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December 13
1900 - Automobile Club of Southern California founded; first car in SCV appeared 1902 [story]


High school and junior college athletes from across the country are today making their college commitments official, and the Santa Clarita Valley is well represented.

At Canyon High School, running back Max Archuleta will be playing football at Yale in the fall. Archuleta, who ran for 1,131 yards and eight touchdowns, focused on the education awaiting him and what that will ultimately mean.

Jerozal Archuletta sign Commitments

Canyon quarterback Jonathan Jerozal (left) commits to Stetson and running back Max Archuleta (right) commits to Yale

“It’s a great opportunity for academics and for football,” said Archuleta, who carries a GPA above 4.0 at Canyon. “It’s kind of a perfect combination cause I get to play Division 1 and go to a great school and get a great degree, so it’s just the best of both worlds.

Canyon quarterback Jonathan Jerozal will be playing football at Stetson University in Florida, a school that is bringing back football after a 56-year hiatus. The program won’t play their first game until 2013.

“It’s just an honor to be a part of a starting program,” said Jerozal, who will redshirt his first year with all the other first-year players. “They want to bring back a winning tradition, and for them to want me is just a great honor. I’m so blessed to have the opportunity.”

At West Ranch, running back Jeff Coprich signed his commitment to play football at Cal. Coprich, who ran for 1,246 and 12 touchdowns, will be following the cleat marks of fellow Santa Claritans Shane Vereen, now with the New England Patriots, and Kyle Boller, who is playing for the Oakland Raiders.

“It means a lot,” Coprich said. “I’m going to be able to put my name in the history books… with Shane Vereen. And all of the history I’ll be making up at Cal and I’m excited to be getting a degree from Cal-Berkeley. So I’m going to love it.”

Track and Cross Country star Ashley Welker has committed to keep on running for the U.S. Naval Academy. The experience before Welker has humbled her.

Ashley Welker (left) sign a commitment to run track at the Naval Academy and Jeff Coprich (right) commits to play football at Cal-Berkeley.

“It’s such an honor just to be a student-athlete in college, but I’m going to be going to the Naval Academy?” she asked with a smile. “It’s just very honorable and prestigious and I’m very happy that I got accepted.”

At College of the Canyons, Will Latu, the nation’s No. 1 ranked junior college offensive lineman, according to Rivals.com, made his committment to the University of Oklahoma official. Cougar head football coach Garett Tujague was elated at the news.

“We are excited for Will’s decision, considering he had no Division I options after high school,” Tujague said. “To go from a Division II school to a premier community college program, to a formidable BCS (Bowl Championship Series) school, has got to be exciting.”

Latu spent two seasons with the College of the Canyons after transferring from Division II Northern State University in South Dakota.

Sophomore defensive lineman Nick Oliva (Valencia) and sophomore wide receiver Frankie Madero (West Ranch) have already transferred from College of the Canyons, having signed letters of intent to play for New Mexico State and Dixie State College of Utah, respectively.

Oliva was the Cougars’ anchor among a group of defensive linemen who were all first-year freshmen. Oliva, a 2011 Defensive First-Team All-Conference honoree, recorded 32 tackles and 3.5 sacks last season and is the only other COC player from last year’s squad to transfer to a Division I Football Bowl Subdivision school thus far.

Madero had 11 catches for 117 yards and a score in 2011 while nursing an injury, but had 26 receptions for 285 yards during his freshman campaign.

Tujague expects more COC student-athletes to sign letters of intent following the completion of the spring and summer semesters.

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