Four local football players and three other athletes from soccer have signed national letters of intent to compete in college next year.
The seven signees include SBCC football players Manny Nwosu and Nakota-Shepard-Creer. Bishop Diego High football players Jack Luckhurst and Mark Vehslage also committed to four-year schools, as did Cardinal soccer player Natani Kent-Earle.
Providence soccer players Ethan Banez and Jake Yonally signed commitments, as well.
Nwosu, a former Dos Pueblos High star, signed with Fort Lewis College, an NCAA Division 2 school in Durango, Colo.
He overcame a shoulder injury suffered in the final game of his freshman season of 2017 to become the first 1,000-yard rusher for SBCC in more than two decades. His 199-yard rushing effort against Los Angeles Southwest ranks fifth all-time for the Vaqueros, leading to a season total of 1,080. He scored nine touchdowns.
“I chose Fort Lewis because of the coaching staff,” said Nwosu, who plans to major in communications. “They said they believed in me and my skills and what I brought to the table. The recovery process for my shoulder took longer than I thought it would but I’m 100 percent now.
“Playing at SBCC was a great experience for a local kid from Goleta. The values that coach Morop and all the other coaches taught me will definitely be engraved in my life.”
Shepard-Creer, who signed with Lamar, a Division 1 FCS school in Beaumont, Tex.., also had to bounce back from an injury to earn a football scholarship. He had made 32 tackles with four interceptions as a defensive back in 2016. He returned to the team last fall and intercepted a pass in the season opener against Compton before breaking his wrist later in that game.
He missed four games but, upon his return, intercepted a pass against Hancock while wearing a cast on his arm.
“I felt like Lamar was the best opportunity for me,” said Shepard-Creer, who will major in business. “I loved going to school here and looking at the beach all the time. We have great coaches at SBCC, especially David Shelton.”
Vaquero coach Craig Moropoulos said he expects Shepard-Creer to excel at Lamar “because he’s very committed.”
He added that he was impressed with Nwosu while following his career even before SBCC.
“He’s an outstanding young man who’s very quiet and plays very loud,” Moropoulos said. “He hurt his shoulder in the last game of 2017 and that was unfortunate because there were some opportunities.
“But he didn’t let that get him down, he kept after it, kept going to school, and this is a great opportunity for him.”
Bishop Diego plans an official signing ceremony on Wednesday for its three college-bound athletes. Luckhurst, an All-State kicker, has committed to Arizona State, while Vehslage, a tight end, is bound for Michigan Tech. Kent-Earle, meanwhile, will be continuing his soccer career at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y.
Providence’s two athletes – both stellar club players – signed to play in college even though their high school does not field a soccer team. Banez is bound for Westmont College while Yonally will play for the University of Chicago.
“It is a testament to the determination and skill of these athletes and the support of the school that they were prepared for admission to these competitive colleges and recruited to play on collegiate teams,” Providence athletic director Steve Stokes said.