Los Alamitos junior quarterback Malachi Nelson commits to Oklahoma

Malachi Nelson honored his parents and finished his college recruiting process early with one anticipated announcement on Sunday, July 18.

Versatility and efficiency, after all, are among the many strengths for the Los Alamitos High junior quarterback.

Nelson committed to Oklahoma during a special announcement streamed by CBS Sports HQ and 247Sports. He shared the decision on the wedding anniversary of his parents Eric and Naomi.

“Just worked out perfect,” he said earlier of honoring his parents. “This is the big one.”

Nelson thanked his parents, coaches, teachers and teammates before committing to the Sooners and Coach Lincoln Riley. He displayed an Oklahoma hat and t-shirt.

“I very excited to announce my commitment to one school that I felt comfortable with the staff,” he said during the broadcast. “With that being said, I would like to announce my commitment to the University of Oklahoma.”

Big congrats to @MalachiNelson9 of @LosAlFootball for committing to #Oklahoma huge get for Sooners, might be the best Junior recruit in the country @ocvarsity @SteveFryer pic.twitter.com/yjBNuwBoeH

— Dan Albano (@ocvarsityguy) July 18, 2021

Nelson (6-3, 180) narrowed his choices to Alabama, Ohio State, LSU, USC, Notre Dame and Florida State but the Sooners were considered the favorite.

His last unofficial trip was to Norman.

“It was cool,” Nelson of the visit. “Loved everything about it.”

Nelson said he committed before his junior season so he could help recruit other players to join him at Oklahoma. His junior wide receiver, Makai Nelson, will certainly be one of his targets.

Highly-recruited athlete Treyaun Webb of Florida committed on Saturday. Mater Dei senior running back Raleek Brown and Luther Burden of Missouri, the No. 1 wide receiver prospect in the nation, are part of the Sooners’ class of 2022.

“I want to be early,” Nelson said of committing as a junior. “I’m excited to go.”

Nelson delivered a breakout sophomore season. He completed 74 percent of his passes for 1,513 yards and 23 touchdowns while leading the Griffins to a 6-0 record and the Sunset League title during the spring campaign shortened by the pandemic.

He was named California Gatorade Player of the Year and has continued to impress over the summer. He led the Griffins to the title at the South County passing tournament on July 10 at Mission Viejo.

Nelson has strong ties to Orange County sports. His cousin, Endigo Parker, played basketball at Troy and is headed to the University of Pacific. His cousin Orande Crenshaw is a former football standout at Costa Mesa.

Nelson ranks as the No. 2 quarterback nationally behind Arch Manning from Louisiana, according to 247Sports. Arch is the son of Cooper Manning, the brother of former NFL quarterbacks Peyton and Eli.

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Send OCVarsity your Signing Day news on Wednesday, April 14

OCVarsity will be covering the “Signing Day” news in Orange County on Wednesday, April 14, and we’re looking for help from schools, coaches and parents to make sure we don’t miss any of the athletes who sign.

Signing Day news and signing lists can be emailed to preps@ocregister.com, and photos can also be submitted to preps@ocregister.com.

Please include the athlete’s info (Name, High School, Sport, College) and put SIGNING DAY in the email header.

The deadline for submitting information is 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

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JSerra all-league linebacker Jaden Genova finds ideal fit at Army

Jaden Genova’s ideal college destination featured some hard-to-find qualities.

The JSerra High senior linebacker wanted to join a band of brothers, learn about exciting opportunities after college and serve his country.

Genova found his direction in Army, and signed a commitment letter with the U.S. Military Academy in New York on National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

“The brotherhood is amazing,” Genova said of Army, “and my opportunities after West Point are endless.”

The academy’s stated mission is to “educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country, and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the nation as an officer in the United States Army.”

Genova said his desire to serve factored into his decision.

“It’s something that not many get a chance to do,” he said. “I haven’t felt it that long but it’s a strong feeling.”

Football-wise, Genova (6-0, 200) said he will first attend the academy’s prep school before joining the Black Knights. He was a first-team All-Trinity League selection in 2019 as a junior.

Army is coming off a 9-3 season and includes a few intriguing county players to watch in the future.

Los Alamitos senior linebacker Tyler DeLeon (6-4, 235) committed in the fall and could team with Genova in the future. Last February, Cypress All-County running back Isaac Hurtado signed with the Black Knights.

Former Mater Dei offensive lineman Mason Kolinchak sparked the run of county players to West Point in 2018. He will be a senior next season.

