Recruiting Eyes Are Turning Toward Penny

Cerritos RB Elijhaa Penny (6-2, 245) is a big, physical running back who was just named the Northern Conference Offensive Player of the Year after posting nearly 1,200 yards and 18 touchdowns while helping to lead the Falcons to a 6-4 record. His season concludes this weekend with a game vs. Grossmont and after that he's hoping to get some good news on the recruiting front...

"Right now, I don't have any offers, but I've been talking to a few schools," Penny told "Western Kentucky and Idaho have been talking to me a lot. San Jose State, Georgia State and Utah are all showing interest too.

"Of those schools, Idaho seems like they are the closest to offering and they want me to come up and visit, but I haven't set up any visits just yet."

This season, Penny has helped lead the Falcons to a 6-4 record by rushing for 1,175 yards and 18 touchdowns and, while his size, speed and vision are a big reason for his success, he isn't above giving the guys up front credit for his success.

"I've had a good season," Penny acknowledged. "They fed me the ball a lot and got me running between the tackles and my line has blocked really well and that's really helped me succeed this season."

Penny didn't start getting a majority of the carries in Cerritos' backfield until week five, making his productivity that much more impressive.

"He's just been a real blessing for us and he's just an amazing tailback and runner," Cerritos defensive coordinator Tom Caines said after the conclusion of the regular season. "He's really versatile too for a guy his size, so we're really happy with what he was able to do this year. He was a real difference-maker for us."

In addition to his skills running the ball, Penny also showed soft hands, hauling in 16 receptions, good for third on the team in that category, for 94 yards and another score.

"I take pride in being versatile for my team and doing what I can to help us move the chains and score," Penny noted. "If that means running it, then I can do that; if that means catching it and making a play in the passing game, then I can do that; if that means blocking, I've improved in that area too, so I feel comfortable doing that as well."

As a prep at Norwalk (Ca.) High School, Penny was committed to Washington for several months, but as things got closer to Signing Day, it became evident he was not going to be able to qualify. So, with that decision made, he headed to Cerritos.

"It was the best program for me to go to and it was close to home," Penny said matter-of-factly. "I liked the offense and felt the coaches here would help me get to where I wanted to be.

"I had originally enrolled at College of the Sequoias up north, but I injured my ankle and really didn't play much (in 2012), so coming here, back home and just focusing on school and football, that was what really helped me."

Penny is set to graduate in May and he will have three years to play two starting next fall.

This Saturday, Cerritos will play host to Grossmont in the Western State Bowl.

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