AZUSA, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific University announced the incoming members of the 2014 Cougar football recruiting class throughout the day on Wednesday, Feb. 5, which is college football's national signing day. News of the commitments and brief biographical information are posted below.
The Cougars also announced two mid-year transfers who have enrolled in classes at Azusa Pacific and will participate in spring practice.
Azusa Pacific is coming off a 10-2 season, its third 10-win season in program history, and the Cougars claimed the program’s first-ever conference title by going 9-1 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play. Twelve Cougars were named to the All-GNAC team, including GNAC Offensive Player of the Year Terrell Watson and GNAC Defensive Player of the Year Tyler Thornton. Azusa Pacific finished the year receiving votes in the Dec. 23 AFCA Division II Coaches Poll, earning 36 votes to place 27th in the final poll.
The 2014 season opens at home on Saturday, Sept. 6, against Grand Valley State, a semifinalist in the NCAA Division II playoffs this past season. The non-conference schedule continues with three non-league games against other GNAC opponents before the Cougars kick off the six-game GNAC schedule with an Oct. 4 visit to Central Washington.
Read more about Azusa Pacific’s 2014 football schedule.
The introductory Signing Day press conference with head coach Victor Santa Cruz, the 2013 GNAC Coach of the Year was streamed live and on-demand on the internet through Azusa Pacific’s live streaming portal through Stretch Internet. It can be viewed in its entirety below.
PLAYER, POSITION, HEIGHT/WEIGHT, HIGH SCHOOL (HOMETOWN), PREVIOUS SCHOOL
Chad Jeffries, QB; 6-2, 200
Glendora HS (Glendora, Calif.), San Diego State
Attended San Diego State since 2011 but did not play... Jeffries was an All-CIF quarterback his junior year and earned Baseline League MVP honors... Went to the Elite 11 regional camp in Berkeley after being named QB MVP at the USC Nike camp... Threw for 1,692 yards, completing 116-of-213 passes, and rushed for 657 yards his junior year... Was 77-for-131 for 1,148 yards passing with 12 touchdowns and rushed 51 times for 265 yards and five touchdowns before his senior year was cut short due to injury... Finished with career high school stats of 2,906 yards and 19 touchdowns passing, completing 196-of-348 passes, while rushing for 937 yards and eight touchdowns on 137 carries.
San Gabriel Valley Tribune (May 19, 2010): Glendora’s Chad Jeffries starting to look Elite
Head Coach Victor Santa Cruz: “He understands our system and understands the gun-run system that we like to do.”
Blake Robertson, WR; 6-2, 180
Corona HS (Corona, Calif.), Sacramento State
Attended Sacramento State for three years, redshirting as a freshman before appearing in 21 games the next two years... Over two seasons, caught 32 passes for 254 yards... Was a high school teammate of current Cougar wide receiver Tanner Henry at Corona, earning All-Big VIII first team and all-Inland Empire honorable mention... As a senior, registered 45 catches for 764 receiving yards with 10 touchdowns...
Head Coach Victor Santa Cruz: “I feel like Blake is a young man with great speed that can take the top off the coverage.”
2014 AZUSA PACIFIC FOOTBALL COMMITMENTS
PLAYER, POSITION, HEIGHT/WEIGHT, SCHOOL
Deven Boston, RB; 6-0, 205
Buena Park HS (Fullerton, Calif.)
Boston rushed for 2,112 yards and 33 TDs his senior year at Buena Park, finishing his career with 5,170 yards and 67 TDs... Earned All-CIF honors and was named Freeway League Player of the Year... Also a standout basketball player, averaging 12.7 points this season for Buena Park.
Los Angeles Times (Oct. 21, 2013): Football: Tre Watson vs. Deven Boston
NBC Southern California (Nov. 23, 2012): Deven Boston: Counting His Blessings
Mid Valley Sports (Sept. 10, 2012): Buena Park’s Boston Running Wild
Head Coach Victor Santa Cruz: “The thing about Deven that I appreciate the most is his character and the commitment he has to being a successful human being. His dad is a career military man, and having grown up myself in a military family, I really did appreciate everything they stood for. I understand what he’s gone through as a young man growing up in that house and so I’m excited for their family to be a part of us as I’m also excited for Deven to give us that depth at running back.”
Khylan Brooks, DT; 6-3, 265
Charter Oak HS (Glendora, Calif.)
Brooks registered 52 tackles and 3.0 sacks his senior year at Charter Oak... Earned All-Sierra League first team honors as a defensive lineman.
Head Coach Victor Santa Cruz: “When you watch Khylan’s film, you see the type of characteristics as a defensive lineman that we value. When he was on his visit you could tell he had a maturity about him. I really enjoyed my conversation and face-to-face contact with him, and I know the Azusa Pacific community will enjoy having him sit in their classes.”
Sakalaia Hungalu, OL; 6-3, 285
McKinley HS (Honolulu, Hawai‘i)
Sungalu played football and also competed in wrestling for McKinley... Was a 2012-13 OIA East Division All Star in wrestling, finishing runner-up in 285-lb weight class at the 2013 OIA East Division Wrestling Championships... Elected Vice President of McKinley High School Executive Council.
Head Coach Victor Santa Cruz: “With the type of rushing game we bring into our league, Saka is going add to the dominant type of presence there, and I know he’s going to have a chance to really add some depth as we particularly want to see him get ready right away to help us win this next season.”
Tevin Krall, DE; 6-3, 245
Ventura HS (Ventura, Calif.)
