Several of the top high school football stars on the Coast have verbally committed to the region’s top football programs this year, but none have made a commitment more meaningful than the one Long Beach senior J’arius Warren made Tuesday night.
Warren, a defensive lineman/linebacker, announced Tuesday that he has decided to attend the Naval Academy.
Warren was elated as he discussed the decision Tuesday night.
“It's crazy. We were talking about it at practice,” Warren said. “I told my coach, 'This is what I want to do.' I want to go to the Naval Academy. When you think about college, it's not all about football. I want to be set up for the next 40 years as opposed to the next four. Everybody doesn't get the opportunity to play at the next level beyond college. I want to be set up after I get out of college.”
Warren had been recruited by schools like South Alabama, Louisiana-Monroe, Tulane and Southeastern Louisiana.
The 6-foot-1, 250-pound Warren was first approached by the Naval Academy in the spring with offensive line coach Ashley Ingram and recruiting coordinator Preston Pehrson playing an active role in recruiting Warren.
After graduation, Navy student-athletes are required to serve at least five years active duty in the Navy or Marine Corps.
Warren is comfortable with that commitment.
“I was always thinking about Navy. I knew it was a possibility,” he said. “I knew I'd love to go around that area and serve my country. What was holding me back is I didn't know if I'd get in. There's a process with grades. I was a point off on my ACT, and I got it. I still have to keep my grades up and everything. I went ahead and pulled the trigger. I was just happy.”
What does his family think of the decision?
“My mom is very excited,” he said. “I just told her a couple of minutes ago. She's ecstatic. She didn't understand at first. She thought I was just going into the military. I'm going into the academy and going into the military after that. She understands it now and she's really happy for me.
Williams also told his head coach at Long Beach, Forrest Williams, before he made the announcement.
“He said he always wanted to go to the Naval Academy when he was younger,” Warren said. “He took a visit, but he didn't get in so he went to Mississippi State. He told me I should do whatever is best for me and it's a great opportunity. I'm about to play big time ball with a big time education.
“It's a huge load off. I don't have to think about anything but play on a weekly basis. I'm so glad it's over.”