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Southern California well represented on early national signing day

Servite quarterback Noah Fifita passes against Mater Dei in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship game.
Servite quarterback Noah Fifita passes against Mater Dei in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship game on Nov. 26. Fifita was among the Southern California players who committed to Arizona on Wednesday.
(Kyusung Gong / For The Times)

The Southland is sending top high school football prospects to programs across the country as another busy national signing day passed Wednesday, with dozens of local players signing national letters of intent.

While USC secured the top local signee in Mater Dei running back Raleek Brown, Arizona brought in one of the largest Southland hauls by signing 10 local prospects. Servite quarterback Noah Fifita headlined the group after committing to the Wildcats in April and worked his recruiting skills by luring teammates Jacob Manu, a linebacker, and tight end Keyan Burnett to Tucson.

There could be a fourth Servite player heading to the desert as receiver Tetairoa McMillan didn’t sign Wednesday amid doubts concerning his Oregon commitment. The Ducks replaced former head coach Mario Cristobal with former Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning on Dec. 11, giving the 35-year-old first-time head coach only four days to build his recruiting class for the early signing period. McMillan, the No. 4 prospect in California according to 247Sports.com’s composite rankings, is deciding between Oregon and Arizona, and could sign as late at Friday during this period.

New USC coach Lincoln Riley is expected to use the early and regular signing periods to put together a strong class. Follow along for updates.

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In addition to its Servite contingent, Arizona signed teammates from Colony High (wide receiver AJ Jones and defensive lineman Isaiah Ward) and Bishop Alemany (wide receiver Kevin Green Jr. and defensive back Ephesians Prysock). Mater Dei’s Ta’i Ta’i Uiagalelei, Sterling Lane II of Oaks Christian and Milikan’s Tacario Davis also signed with Arizona.

Prysock announced his selection at a signing-day ceremony alongside teammates Niuafe Tuihalamaka and Damonic Williams. Tuihalamaka, a linebacker, is bound for Notre Dame, which also signed Corona Centennial defensive back Jaden Mickey. Williams completed a late flip to Texas Christian after he decommitted from California on Tuesday.

The Bears’ lone L.A. signee came from St. John Bosco, where defensive lineman Nate Burrell made his verbal commitment official Wednesday. Mater Dei defensive back Cameron Sidney is also committed to the Bears but did not sign yet.

Mater Dei, which won the state Open Division title last weekend, celebrated signing day for prospects like linebacker David Bailey, who signed with Stanford, receiver Cooper Barkate (Harvard) and Eoghan Kerry (Colorado). Bailey will be joined in Palo Alto by Sierra Canyon offensive lineman Kenji Swanson, who signed with the Cardinal.

Inglewood High was one of the most prolific local schools, with eight players signing Football Bowl Subdivision scholarship letters of intent. Three Sentinels will take their talents to Westwood as quarterback Justyn Martin, running back Tomarion Harden and defensive back Clint Stephens signed with UCLA. Linebacker Taariq Al-Uqdah and running back Damon Williams signed with Washington State and San Jose State, respectively.

Narbonne linebacker Taariq Al-Uqdah takes part in USC's Elite Camp in June 2019.
Narbonne linebacker Taariq Al-Uqdah takes part in USC’s Elite Camp in June 2019. Al-Uqdah signed with Washington State on Wednesday.
(Shotgun Spratling / For The Times)

Along with Leuzinger offensive lineman Aubrey Scott, Inglewood receivers Justus Ross-Simmons and Louis Brown and defensive lineman Marshon Oxley signed with Colorado State, where Jay Norvell’s recent hire revamped the recruiting picture. The former Nevada coach flipped Ross-Simmons’ commitment from the Wolf Pack and pulled Oxley away from a San Diego State pledge. Pasadena receiver Mekhi Fox also signed with Colorado State after previously committing to UCLA.

Despite Fox’s late flip, the Bruins still signed eight local prospects in their 11-player signing class. Sierra Canyon defensive back Kamari Ramsey turned his Stanford decommitment into a national letter of intent for the Bruins to join prospects like offensive lineman Sam Yoon from Loyola High, Vista Murrieta tight end Jack Pedersen and San Juan Hills receiver Braden Pegan.

Linebacker Jalen Woods also signed with UCLA during a busy day at St. John Bosco, where teammates signed with programs from Hawaii (defensive lineman Malachi Finau) to Boston College (safety Sione Hala). St. John Bosco quarterback Katin Houser is heading to Michigan State, while offensive linemen Tyson Molio’o and Maicah Talavou signed with Boise State and Army, respectively.

Talavou will be joined at West Point by Long Beach Poly linebacker Donovan Poe and Servite’s Zion Sims.

Quarterback Kedon Slovis became the latest USC player to enter the NCAA transfer portal after the hiring of Lincoln Riley as the Trojans’ new coach.

Servite defensive lineman Mason Graham signed with Michigan to make a California-to-Big Ten jump. Joining him in the conference will be Glendora linebacker Braydon Brus, who signed with Northwestern.

Nine Pac-12 teams signed local prospects, including Utah and Oregon State. Mission Viejo defensive lineman Keanu Tanuvasa and Murrieta Valley quarterback Brandon Rose signed with the Utes. The Beavers secured NLIs from Charter Oak defensive back Sam Mason Jr., Oaks Christian linebacker Mathias Malaki-Donaldson and Simi Valley quarterback Travis Throckmorton.

In addition to Inglewood’s Williams, San Jose State signed Banning running back Jakob Galloway, San Pedro receiver Kejuan Bullard Jr., Valencia quarterback Tyler Voss and Murrieta Valley offensive lineman Jake Steele.


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