Many central San Joaquin Valley football players put pen to paper and made it official on early signing day Wednesday.
That includes coveted Clovis West quarterback Adrian Martinez and Tulare Union running back Kazmeir Allen.
It was a long journey for the four-star recruit Martinez who initially verbally committed to Cal and then Tennessee before officially signing with Nebraska.
“I feel relief in that the process is over,” Martinez said. “I am thankful for this great opportunity and this moment signifies the start of the next chapter of my life.”
Martinez sat out his senior season because of a shoulder injury.
The 6-foot-2, 198-pound Martinez was ranked the ninth and 10th best dual-threat quarterback in the country by national recruiting services Rivals.com and Scout.com.
Martinez said he will begin classes in Lincoln on Jan. 8 but not before playing in the Under Armour All-America Game scheduled for Jan. 4 in Orlando, Fla.
Allen, the record-setter who surprised everyone with his oral commitment last month to UCLA (new coach Chip Kelly swayed him, Allen said), made it official in a Thursday morning signing ceremony at the school. He was joined by teammates Emoryie Edwards (Fresno State) and Brian Wendt (Air Force).
Sean Chambers is following another west-side quarterback to Wyoming. In the process, Chambers became the first player in Kerman High history to sign with a D-I program, athletic director Louie Vallejo said.
“This day means a lot to me,” Chambers said. “It’s a big deal for the community of Kerman. It serves as an inspiration to the young kids in the town of Kerman.”
It’s not a bad path to take, by the way – all that Firebaugh product Josh Allen has done in two seasons in Laramie after a stop at Reedley College is become a top-rated NFL prospect.
Long way to New Mexico
Former Edison High star A.J. Greeley signed with New Mexico. This past season, Greeley played for College of the Sequoias after one season at Fresno City College.
He initially signed with Fresno State for the 2015 recruiting class but academic issues persisted and delayed his entrance until January as he worked to improve test scores. Greeley couldn’t get the SAT/ACT results he needed and enrolled at Fresno City.
At COS, he continued his path to NCAA Division-I football and earned a degree to transfer to New Mexico in January.
“It’s more to me than just playing D-I,” Greeley said. “It’s the opportunity to get an education and a degree without having to pay. That’s a blessing in itself. I was highly motivated by my daughter and this opportunity will hopefully open up doors to provide for her. This is a blessing. I give all thanks to God.”
Other reactions on signing day
CB Steve Stephens, Edison, Oregon – “It means a lot truly a blessing to let my parents know they won’t have to pay for college and this is solidifying that. I’m most excited about the many opportunities on and off the field.”
RB Jevon Bigelow, Central, Wyoming – “It feels great knowing I get to continue my education and continue playing the sport I love at the next level. I’ve been dreaming of this moment ever since I started playing football and for it to finally come true makes me feel great. All the hard work I did is finally paying off.”
LB DJ Schramm, Clovis West, Boise State – “This day means a lot and I’m super fired up to start the next chapter of my life as a Boise State Bronco.”
CB Deshawn Ruffin, Sunnyside, Fresno State – “It means everything to me because I get the opportunity to represent the city of Fresno and my family and friends.”
Central San Joaquin Valley players moving on
Air Force: OT Brian Wendt, Tulare
Arizona: CB McKenzie Barnes, Edison
Boise State: LB DJ Schramm, Clovis West
Fresno State: OL Nick Abbs, Fresno City; WR Ricardo Arias, Clovis West; WR Emoryie Edwards, Tulare; LB Sherwin King Jr., Sunnyside; CB Deshawn Ruffin, Sunnyside; WR Rodney Wright III, Clovis West
Nebraska: QB Adrian Martinez, Clovis West
New Mexico: CB A.J. Greeley
Oregon: CB Steve Stephens, Edison
Sacramento State: CB Tykee Woods, Clovis West
Western Illinois: QB Trey McJunkin, Fresno City
Wyoming: QB Sean Chambers, Kerman; RB Jevon Bigelow, Central
UCLA: RB Kazmeir Allen, Tulare