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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Cottonwood High comes up big for out-of-state recruiters

There were no secret pacts among the five Cottonwood High School players who signed with major out-of-state schools on Wednesday morning.

For the quintet of Colts, four of whom are going to Pac-10 schools, this was just the hand they were dealt.

"These were the schools who recruited them," said Steve Martinez, the father of John Martinez, who signed with USC. "We really weren't recruited that heavily by the in-state schools."

The group of Martinez, Isi Sofele (California), Keni Kaufusi (California), Alo Moli, (Wyoming) and Asi Hosea (Washington State) represent a strong class of players with enough options beyond state borders to play at major schools not named BYU or Utah.

One of them, Sofele, is the

Class 4A MVP, and another, Martinez, is rated among the top offensive linemen in the country.

"For me, I always wanted to play college football in California," Sofele said. "I wanted to play at USC or UCLA, but they didn't come after me hard. Cal wanted me. That's the biggest reason I went there. I didn't get recruited by BYU either. That was another big reason. And I didn't feel Utah recruited me that hard."

The state's top uncommitted player heading into signing day, Timpview's Xavier Su'a-Filo, signed with UCLA, turning down the likes of Utah and USC. He's listed as the No. 3 offensive tackle in the country, according to Scout.com.

Su'a-Filo will join the Cottonwood five, Judge defensive lineman Will Katoa (Eastern Washington) and Snow College's Jon Eastman (Colorado State) in leaving the Beehive State to play for out-of-state schools.

That five of those players come from one school is remarkable, and it serves as a springboard for coach Cecil Thomas' Cottonwood program, especially when it comes to developing younger players.

"I'm extremely proud of my kids," Thomas said. "I'm just really excited for them. The kids in the program all have the dream of playing at the next level, and this is what it's all about for them. The younger kids see what this class has accomplished and want to follow in their footsteps. So, really, this is what it's all about."

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