Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009 | 8:08 a.m.
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Steve Silver and Ray Brewer analyze the 2009 National Signing Day with a view from the valley.
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Steve Silver and Ray Brewer reveal the darker side of prep sports recruiting and announce some major news regarding some of the top football players in the valley.
Andy Ostolaza's office at Silverado High was a popular stop for college coaches on the recruiting trail the past three months.
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The Skyhawks coach, however, doubts his Henderson-area school will become a regular part of the recruiters' rotation.
Ostolaza got a first-hand look into the world of recruiting with Silverado defensive end Keenan Graham, who is ranked No. 14 at his position by recruiting Web site Rivals.com. Graham has been offered scholarships from more than 15 major Division I universities.
Graham, who picked UCLA over Utah, is one of four high school players from the Henderson-based Southeast Division who signed scholarship deals Feb. 4 on national signing day. He was joined by teammate Michael Wadsworth, who signed with Hawaii, Foothill’s Jake Broyles, who signed with Boise State, and Utah resident T.J. Alofipo, who played at Silverado in 2007 and is also headed to Hawaii.
“There is a reason why I committed to UCLA early,” Graham said. “It’s a program on the rise and I want to be part of that. They have a beautiful campus and great academics. Utah made it hard but ultimately I was always going to UCLA.”
Las Vegas schools have averaged about 10 signees annually since 2001, but Henderson schools are lucky to have one each year.
Silverado's Ben Jacobs, who went to Fresno State in 2006, was the last local to receive a Division I scholarship.
"I would say this is a one- time occurrence," Ostolaza said. "These schools come here because there is something they can't find in their own state."
In the past, some of Henderson's top players have walked on at UNLV or received scholarships to non-Division I schools like Southern Utah or Northern Arizona.
Coronado grad Tysson Poots, for instance, received a scholarship to Southern Utah. The sophomore showed he could play in 2008, ranking third in the Football Championship Subdivision — formerly Division I-AA — with 7.5 receptions per game to set school records with 83 receptions for 1,236 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Poots is not the only one from Henderson who made the most out of his opportunity.
Foothill's Jeff Van Orsow was offered a scholarship by Oregon State in 2003 and closed his career by starting 37 straight games for the Beavers. Oregon State was his lone offer.
Despite being one of the valley’s top offensive linemen, the 6-foot-6, 250 pounder did not have any offers after the 2008 season ended three months ago.
“It was getting pretty late and I started to wonder if I would get any offers,” Broyles said. “I was real anxious waiting.”
Boise State was the first to offer a scholarship. But after he committed there, UNR, Brown and Princeton also made offers. He even had a call from Michigan, which he said hinted it would extend an offer.
“He will thrive up there,” Foothill coach Marty Redmond said. “They love him. They have a quality program and he is a quality kind of kid.”
There might be another Broyles next year.
With the exception of Green Valley kicker Nolan Kohorst, who already has an offer from UNLV and interest from several other schools, there are no obvious recruits in the class of 2010. But plenty, like Broyles this year, are flying under the radar.
Del Sol safety Earnest Hall, a first-team All-Sunrise Region selection in 2008, and teammate Evan Weinstock at wide receiver, head the list of prospects for next year, Dragons coach Preston Goroff said. Also, Silverado linebacker Kyle Anderson will receive looks.
“Guys like Keenan are opening Las Vegas to more coaches,” Ostolaza said. “If you can play, they will find you.”