feeling when you shake a proud parents hand. It’s going to make Saturday’s even better, this is why you spend all that money on satellite TV, to watch your kids at the next level.”
Bishop Amat celebrated its lone football signee on Wednesday with all-purpose standout and Pac-5 Division first-team honoree Darien Johnson signing with New Mexico State.
Johnson was a big part of the Lancers’ turnaround the past two years, helping them to a 17-6 overall record and Serra League co-title.
He returned three punts and kickoffs for touchdowns this past season.
“As a corner it’s a good opportunity to play in the Western Athletic Conference because of some of the high-powered offenses,” Johnson said. “I will probably be a return guy right away, and we will see how the rest goes.”
South Hills receiver Ify Umodu chose Northern Arizona University after weighing offers with San Jose State and Portland State.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder is the third of his siblings to earn a division one scholarship. His oldest brother Tobi is a fullback at UCLA and Kebin is at Air Force Academy.
Damien offensive lineman Josh Polonio singed to play with Villanova, which just won an NCAA Football Championship Sub-Division title.
Baldwin Park high’s Jerone Cox officially sent his letter of intent to Eastern Michigan after signing in front of family and friends at Baldwin Park on Tuesday.