Two Crater football players to sign next week

CENTRAL POINT — Two Crater High football players have given verbal commitments to colleges and will sign letters of intent on National Signing Day next week.

Defensive lineman Zach Zelecki will attend the Air Force Academy, and the Comets' quarterback, Tyler Turituri, will venture to Portland State, where he's targeted to play safety.

The two made visits earlier this month and committed to their respective schools on those trips. Their signing ceremony will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the gymnasium lobby at Crater.

Zelecki, 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, was an all-Southwest Conference second-team selection at offensive tackle and on the defensive line. He drew attention from college coaches after his junior season, then when he followed up with strong combine workouts last summer and a solid senior season, interest escalated.

He's projected as a defensive end at the AFA.

"The college coaches liked how he progressed on film," said Beck. "He's a smart kid, has a big frame and a great motor."

Had Crater had a more successful season, Zelecki — who received honorable mention in all-state voting as an offensive tackle as a junior — might have reaped more postseason honors. The Comets moved up to Class 6A this year from 5A and managed only a 2-8 overall record and an 0-7 conference mark.

"What I was told by the coaches who watched him on film," said Beck, "was that he was one of the top few defensive linemen in the state."

When school was back in following Christmas break, Zelecki paid a visit to Portland State the same weekend as Turituri. The next weekend, the former took his trip to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., and liked it well enough to commit on the spot.

Zelecki also had offers from Yale, Brown and Portland State, said Beck.

Air Force is coached by Troy Calhoun, who played high school football at Roseburg under Thurman Bell and later played for the Falcons.

Air Force was 9-4 overall this past season and defeated Georgia Tech, 14-7, in the Independence Bowl.

The Falcons are part of the Mountain West Conference, which for the second straight year and the fourth time in seven years had the best winning percentage in bowl games among the 11 conferences that make up the Football Bowl Subdivision.

The Falcons have won at least eight games and qualified for a bowl each of the past four seasons.

"They're good," said Beck. "Zach is really excited to get in there and play Division I football and get a great education and see where the military leads him."

Turituri battled through injuries, missing 21/2 games, and the Comets struggled on offense, finishing next-to-last in the SWC in total yards and scoring. He ranked seventh in the league in rushing and sixth in passing, but those aren't the attributes that attracted the Vikings.

More to their liking was the athleticism of the 6-foot-21/2, 215-pounder.

"They really like his physicality and speed and aggressiveness," said Beck. "I think he'll adapt very well. He's a real go-getter. He's worked extremely, extremely hard. He and Zach are two of our hardest workers."

Turituri, who will join the Crater track team this spring as a sprinter, has seen little defensive action since his freshman and sophomore years, when he played rover.

"I think it'll be pretty fun," said Turituri, adding that he could even work a little at running back as the process of defining his role at PSU unfolds. "It'll be nice to switch it up. I'm excited. It's a great opportunity to go up and play college football. I've wanted to play college football since I was a little kid. Wherever they need me, I'll go."

Turituri will be a teammate of former South Medford quarterback Josh Milhollin, who redshirted as a freshman this past season. Milhollin was Turituri's host on his recruiting visit.

The Vikings are a Football Championship Subdivision team in the Big Sky Conference. They were 2-9 overall — including losses to Oregon and Arizona State — and 1-7 in conference.

Portland State is coached by Nigel Burton, who enters his second year.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or e-mail

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