All-County quarterbacks David Henigan of Fountain Valley and Troy Kopp of Mission Viejo will continue their rivalry, up close and personal, next season.
Both players have made oral commitments to attend the University of the Pacific and are expected to sign national letters of intent with the Big West Conference school as early as today, the first day of the signing period for high school seniors.
Colleges usually don't recruit quarterbacks from the same backyard, said Dick Lascola, whose scouting service supplies reports for 90 universities across the nation, including all the Pacific 10 schools.
Lascola rated both athletes as Division I prospects. "Kopp is more of a physical type, a pocket passer with agility, a dropback passer," Lascola said. "Henigan is more of a scrambler type. He can throw on the run."
Henigan was The Times' first-team All-County quarterback and was named the Southern Section Division I co-Player of the Year after leading his team to the Division I title. He threw for 5,576 yards in three seasons, third on the county's all-time list behind Todd Marinovich (9,165) and Bret Johnson (6,538).
Kopp, who was second-team All-County, led Mission Viejo to the Division III semifinals. He set school records in yardage (2,405) touchdowns (25) and efficiency, completing 59% of his passes. He tallied 3,841 passing yards in two seasons as a varsity quarterback.
Henigan has the bigger numbers, in part because the Barons threw more, but in head-to-head competition against Kopp he is 0-2, and when they stand toe-to-toe, Kopp is bigger. Kopp is 6-feet-2 and 195 pounds, Henigan is 6-1, 185.
Kopp, who committed first, knew Pacific also was recruiting Henigan, a fact that did not faze him.
"Anywhere you go you're going to be competing for the job," Kopp said. "I don't want to say (I can beat him) and have my words go against me or anything, but I'll work my butt off and see what happens."
Henigan and Kopp liked the campus, the academics, and the coaches. Said Henigan: "I liked their offense and I really felt comfortable there."
But the primary reason they chose Pacific was first-year Coach Walt Harris.
Harris has had considerable success in grooming collegiate quarterbacks for the National Football League.
As offensive coordinator at Illinois, he coached Katella graduate David Wilson, who went on to play for the New Orleans Saints; Tony Eason (New England Patriots), and Jack Trudeau (Indianapolis Colts). He also coached Jeff Francis and Tony Robinson at Tennessee.
Both quarterbacks were drawn to the opportunity to start as freshman, a possibility since Harris plans to abandon last season's wishbone in favor of the passing game.
Mike Henigan, the Barons' offensive coordinator, said his son liked the style of passing game Harris used at Tennessee and will use at Pacific. "It fits the type of quarterback he is, the dropback, pocket style (who makes) a lot of decisions, lot of reads, lot of audibles, those kinds of things.
"I don't think he was aware they were recruiting Kopp. But no matter where you go you are going to have competition. The fact that the guy lives down the road doesn't make any difference."
Four of the five members of Mater Dei High School's offensive line have made oral commitments to Division I schools or are expected to.
Rob Arne will attend Northwestern, center Rick Pallow will attend Stanford, Brian Turk USC and Brian Ducote is still considering several schools, including Idaho State and Colgate. College coaches would love to sign Rick Motherway (6-4, 240 pounds) the other member of the line, but they'll have to wait. He is a junior.
RECRUITING CLASS OF 1988Where Orange County's top high school football players have committed toattend college in the fall.