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Quartet heads west for game

Four bay area players will play in today's Califlorida Bowl II in Santa Barbara.


© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 23, 2001

TAMPA -- Before he meets the nation's top team, Jon Wilson will play California's best.

In the fall, the former Hillsborough lineman will begin his collegiate career at Air Force, which opens the 2001 season against defending national champion Oklahoma.

But first, Wilson and three other bay area players will play in Califlorida Bowl II, an all-star game that features 80 of the top high school seniors from two of the country's most-recruited states.

Former Hillsborough linebacker Andra Hoston, ex-Gaither lineman Cesar Paz and Seminole all-purpose player Donyelle Williams will join Wilson in the game.

Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. today at Harden Stadium on the University of California-Santa Barbara campus. The game will be broadcast live by FOX Sports Net.

California won last year's inaugural game 21-11 before 9,200 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. This year's game was moved because a Major League Soccer game is scheduled for the same day.

Wilson, a 6-foot-3, 300-pound offensive lineman, received all-state recognition while helping Hillsborough to the region semifinals as a senior.

He received interest from Wisconsin, Georgia Tech and several Ivy League schools before choosing Air Force to take advantage of the military's guaranteed scholarship program for medical school.

Hoston, a Class 5A all-state linebacker, had 138 tackles, including 86 solo stops, last season. He orally committed to Auburn in January but rescinded his commitment two weeks later and signed with Central Florida so his brother, Brian, who sustained a brain injury six years ago, can see his games.

A doctor discouraged Brian, who also suffers from asthma, pneumonia and sickle cell anemia, from making the trip to Auburn.

Paz, a 6-2, 285-pound lineman, helped county rushing leader Lydell Ross compile more than 4,900 yards during the past two seasons. He turned down scholarship offers from I-AA Alabama A&M and Bethune-Cookman to walk-on at Division I-A South Florida.

Williams, a 5-6, 175-pounder bound for Division II powerhouse Delta (Miss.) State, helped the Warhawks to a 12-1 record, leading the team in rushing, receiving, return yards and interceptions.

Air Force will play host to Oklahoma on Sept. 1 at Falcon Stadium in the first part of a home-and-home series. The return date will be in 2004 in Norman, Okla.

-- Staff writer Pete Young contributed to this story.

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