REGION — It is no secret Southern California is a hotbed of college recruits.
On Feb. 7, several of North County’s best football players made it official and signed with Division I programs to continue their careers.
This year marked the first time the NCAA allowed for two signing periods. Traditionally, early February has been what is referred to as National Signing Day.
But starting this school year, the NCAA began an early signing period, which ran from Dec. 20 to Dec. 22.
North County stars like Mission Hills quarterback Jack Tuttle of San Marcos took advantage of the early window. Tuttle signed with the University of Utah and enrolled in January.
Tuttle completed 205 of 295 passes (69 percent) for 3,171 yards and 41 TDs and was named the San Diego Section Player of the Year. He only threw four interceptions and is the highest recruited player ever to sign with Utah.
Tuttle was a four-star prospect ranked 16th overall in California, the fifth best quarterback and the 104th best prep player in the country, according to Rivals.com.
On the receiving end was Tuttle’s favorite target, wide receiver Chris Olave, who signed with traditional power Ohio State. Olave had a monster season hauling in 93 passes for a San Diego Section-record 1,764 yards and 26 TDs.
Mission Hills, which went 12-1 and lost to Helix in the section finals, also saw wide receiver Kyle Phillips sign with UCLA and running back Sam Dixon will continue his career at Navy.
Locally, San Diego State signed a pair of recruits in Carlsbad High School defensive end Cameron Thomas and San Marcos High School linebacker Josh Bornes. Thomas had 11 catches for 210 yards and four TDs, but no defensive statistics were available. Bornes, meanwhile, had 114 tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, six sacks and one interception.
Other signees include El Camino (Oceanside) teammates running back Christopher Brown Jr. and safety Rocky Katoanga, who will attend Cal Berkeley and Washington State, respectively. Brown piled up 925 yards on 188 carries and 12 TDs and added 14 catches for 136 yards. Katoanga had a team-high 125 tackles, six tackles for a loss, four sacks and one interception.
Also signed were Oceanside High School offensive tackle Donovan Laie (University of Arizona); Santa Fe Christian defensive end Demitri Washington (Boise State). Washington tallied 45 tackles, seven for a loss, five sacks and a forced fumble.