N. Valley football players receive national honors

FRESNO, Calif.

Six foot-three, 275-pound Aziz Shittu is used to being in the spotlight on the football field, but Friday he took center-stage during a pep rally at his school to accept a rare honor.

The senior from Atwater's Buhach Colony High is one of just ninety players out of more than a million nationwide chosen to compete in the Army's All-American Bowl in San Antonio on January 7th. He's also one of the top recruits in the country.

"I really don't feel I'm all that good sometimes, I feel kind of weird, but it's all fun, just taking it all in and having fun with it, just grateful," Shittu said.

But Aziz isn't the only star player on the team. Lightning did strike twice for the Thunder when another impressive athlete moved here from Texas three years ago.

The Marines have chosen center Matt Cochrane to play in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Phoenix January 3rd. And he's also being recruited by several top college programs.

"I just think it's a huge blessing," Cochrane said. "I never saw anything like this happening to me in my life. I didn't even think I was going to college. So this is just over and beyond what I expected."

Both players are taking their time to decide which university they'll attend, but for now they're focused on protecting their perfect record this season. And their coach couldn't be happier.

"To land two kids of that quality of ability and personality, maturity, everything about them, they're just good kids, so we're very lucky, blessed," coach Kevin Swartwood said.

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