Johnson Picks Florida State, Colbert Chooses USC

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Travis Johnson and Keary Colbert, two of the region's most highly recruited football players, announced their college choices Wednesday.

Johnson, a 6-foot-5, 270-pound defensive tackle at Notre Dame High, signed with Florida State on the first day of the signing period.

Colbert, a 6-2, 190-pound receiver at Hueneme, signed with USC.

Johnson, rated by Super Prep magazine as the nation's top recruit at defensive tackle, said it wasn't easy to choose the Seminoles over Michigan and UCLA.

"It was not fun," Johnson said.

"It got old after the first couple of weeks. By the end, I hadn't slept in 48 hours and hadn't eaten in a day-and-a-half."

Johnson was close to picking Michigan but began favoring Florida State as the week progressed.

"I thought it was for me," he said.

"At the beginning of the week, I thought I'd go to Michigan. It just felt uncomfortable."

Colbert gave one reason for choosing USC over Nebraska, Notre Dame, Colorado and almost every Pac-10 school.

"Family," Colbert said. "I could have been selfish and not considered what my family had to say about it, but they thought it was the best place for academics and everything. They understand how important that degree is."

Johnson, a Parade Magazine All-American, finished with 44 career sacks.

Colbert, slowed by a knee injury for part of the season, had 26 catches for 420 yards and four touchdowns for Hueneme.

Receiver-defensive back James McCowan of Oxnard signed with Utah and defensive back Josh Ford of St. Bonaventure signed

with UC Davis.

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Zac Wasserman's outstanding season has become more impressive.

Wasserman, who quarterbacked Westlake to its first Southern Section championship, was recently diagnosed with a broken right ankle, apparently suffered against Camarillo in the Warriors' second playoff game.

Wasserman, who signed with Penn State, thought the ankle was sprained and continued to play against the Scorpions and in the Warriors' next two playoff games.

His ankle continued to bother him after football season, but he played pick-up basketball and jogged. After consulting two doctors, the break was discovered and Wasserman's ankle was placed in a cast two weeks ago.

He is expected to have the cast removed in two weeks.

Wasserman, who threw three touchdown passes in the championship game against San Luis Obispo, said he'd play again with a broken ankle if it translated into a title.

"It was worth it," Wasserman said. "It was so worth it."

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St. Bonaventure, the Southern Section Division XI champion, has scheduled a nonleague game against Crespi, a Division III school, in the third week of the 2000 season.

Crespi was a young team that went 1-9 last season, but St. Bonaventure Coach Jon Mack said the game will be important for his team.

"It's a big step for us," Mack said.

"They've been one of the top programs around in the '70s, '80s and '90s."

Tyler Ebell rushed for 1,622 yards and 30 touchdowns last season as a junior at Ventura.

He'll also be playing full-time in the Cougars' secondary in the fall.

"You can't keep your best player on the bench," said Coach Phil McCune of Ventura. "He's got to be ready to play a lot of football."

Staff writer Eric Sondheimer contributed to this story.

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Signing On

College football commitments from region players

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Pos. Player School College QB Farhaad Azimi Moorpark JC Montana State QB Matt Cassel Chatsworth USC QB Brandon Hance Taft Purdue QB Zac Wasserman Westlake Penn State QB Chris Lombardo Newbury Park Oregon QB Casey Clausen Alemany Tennessee QB Scott Vossmeyer Crescenta Valley Oregon QB Jason Winn Granada Hills Texas Tech QB Rob Fockaert Paraclete Utah State TE Will Svitek Newbury Park Stanford TE Alex Holmes Harvard-Westlake USC TE Gregg Guenther Taft USC OL Adrian Ayala St. Bonaventure Arizona State OL Steve Nevarez San Fernando San Diego State OL Scott Arnold Canyon Boise State OL Keith Holt Westlake Idaho OL Ben Johnson Montclair Prep Air Force OL Tyrone Tutogi Hueneme CS Northridge OL Rusty Colburn Crescenta Valley Boise State OL John Turner Chaminade Dartmouth WR Keary Colbert Hueneme USC WR Calvin Bell Simi Valley Michigan WR Chris Catalano Westlake Wisconsin WR Michael Brignac Westlake Utah State WR Adam Gray-Hayward St. Bonaventure San Diego State RB Jerome Dennis Montclair Prep Utah State RB James Bethea Cleveland California RB Manuel White Valencia UCLA RB D.J. Blackledge Buena Army FB Patrick Norton Hart UCLA DE Julius Roberts Poly Boise State DL Tucker Bennett St. Bonaventure Navy DL Ryan Morris Crescenta Valley San Diego State DL Paul Soto Highland Oregon State LB Robert Watts Paraclete Utah State DB James McCowan Oxnard Utah DB Josh Golden Westlake CS Northridge DB Rodney Woods Littlerock Fresno State DB DeAndre Phillips Monroe Iowa State DB Josh Ford St. Bonaventure UC Davis LB Jordan Lampos Westlake Idaho LB Ben Lorier Westlake CS Northridge LB Ray Cassaday Valencia UCLA K John Wall Birmingham San Jose State P Matt Witcher Chaminade San Jose State

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