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Football Signing Day plans or news? OCVarsity wants to hear about it

OCVarsity is getting ready to cover National Signing Day for high school football players next week — Wednesday, Feb. 3.

That will be the first day that current seniors can officially sign a National Letter of Intent with a college.

OCVarsity wants to hear from the Orange County schools about their plans for on-campus events. Let us know so that we can cover the event.

OCVarsity also wants to hear from coaches, athletes and parents about the O.C. athletes who will be signing that day.

Please send all Signing Day information to preps@ocregister.com.

We’ll have extensive coverage online of the O.C. news and events on Signing Day, so don’t miss any of it.

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Laguna Hills swimmer Tona Zinn commits to Northwestern

Laguna Hills High swimmer Tona Zinn, who became a CIF Southern Section individual champion as a freshman, committed to Northwestern on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

The junior from the SOCAL club announced his commitment on Instagram, thanking his friends, family and coaches for their support.

As a freshman in 2019, Zinn captured the 200-yard individual medley at the Division 1 final in 1 minute, 48.61 seconds. He also placed third in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 55.79.

Zinn went on to race at the CIF State meet in Clovis, finishing fifth in the 200 IM and ninth in the breaststroke.

Last spring, Orange County’s high school swimmers didn’t get much of a chance to make a splash as the pandemic ended their season in mid-March.

In a club meet in Arizona last month, Zinn clocked a swift 1:47.61 in the 200 IM. Corey Okubo holds the county record with a 1:45.42 for University in 2014.

Please send swimming news to Dan Albano at dalbano@scng.com or @ocvarsityguy on Twitter or Instagram

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Laguna Hills High, SOCAL swimmer Tona Zinn commits to Northwestern

Laguna Hills High swimmer Tona Zinn, who became a CIF Southern Section individual champion as a freshman, committed to Northwestern on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

The junior from the SOCAL club announced his commitment on Instagram, thanking his friends, family and coaches for their support.

As a freshman in 2019, Zinn captured the 200-yard individual medley at the Division 1 final in 1 minute, 48.61 seconds. He also placed third in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 55.79.

Zinn went on to race at the CIF State meet in Clovis, finishing fifth in the 200 IM and ninth in the breaststroke.

Last spring, Orange County’s high school swimmers didn’t get much of a chance to make a splash as the pandemic ended their season in mid-March.

In a club meet in Arizona last month, Zinn clocked a swift 1:47.61 in the 200 IM. Corey Okubo holds the county record with a 1:45.42 for University in 2014.

Please send swimming news to Dan Albano at dalbano@scng.com or @ocvarsityguy on Twitter or Instagram

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Oxford Academy’s Angie Choi commits to MIT for women’s basketball

High-scoring Oxford Academy point guard Angie Choi has committed to Division III MIT, the Patriots’ girls basketball program announced.

The 5-foot-3 Choi led Orange County in scoring last season by averaging 21.6 points. She shined for a team that finished 12-16 after graduating seven seniors from its CIF-SS Division 2-A runner-up squad in 2019.

Choi also averaged 4.1 assists and 3.7 steals last season. She scored a season-high 36 points in a 53-51 loss against Cerritos.

In three seasons at Oxford Academy, Choi ranks second in school history in scoring (1,323 points) and owns the school record for 3-pointers (128). She made 56 of her 168 attempts (33 percent) from beyond the arc last season.

MIT reached the Division III postseason in 2018 and 2019, losing in the first round each year. The Engineers also won their New England conference title in 2018 and 2019, and placed second last season.

Assistant Meghan O’Connell was named the team’s interim coach in September.

Please send girls basketball news to Dan Albano at dalbano@scng.com or @ocvarsityguy on Twitter and Instagram 

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SoCal club football league organized by Winner Circle Athletics aims to play in Arizona starting Dec. 28

A Southern California club football league at the center of discussion among high school coaches and administrators plans to begin later this month in Bullhead City, Ariz., organizer Jordan Campbell of Winner Circle Athletics in Corona said Saturday, Dec. 19.

Campbell, who owns the Winner Circle Athletics’ training and wellness center, said the league’s Elite 10 will play a showcase Dec. 28-29 and continue with games Jan. 8, Jan. 22 and Feb. 15. Most dates pair 10 teams in five games.

The league’s plans arrive as the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently released guidelines that will allow high school and youth sports to begin competition as early as Jan. 25, if they can meet certain health conditions.

