Ole Miss eyes Colton stars

Many Southern California prep football stars grow up dreaming of someday wearing the cardinal and gold of USC or the blue and gold of UCLA...

Many Southern California prep football stars grow up dreaming of someday wearing the cardinal and gold of USC or the blue and gold of UCLA.

But this holiday season a couple of Colton stars shouldn't be stunned if they find some blue and red Ole Miss gear under their Christmas trees.

Hard-hitting Colton free safety/wideout Daniel Sorensen and sackmaster defensive end/tight end Damien Holmes were both offered full-ride scholarships this week by the University of Mississippi.

"It's so surreal," the 6-foot, 200-pound Sorensen said. "I'm still recovering from the shock. It came kind of out of nowhere."

Added Holmes (6-4, 255): "It's great to get an offer for a full scholarship from any school. It's definitely reassuring to know that I have at least one offer. But I'm not going to make my decision too fast."

USC and UCLA aren't out of the picture, either. Former Colton stars Allen Bradford and Shareece Wright both play for USC. Next week Sorensen and Holmes plan to accompany Colton coach Harold Strauss on an unofficial visit to USC to watch a workout.

As for Ole Miss, there's a definite USC connection. Rebels head coach Ed Orgeron and defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen, who made the offer to both Colton boys, formerly coached at USC.

Holmes found out last week that Ole Miss was recruiting him. The Rebels made their offer Monday. The next day, they also made their pitch to Sorensen.

Both juniors should attract their fair share of interest from Division I schools.

Sorensen was named the Offensive Player of the Year in the San Andreas League after leading the Yellowjackets to the title and a 9-3 overall record. He caught 21 passes for 528 yards and six touchdowns. He also completed a pass for 47 yards.

But Sorensen is better known for his exploits on defense. As a bone-rattling free safety, he had 84 tackles, seven interceptions, two fumble recoveries and two blocked punts.

In a one-sided loss to Redlands East Valley, Sorensen helped the Yellowjackets salvage some respect with two consecutive crushing hits before halftime that drew oohs from the large crowd at the University of Redlands' Ted Runner Stadium.

"Football is a great way to get rid of whatever stress you're feeling," Sorensen said. "It's a good outlet and a big hit really pumps up the crowd."

Holmes agreed. He had a few big hits of his own this season en route to recording 72 tackles, including 14 sacks. He also recovered two fumbles.

On offense, Holmes displayed soft hands by catching 25 passes for 396 yards and one score.

"Football is a contact sport," Holmes said. "If you're having a bad day or something, you can take out your aggression on your opponent. It's not like baseball where you're just throwing a ball."
Both Colton stars play three sports.
Sorensen, a Mormon, said he admires former Colton four-sport athlete Ken Hubbs. The late Hubbs was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1962 for the Chicago Cubs. He died in a plane crash near Provo, Utah in 1964.
Before Sorensen graduates, he will probably be a serious candidate for the Ken Hubbs Memorial Award, the most prestigious prep athletic award in San Bernardino County. Ronnie Lott of nearby Eisenhower High, USC and the San Francisco 49ers is a former winner.
Sorensen has also expressed a desire to go on a Mormon mission, perhaps playing one season at a university, doing his mission and then returning to complete his schooling and athletic career.
But until that time, both Sorensen and Holmes are thrilled to be coveted by Ole Miss, the 158-year-old institution in Oxford.
"The (Southeastern Conference) is one of the toughest in the country," Sorensen said. "It's big-time football. It is kind of far away (from home) and I want to keep my options open, but it's nice to have the offer."
Added Colton coach Strauss: "What I think this will do is help speed up the process as far as other colleges making offers."

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