Krall was an All-CIF Western Division first team and Ventura Star all-county first team defensive lineman... As a senior, made 39 tackles, including eight for loss, with five sacks and two forced fumbles... Anchored both lines for Ventura, leading a defense that allowed just 13 points per game in league play... Also plays on the basketball team at Ventura.
Ventura County Star (Aug. 21, 2012): Krall holding the line on defense for Ventura
Head Coach Victor Santa Cruz: “Tevin is an all-around great defensive lineman. He’s got the size and range about him that he can continue to be somebody we can project out well in this league and into the national picture. Most importantly, as you get to know him in the community, you’re going to find this guy has a deep love for Christ as a leader and an academic person. He is the whole package; he is an Azusa Pacific man for sure.”
Ma‘ake Muti, DT; 6-0, 275
Leilehua HS (Wahiawa, Hawai‘i)
Selected for the West roster in the 23rd Annual Hawaii Union Builders (HUB) Foundation Goodwill Senior Bowl all-star game in 2013... Also picked up all-state honorable mention.
Head Coach Victor Santa Cruz: “Ma’ake is a joy to be around. This is you’ll see as another stout three-technique person who uses his hands well and plays with the kind of motor that we value. When I was meeting with him and his mom in Hawai‘i, I got a chance to see someone who has a humility about him that is like no other. He is somebody that I want to be around, somebody that I can’t wait to coach.”
Matthew Palmer, DB; 6-3, 195
Heritage HS (Menifee, Calif.)
Palmer ranked in the top-five nationally and second in the state of California with 10 interceptions his senior year... Was a first-team All-CIF defensive back and also earned all-state third team, all-county first team, and all-league first team honors... Helped lead Heritage to a 13-1 season and the school’s first-ever CIF-Southern Section title with an interception against Rancho Verde High in the title game... Earned 2014 Riverside County Scholar Athlete award from the National Football Foundation Riverside County Chapter... Selected to play in the Polynesian All-American Bowl Game and the Inland Empire All-Star Classic.
Menifee 24/7 (Dec. 8, 2013): Heritage High Football Team Wins School's First CIF Title
Head Coach Victor Santa Cruz: “Matt is a guy who has a confidence at corner to be able to challenge you in the front and play the press but is also smart and savvy enough to play the zones in the way we want to play them.”
Kendall Rew, DT; 6-3, 290
Ferris HS (Spokane, Wash.)
Rew was named to the All-Greater Spokane League first team on the defensive line.
Head Coach Victor Santa Cruz: “What you see with Kendall is that he plays with his hands well against the offense. He has a great attitude and has the kind of edge and attitude you want at the defensive line. When he got on campus you could tell there was something really special about this young man in his energy and hunger.”
Kionce Roberts, DB; 5-9, 165
Roosevelt HS (Mira Loma, Calif.)
Roberts was an all-area second team and All-Big VIII League first team defensive back at Roosevelt... Registered 38 tackles and four interceptions his senior year... Also averaged 26 yards on kickoff returns, finishing with 520 all-purpose yards and three TDs... Had five interceptions his junior year.
Head Coach Victor Santa Cruz: “When you’re coaching corners, you want to have guys who believe that nobody can beat him. I know Kionce has that belief, and he has that edge, that hunger, and a humility that’s going to keep him playing great each play.”
Evan Rodriguez, TE; 6-3, 235
Heritage HS (Menifee, Calif.)
Rodriguez was the leading receiver at Heritage with 26 reception for 506 yards and eight touchdowns... Helped lead Heritage to a 13-1 season and the school’s first-ever CIF-Southern Section title with two touchdown catches against Rancho Verde High in the title game, including the game-winning 24-yard reception on a fourth-and-nine play with 3:18 left.
Riverside Press Enterprise (Dec. 7, 2013): Heritage Outslugs Rancho Verde
Riverside Press Enterprise (Dec. 8, 2013): Long climb back ends with Heritage all alone at the top
Head Coach Victor Santa Cruz: “Evan’s size and athleticism fits the mold we seek in a tight end quite well, so we’re excited for this young man to jump in here and learn our system and compete.”
Luke Vereschagin, K/P; 5-10, 175
The King’s Academy (Mountain View, Calif.)
MercuryNews.com (April 23, 2013): Vereschagin rising in ranks of kickers
Jonah Wataru, OL; 6-3, 295
Iolani HS (Honolulu, Hawai‘i)
Wataru helped lead Iolani to the 2012 HHSAA Division II State Championship his junior year... Also competed in the state wrestling championships and competes in judo, as well.
Head Coach Victor Santa Cruz: “What I see with Jonah is a good defensive lineman, but also a big body that we’re going to move to the offensive line, and he was very eager when I proposed that opportunity to him. Jonah is going to fit in quite well with (offensive line coach) Jackie Slater and his system. We’re excited for his raw talent to translate in that area as we teach him the APU way.”
Jalen Wyatt, DE; 6-2, 245
Helix HS (San Diego, Calif.)
Wyatt was an All-CIF first team, all-county first team, and all-league first team lineman... Will also compete for Azusa Pacific’s storied track and field program in the throws... Set Helix school throwing record in shot put (10-lb) in 2012, and posted school’s third-highest marks in 12-lb shot put (52’-04”) and discus (152’-0”)... Is the son of Azusa Pacific Athletics Hall of Fame member and former two-sport athlete Jason Wyatt, a two-year starting linebacker in football and a six-time individual NAIA champion in the shot put who was a part of Azusa Pacific’s NAIA outdoor national championship teams in 1991 and 1992.
Head Coach Victor Santa Cruz: “Jalen is a dominant defensive lineman. He is someone who has a motor and a very high ceiling, and he’s got a lot of room to put on weight and strength. This is someone who is going to be a very special young man.”