Two Nipomo High football players have verbally committed to play college football at the Division I level, Titans head coach Russ Edwards said Thursday.
Akeem King, a receiver, has committed to San Jose State, while teammate Duane Hanna, a linebacker, is headed for Sacramento State. Both accepted full-ride scholarship offers soon after visiting the schools this past weekend.
“It speaks volumes about how hard these boys have worked all year,” Edwards said. “As a football staff, as a school and as a community, we’re all really excited.”
King will be the first product in the seven-year varsity history of the school to play at a Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) program.
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The 6-foot-3, 190-pound King, a track star who has 4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash, will likely project as a receiver at the next level, Edwards said.
This past season, as Nipomo went 8-4, advancing to the CIF-Southern Section Northwest Division quarterfinals for the first time in school history, King made 30 tackles and intercepted two passes as a defensive back. He also served as a deep-threat receiver, catching seven passes for 203 yards and four touchdowns.
The 6-1, 190-pound Hanna, meanwhile, had 134 tackles en route to earning the Los Padres League Defensive Back of the Year award and all-divisional honors.
Sacramento State, which plays in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA), will likely look to play Hanna at outside linebacker.
“I knew it was the place for me,” Hanna said of his visit. “I love the campus up there, and it made me feel at home.“They said I have a good chance of starting if I come in and work hard,” Hanna added. “I was overwhelmed. It came at me so fast. My parents are super proud of me. I’m just happy knowing already that I’m going there and I’ve got it squared away.”
A handful of other Titans are also likely to continue their careers in college. Receiver Kevin Britt has been offered a scholarship to play at Cal Poly, although a number of other schools, including Fresno State and San Diego State, have also shown interest in him of late.
Running back Eric Penningroth, meanwhile, is receiving interest from San Diego and Cornell, among others. Quarterback Josh Correia will continue his career at Monterey Peninsula College.
The NCAA’s National Letter of Intent Signing Day is Feb. 3.