California sister cities are a Bronco hot bed for recruiting.
Nestled in the hills of North Orange County, not far from the Santa Ana River, are three side-by-side sister cities, Yorba Linda, Brea, and La Habra.
Not long ago the combined population of the three was less than 8,000. Now over 170,000 people call them home, almost equal to the city of Boise. Back then the one-bank, one-gas station towns were sleepy, and the only industry was growing oranges, lemons, and avocados. Brea had a small high school, Brea-Olinda High. Yorba Linda, and La Habra had no high school. High schoolers from those cities went to Fullerton Union High School, about seven miles away.
How times change. The three cities have high schools with big California football programs and have become a featured Bronco recruiting center.
It all began with the newest NFL Bronco, Seattle Seahawk Alex Guerrero. Alex was a Brea-Olinda High School kid, a four-year standout at Boise State, and a 2005 All-Western Athletic Conference first teamer.
Three more football pedigreed kids have followed Guerrero to Boise and have become Broncos.
Brea's Tommy Gallarda, a freshman on scholarship, also from Guerrero's Brea-Olinda High School, chose Boise State over Colorado. As a senior, Gallarda played in only eight games due to an ankle injury. In the eight he had 48 catches for 810 yards and 11 touchdowns on offense. On defense, he played in only five games. He had 45 tackles, three sacks and one interception for a touchdown. Gallarda was named first team All-League and first team All-CIF on offense, and first team All-League and second team All-CIF on defense. He was also named defensive league MVP. Gallarda is being recruited strictly as a tight end and that is what he prefers to play. "I have great skills as a receiver," Gallarda says. "I can find ways to get open and always catch the ball." Tommy will probably red shirt in 2006.
The second NOC player to choose Boise State was La Habra's Ryan Winterswyk, a freshman walk-on in January from La Habra High School. Why Ryan is a walk-on is a mystery. He has great size at 6-4 and 230 pounds, and a list of accomplishments that have Pac-10 written all over them. The Broncos see him as a defensive end.
While at La Habra high he was named All-State, All-CIF, Freeway League Defensive MVP, All-Freeway League and team MVP after finishing his senior season with 150 tackles, two interceptions and three touchdowns. As a junior he finished with 103 tackles, four interceptions and one touchdown…and he lettered twice in track and baseball.
Looks like Ryan may get some serious playing time this year.
Pete Kwiatkowski, D-line Coach, had this to say about him. "Ryan Winterswyk is another guy who is making some strides. Between Mike T. Williams, Winterswyk and Mike G. Williams, they all have that athleticism you like coming off the end. You have three guys there that give us the ability to throw fresh guys there on third down to burn the edge."
Yorba Linda's Shane Henry, a freshman invited-walk-on with scholar-athlete status, from Esperanza High School in Yorba Linda, was the third player to become a Bronco. Henry lettered in both football and track. In track he was league champion in the 100m dash, holds the school record for 100m dash, and finished eighth in the State of California in the 4x100m relay. In football he was named first-team All-Sunset League, as a running back, after averaging 10.9 yards per-carry. Henry rushed for 272 yards in one game on only seven carries. Interestingly, most of his high school playing time was on defense, not offense.
Henry stands only 5'9 and 185lbs. Don't let his size fool you. What is packed into that frame is quite literally the most explosive athlete in America... at least in 2004 and 2005.
Speed-Power-Agility-Reaction-Quickness. SPARQ Testing is widely recognized as one of the best means of testing an athlete's overall explosiveness. Saying that you have the highest SPARQ score in the nation is essentially the same as saying you're the most explosive football player in the Nation.
In 2004, Henry won the overall men's national SPARQ title with an unbelievable 97.5 SPARQ Rating. He won the vertical jump and 20-yard shuttle events, and ran a personal best time of 4.45 seconds.
He outdid himself in 2005. He posted personal bests in each event to score a words-can't-describe national high SPARQ rating of 108.26. He accomplished this by posting a 4.30 forty-yard dash, a 4.00 flat in the shuttle, racked up 22 reps on the bench and then stole the show skying for a 41.2 in the vertical jump. Other unofficial reports state he has run the 40 in 4.29 and 4.28.
How serious is Shane about excelling at Boise State? He was named to the north squad as a defensive back in the 2006 Orange County North-South All-Star Football Game, decided to pull out of the game so that he could come to Boise to begin training early in hopes of making an immediate impact on the Blue.
Where will he find his spot? Probably in the defensive backfield… and as a QJ or Carr-like return man?
If other student-athletes exist in this new recruiting hotbed that are as good as Guerrero, Gallarda, Winterswyk and Henry, you can bet the Bronco coaches will find them.