The CDPH announced on Dec. 14 that football, for example, can be played in a county that has cleared regional, stay-at-home orders and has reached the orange tier (moderate risk) in the state’s COVID-19 monitoring system. Nearly all of the 58 counties in the state are in the purple tier (widespread risk) as cases have spiked in recent weeks.

The updated guidelines have cast doubt about whether the high school football season can be played, especially in hard-hit Southern California.

High school football is a fall sport that was scheduled to start Jan. 7 and could be played as late as April 17, CIF Southern Section commissioner Rob Wigod said.

The CIF State has canceled its regional and state playoffs to allow as much time as possible to schedule games. The Southern Section has indicated it could make a similar move.

State executive director Ron Nocetti also has said that the federation will advocate for football and others sports in the orange and yellow tiers to placed in tiers that will allow competition sooner.

Moving football to the spring season, officials say, isn’t a viable option because of safety reasons related to the proximity to the fall of ’21 season.

Youth sports teams from Southern California began traveling to Arizona and other places to compete after California prohibited competition on Aug. 3. High school and youth sports were limited to physical conditioning and skill development in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

The rise of club football has been a new trend for high schools, raising questions about rules and participation. Because of the pandemic, CIF State adjusted its rules for this school year to allow athletes to compete in club sports at the same time as high school athletics.

Mater Dei High football coach Bruce Rollinson recently said that he will encourage his players to hold off playing club and to wait for the high school season.

“What I tell them is ‘Hold tight fellas. Lets stay together because I truly believe there is going to be a season,’ ” Rollinson said. “Our preference is to play CIF football. … If a parent wants to meet with me (about club), and decide, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Ultimately, the parent is the provider. The parent ultimately makes the decision.”

Rollinson said the subject of forming a Mater Dei club team if the high school season were canceled has come up but those discussions have been preliminary.

“I’d look into it in a heartbeat if it got my team on the field but I think there will be other solutions to get us on the field of play,” he said. “I just say my prayers every night that they get to play together and we have a season.”

Campbell, who played at Norco High before moving on to USC and the NFL, has advice for players whose high school coaches ask them not to play the club league. “Listen to your high school coach and keep your high school program first,” he said.

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Fairmont Prep girls basketball players Kayla Ishibashi, AnLing Su Vera commit to colleges

Fairmont Prep senior guards Kayla Ishibashi and AnLing Su Vera have committed to strong, Division III college programs, Huskies girls basketball coach Sara Brown said.

Ishibashi, a 5-foot-6 shooting guard, has pledged to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps while Su Vera, a 5-foot-3 point guard, has selected Division III powerhouse Amherst College in Massachusetts.

Amherst College reached the Division III Sweet 16 in March but the tournament was canceled because of the pandemic. The Mammoths also reached the Sweet 16 the previous season and captured back-to-back national titles in 2017-18 with 33-0 records.

Ishibashi joins former Oxford Academy standout forward Austyn Masuno at Division III Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, a regular contender in the SCIAC now led by second-year coach Chanel Murchison.

Su Vera and Ishibashi helped Fairmont Prep finish as the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA runner-up to league rival Orangewood Academy last season and reach the first round of the CIF State Division 1 SoCal regionals.

Please send girls basketball news to Dan Albano at dalbano@scng.com or @ocvarsityguy on Twitter and Instagram

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Mater Dei offensive lineman Ross Maseuli commits to San Diego State

San Diego State’s recruiting class for 2021 has added another Trinity League football standout.

Mater Dei High offensive lineman Ross Maseuli committed on Wednesday, Dec. 2 to the Aztecs, giving the Mountain West Conference program three recruits with Trinity League ties.

All Glory 2 God!!! Please respect my decision🙏🏽🙏🏽🔴⚪⚫pic.twitter.com/zI9ZaBp59B

— Ross Maseuli (@RossMaseuli) December 2, 2020

Maseuli joins a recruiting class that includes Servite defensive back Noah Avinger and former JSerra safety New Zealand Williams, now at St. Bernard in Playa Del Rey.

San Diego State has 20 commits from the class of 2021 and ranks second in the Mountain West Conference to Boise State, according to 247sports.

Maseuli (6-3, 350) spent last season at JSerra but didn’t play because his transfer from Cathedral Catholic in San Diego wasn’t cleared by the Southern Section.

He also was offered by Alabama, Arizona and Fresno State among others.

The early signing period for football is Dec. 16.

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