Serra Trio Attracts Top Coaches

With the conclusion of spring practices and college coaches hitting the recruiting trail in full stride, the schedules of numerous high school coaches dramatically change as they begin hosting collegiate coaches recruiting their stars.

Serra High head football coach, Scott Altenberg, has had a coach, or multiple coaches, visit almost every day since the spring evaluation period began on April 16. Last week two of the elite schools in the country visited – USC and Miami.. Although no offers were extended to tight end/defensive tackle Da'John Harris (6-3, 260), linebacker Api Tuihalamaka (6-2, 220) and wide receiver Anthony Boyles (6-3, 195, 4.37), Altenberg said both schools are interested in all three of his top prospects, especially Harris.

"We had Miami's offensive coordinator, Rich Olson, come on Monday and we had USC on Friday," Altenberg said. "We had Pete Carroll, Lane Kiffin (offensive coordinator), Ken Norton Jr. (linebackers) and Nick Holt (defensive coordinator). They were all up there for a couple of hours.

"I think they (Miami) need to go back and evaluate their transcripts,'' Altenberg said.. "He (Olson) said he really liked them, but they need to have everyone sign off before they offer. I think they're looking hardest at Da'John from what Coach (Olson) said to me.

"USC is looking at all three," Altenberg said. "Coach Carroll and I sat and watched a ton of tape for a while, and he thought they were all great. He loved the fact they were able to play other positions and that it showed their athleticism. He was really excited about Da'John's offensive tape, even though he doesn't see him as an offensive player. He just liked how athletic he was in being able to catch the ball, and how he moved his body and everything in offensive situations.

"Pete was also blown away with Api and said something to effect that he's the kind of guy you sign and figure out the position later."

Last year Texas made a late push for Venice, CA safety Jonas Mouton, and word is it narrowly lost out to Michigan. This year the Longhorns, with the momentum of the 2005 national championship, are targeting Harris to become a member of their defensive line.

"Texas has recently been talking to Da'John every day," Altenberg said. "They are really in need of a D-Tackle. I guess they already got commitments from linebackers and wide receivers, so they're focusing in on Da'John.

"The thing with Texas is, and I know Coach Bobby Kennedy pretty well, they want to make sure Da'John's interested in them. That's the thing with them because Texas hardly recruits out of state. They said they've taken three or four guys from out of state the whole time the current staff has been there, but they want to look at places like Chicago, L.A. or Detroit, so they can open up the area, and they aren't going to spend a lot of time out here if they don't think Da'John's interested.

"Miami's kind of in the same boat. The Miami coach (Olson) told me that Da'John is as high on their recruiting board as anyone at his position. He said Da'John is one of their top guys on the defensive side of the ball.

It was mentioned Harris could be one of the top tight end and defensive tackle prospects on the West Coast.

"That's one of things Pete Carroll told me," Altenberg said. "Usually a guy this big isn't put in the positions we do. We put him at fullback, H-back, tight end, we just try and get him the ball in a lot of different ways. Pete said it means something that you guys are trying to get him the ball so much in a game, which is true, because he's a tremendous athlete. He probably has the softest hands and for a big guy, that's not something you normally see.

Altenberg said Boyles has soft hands too and described what separates him from average wide receivers.

"He's just a freak," Altenberg said. "He's over 6-2, he runs very well, but it's his ability to cut is the thing that I think is most impressive. Some big time coaches have watched him and said he's faster, he's quicker and he cuts better than it shows on film. I believe it was either UCLA or Washington that thought he was hands down the best wide receiver in the state."

Tuihalamaka and Harris said they're wide open with there recruiting and will take their time choosing a school, but Boyles has a top three. "Washington is No. one, UCLA is No. two and Oregon State is No. three," Boyles said.

"Coach (Eric) Yarber (wide receivers) is a real person and I can trust him. He seems like he's been coaching a long time and knows what he's talking about. I think he can put you in the league, like he did with Chad Johnson. Washington is my No. one option.

"UCLA is excited about me and they think I'm the No. one wide receiver in southern California, and I like that statement. They want to see me graduate early so I can know the place and play as a freshman.

"Oregon State always has big-time quarterbacks, so that's a bonus, and I like their coach (Mike Riley) because I know he tells the truth. He also has a good history of sending wide receivers to the draft."

Boyles has offers from Washington and Oregon State, and Altenberg said the Bruins told him they will offer three wide receivers and sign one in their 2007 class.

"UCLA is close to offering Anthony," Altenberg said. "They want to make sure they can get Anthony into school before offering, and I think Coach Carroll is taking a look at the transcripts as well."

Altenberg said Harris, Boyles and Tuihalamaka are his higher profile players, but he has three other potential division-one prospects in safety Duke Ihenacho (6-1, 200), linebacker Jeremy Wicker (6-2, 205) and cornerback Remington Wilson (5-11, 175).

"The Utah coaches took film of three other D-1 prospects we have," Altenberg said. "Maybe when they saw Pete Carroll sitting accross the table from them on Friday, they thought, maybe we're not going to get Da'John, Api, or Anthony and we better look at some other guys."

Boyles, Harris and Tuihalamaka will attend the May 7 Scout.com All-American Combine and a combine at Stanford the following weekend.

Altenberg said Colorado and Fresno State will visit this week, and Texas be at Serra next week.


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