By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
The desire to play quarterback at the next level may be what will send Arroyo High School’s Steven Rivera to Whittier College when he announces his college destination sometime soon.
Rivera, the Tribune’s Player of the Year this past season after shining at both quarterback and safety, is leaning toward Whittier College but he also has interest from Azusa Pacific University, Cal Lutheran and Dakota-Wesleyan.
“He’s really impressed with the coaching staff and the facility upgrades that they have going on,” Arroyo coach Jim Singiser said of Rivera’s thoughts on Whittier College. “It’s a local school and family is really important to him and they’ll be able to watch him play.
“It’s a good academic school and he’s an academic kid.”
What really might put Rivera over the top is Whittier wants him to play quarterback whereas APU wants him as a defensive back.
Rivera threw for 3,408 yards and 38 touchdowns at Arroyo and leaves high school as the Valley’s all-time leading passer in yards and touchdowns. He also ranks in the top 10 in the CIF-Southern Section in career passing yards and touchdowns.
But some recruiters like Rivera even better on defense after watching him record 131 tackles, intercept four passes, force seven fumbles and have five fumble recoveries as a safety.
“If the schools are similar and their financial commitments are similar, then he would rather play quarterback if he has a choice,” Singiser said.
“But if that’s taken out of the equation and he’s only got interest from one school and they want him to be a defensive back, then he’s more than willing to go play defensive back. All things being equal, he’d rather be a quarterback. But he’s got no problem playing on the other side of the ball if that will help him get into college and get it paid for.”
Rivera will attend APU’s recruiting day in February. APU is interested in Rivera only as a defensive back. He also will visit Cal Lutheran after already touring Whittier College.
Should Rivera wind up at APU, he could be teammates with a familiar face in Charter Oak quarterback Travis Santiago. The Tribune’s Offensive Player of the Year this past season still is undecided about where he’ll play next season, according to Charter Oak coach Lou Farrar.
“APU has laid out the red carpet for him,” Farrar said. “I told Travis one of the big things he doesn’t realize is that if you’re living in Oklahoma or Nebraska and somebody said how about Southern California and playing at APU where the beach is 30 minutes away and downtown L.A. is 30 minutes, you’d jump at that.”
Santiago, a pitcher with electric stuff when his arm is feeling good, also could play baseball at APU.
Santiago isn’t the only Charger getting looks. Receiver Chris Gilchrist took a trip to Nevada this past weekend and has an offer from the Wolfpack as well as Sacramento State. Lineman Luis Oliva is deciding between Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and University of Redlands. Defensive back Herman Akins has interest from Southern Illinois.
Solomon looking Buff
West Covina running back/safety Chris Solomon likely is headed to Colorado, according to Bulldogs coach Mike Maggiore. Solomon, the Tribune’s Player of the Year in 2010, has offers from Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico St. and likely will decide as signing day nears next week.
Fellow Bulldogs Justen Meaders, Dorrin Turner and Jimmy Frazier do not have any official offers yet, but Maggiore calls their situations “a day-to-day thing.”
Solomon already has had an official visit to Colorado and is being recruited to play safety for the Buffaloes.
Colts job drawing interest
Covina athletics director Darryl Thomas said Monday the school has received about 12-15 applications for its open varsity football head coaching job. Thomas, who was the previous head coach before resigning earlier this month after 15 seasons, declined to comment on speculation that some big names from the local area have applied.
Covina will stop accepting applications on Friday and will start the interview process the first week of February, according to Thomas.
Thomas, meanwhile, continues to oversee the Colts’ offseason weightlifting program.