By Tony Gonsalez
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010 at 10:37 pm in Uncategorized.
The tradition of the Hayward Area Athletic League continued on Wednesday as two HAAL players on the grid-iron signed national letters-of-intent on national signing-period day.
Mario Brown of Bishop O’Dowd, signed a letter-of-intent to Eastern Washington University. Brown, who finished No. 2 as the school’s all-time rushing leader, opted for Eastern Washington over Portland State. Brown had originally given a verbal commitment to Arizona, but opened the recruiting process again.
“I really felt like home when I took my trip out there,” Brown said. “Everybody from the school to the coaching staff was really nice out there and the academic part of the school is something I am very excited in starting.”
Despite being relatively unknown by most people in the bay area, the Eagles have been rather successful with recruiting local players.
Receiver Andre Williams of El Cerrito will join Brown to Eastern Washington next season. The Eagles were led by running back Taiwan Jones, a Deer Valley-product that led the Eagles with 1,213 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground.
San Lorenzo’s William Fukofuka will also continue his football career at the next level, signing a letter-of-intent to Sacramento State. Fukofuka, who chose to be a Hornet over Montana State, was won over by the locality of the school as well as the ethnic diversity the school offers.
“The school has an outstanding Polynesian community there,” Fukofuka said. “It really felt like home there and family is very big for me.”
Fukofuka didn’t start playing football until he arrived at San Lorenzo High his freshman year, but left a huge impression on the Rebels program.
“He has to be one of the top linemen to ever come out of the San Lorenzo football program,” San Lorenzo coach Jacob Wright said.
Fukofuka was a first-team all-league as an offensive and defensive lineman in the Hayward Area Athletic League. He was also named the HAAL Defensive Lineman of the Year and was named to the second-team All-Bay Area News Group team.
Like what Fukofuka has done to the San Lorenzo program, the same can be said for Brown.
“I was pushed and kept working hard,” Brown said. “Coach (Paul) Perenon stayed on me throughout my career and he’s the reason I’m the player and student I am today.”
The HAAL had four student-athletes from other sports commit to four-year schools as well.
Castro Valley’s Morgan and Micaela Castain, one of the top girl’s soccer tandems to ever come out of the HAAL, both signed on at Washington State. San Lorenzo softball pitcher Renelle Traylor signed a letter-of-intent to Bowie State in Maryland. Bishop O’Dowd soccer player DeVante DuBose will attend Virginia Tech on a scholarship.
“It came down to Virginia Tech and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo,” DuBose said. “When I took my recruiting trip to Virginia Tech, I knew this is where I wanted to go to.”
Before heading off to the east coast, DuBose will travel to Germany to train there for a month.