Lake City football player Billy Sanders is headed to Hollywood.
At least that’s where he hopes to land some day. First he plans to play football at UCLA and major in cinematography.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound tight end/defensive end recently made an oral commitment after declaring a year ago that he was headed to the University of Miami.
“I made a commitment to Miami because they were the first to offer me a scholarship,” Sanders said.
The more he thought about it – and the more schools like UCLA and Notre Dame kept showing interest – the more Sanders discovered he had made a hasty decision.
Sanders transferred to Lake City last fall from Phoenix, where he played on two state championship teams at Brophy Prep.
As it turns out, he missed out on an opportunity to play in a third state title game this fall. Brophy Prep, which is in Arizona’s largest classification (5A Division I), lost 17-10 in the final at University of Phoenix Stadium last month.
So why did Sanders move to Coeur d’Alene? He wanted a chance to play his senior year in front of his maternal grandparents, who own a restaurant in CdA.
Sanders’ stay in CdA was brief. After taking first-semester finals last week, Sanders and his father began driving back to Phoenix on Monday. They arrived Tuesday evening.
He fulfilled most of the requirements for graduation.
“I’m going to take a couple of online courses,” Sanders said.
He was a two-way starter at LC. His biggest impact came at tight end where he caught 23 passes for 204 yards and five touchdowns.
Sanders was named Sunday to the Tacoma News Tribune’s “Northwest Nuggets” list. He was rated the fourth-best player out of 22.
LC coach Van Troxel says he underutilized Sanders at tight end.
“We should have done more with him, especially in terms of blocking,” said Troxel, whose team finished 4-6 overall and qualified for the state playoffs for a 12th straight year. “When he got off the ball with the right snap there wasn’t anyone we faced that he didn’t handle 1-on-1.”
Sanders has been timed at 4.71 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Scout.com lists Sanders as a three-star recruit and ranks him 17th nationally among tight ends.
Troxel thinks Sanders could blossom best in college at tight end.
“He’s a very, very good blocker and he’s got good hands,” Troxel said.
Sanders doesn’t care which position he plays. He’s looking forward to helping revive UCLA’s program.
“Coach (Rick) Neuheisel is a wonderful recruiter,” said Sanders, who made an official campus visit two weeks ago. “Norm Chow is the offensive coordinator. I really liked the coaches. They’re headed in the right direction.”
Sanders said he was offered scholarships by 11 schools – Miami, UCLA, Notre Dame, Washington State, Idaho, Washington, Kansas, Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon. He said a handful has continued to recruit him even though he’s given an oral commitment.
Sanders plans to work with a personal trainer the next couple of months and report to UCLA in early June. Letter of intents can be signed beginning Wednesday.
Coeur d’Alene senior wing Kama Griffitts broke her school’s career scoring mark Tuesday.
The four-year starter has 1,159 points, eclipsing the previous mark set by Shaylia Davis (1,140) nine years ago.
The annual Prairie Pig and Fight for the Fish games are tonight and Friday.
The Lakeland and Post Falls boys and girls square off tonight at Post Falls while the Coeur d’Alene and Lake City boys and girls tangle Friday at LC. Both events begin with the girls at 5:45 followed by the boys at 7:45.