The decision was easy for Diamond Bar High School football player Antonio “Noodles” Hull. The road getting there was not.
Hull, like a select group of other local football standouts, will partake in national signing day festivities for football recruits on Wednesday. He will sign with Wyoming marking the end of a long and tumultuous journey to reach his goal of playing at the next level.
“There were some days when I felt like it was over and I was going to have to take the JC (junior college route),” Hull said. “And then there were some days where I knew I was going to make it. I had a good supporting cast around me to bring my spirit up and keep me going forward into the next day.”
Hull lost all but one game of his junior season after being declared ineligible by CIF for what was ruled to be a athletically motivated transfer from West Covina, where Hull played the first two years of his prep career, to Diamond Bar.
Most recruiting experts believe a prospect’s junior season is his most important. It allows for a player to get on the radar of college recruiters and for them to monitor the player his senior season. Hull never got that chance and hurt him in two ways.
“That cost me a ridiculous amount of scholarship offers,” Hull said. “That was the first time I hadn’t played football in eight years. It took away from what I was doing in the classroom. It just messed me up. I wasn’t focused to do well in the classroom. I had no motivation to do well in the classroom at all. I didn’t play junior year and my grades weren’t right. Those were two negatives right there.
“If I would have played (my junior year), I would have had college commotion. A lot. I would have been in the classroom knowing that I’m going to college, that I’m going somewhere after my senior year.”
Hull had a fine senior season, with 1,278 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. He also shined returning kicks and recorded 38 tackles on defense. It was enough to garner interest from Hawaii, Nevada, UNLV and Washington. He believes UNLV and Nevada were prepared to offer, but backed off once he gave a verbal commit to Wyoming following an official visit.
“I signed with Wyoming and I didn’t want to hear from any other coaches,” said Hull, who will play defensive back and return kicks for the Cowboys. “I committed. I’m super excited. I can’t say it was all me. I had coaches who kept pushing the recruiters and assuring them I’d be okay in the classroom.
“I’m ready to try something new. I’m ready for change. I’ll be there (Wyoming) for four years, not 20.”
Hull won’t be alone in making his college plans official on Wednesday. At Monrovia, kicker Blake Cusick is expected to sign with Fresno St. while receiver Octavius Spencer appears headed to UCLA. Also, Wildcats receiver Kahlil Bradley is deciding between Southern Utah and Azusa Pacific.
Harvard will get a pair of Valley standouts. San Marino receiver/defensive back Tyler Spitzer, who missed his senior season with a knee injury will join the Crimson along with Bishop Amat linebacker Anthony Camargo.
La Mirada receiver Tony Brown, despite a recent recruiting visit to UCLA, is expected to stick with Texas Tech. St. Francis linebacker John Carroll is headed to San Diego St. while Muir receiver Taeon Mason is bound for Washington St.
Muir will also see defensive back Khylan Drake sign with Dixie St., and Cristian Robinson, who played last fall at La Salle but now attends Muir, will sign with Stony Brook.
It was an unusually good year for area linemen. Glendora’s Ben Northup picked Hawaii way back during the 2014 season and appears ready to keep that commitment. West Covina’s Eric Quevedo is expected to make it official with Boise St. And Duarte’s Angel Villanueva looks on his way to Montana.
Northview has a pair of signees in all-purpose standout Alex Camacho (Azusa Pacific) and defensive lineman Jaron Reed (Mid America Nazarene). Baldwin Park receiver Jayson Miller is headed to Idaho St. while Damien defensive end Ryan Oak is going to University of San Diego.
La Habra running back Carlos Martin appears headed north to Portland St.