Football: Sacred Heart and St. Ignatius send out Division I recruits
By Jeremy Balan
While The City lacks the punch of star power that flooded other cities across the country on National Signing Day, three football recruits from San Francisco still made commitments to play collegiately on Wednesday.
While not at the peak of college football, two Sacred Heart Cathedral players and a single St. Ignatius player signed letters of intent to NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision schools (formerly Division I-AA).
The pair of Sacred Heart players are cornerback Kyle Church and offensive lineman Daniel Stornaiuolo. Church committed to Sacred Heart University (Conn.) and Stornaiuolo will head to Sacramento State.
“It’s just fantastic, good for the program and good for the school,” said Sacred Heart Cathedral head coach John Lee. “This is the fourth year in a row that we’ve put guys into [Division I]. I’ve been here a long time, going into my 22nd year, and that’s got to be a record.”
Rival St. Ignatius also sent a recruit to the next level, in Xavier Russo, who committed to Brown University.
The playmaking linebacker chose Brown, not only to play football at the next level, but to have access to an elite Ivy League education.
“The way I looked at it, if I got injured while playing football, I wanted to be in a good school,” Russo said. “Of course Brown, being an Ivy League school, was very attractive.”
For the Sacred Heart teammates, the chance to extend their football careers were driving forces in their decisions.
“I’m really excited and it’s something I’ve been looking froward to for a long time,” Stornaiuolo said. “I’ve been looking to play ball [at the next level], and I am. I’ll be representing my city, my school and I’ll keep the Fightin’ Irish in my heart.”
For Church, the signing is a culmination of a long road, which, according to Lee, hit a speed bump in his sophomore year, when he thought about quitting football all together.
“I never though I was going to be here, but with determination and hard work, I got there,” Church said. “It paid off.”
While two of The City’s West Catholic Athletic League representatives had positive experiences on signing day, Academic Athletic Association prospects faced some disappointment.
Galileo running back Quincy Nelson, who was also garnering interest from FCS programs, went unsigned on Wednesday, but is planning on joining a solid community college program at the College of San Mateo.
Even AAA Player of the Year Christian Pulusian from Balboa, who was getting consideration from major programs like Oregon State, along with several FCS programs, went unsigned.
Both Galileo head coach Mark Huynh and Balboa coach Alvaro Carvajal noted that the biggest knock on the two players was the level of competition they played against, but both were also optimistic about each players’ future.
Ultimately, only three players from The City were signed to FCS programs, but the impact was not lost on Lee.
“Hopefully it’s an incentive to their classmates, the juniors who say, ‘Hey, that’s what I want to do,’” Lee said. “Everyone wants to [go] the Pac-10, but not everyone will. There is nothing wrong with [where they’re going]. It’s great football.”