Salpointe Catholic’s all-time leading rusher Johnny Peña has committed to Brown University.
Peña was on an official visit at Brown this weekend and made the announcement Saturday night via Twitter, saying: “Just committed officially to Brown.... Best night already, let's goooooooo! Dreams of playing D1 college ball is fulfilled. #blessed”
In a phone interview today, Peña said Brown just felt like the right place. He had drawn interest from other Ivy Leagues but didn’t have to think long about his choice.
“Over the summer I had (unofficially) visited Yale, Princeton, Cornell and Dartmouth and I liked them but Brown was definitely the fit for me,” Peña said.
Salpointe coach Dennis Bene said Brown’s recruiting coordinator Joe Leslie, a Salpointe alumus, recruited Peña.
Bene also said he’s had players go on to almost every Ivy League school but Peña is the first player he’s sent to Brown, a Division I championship subdivision team in Providence, R.I.
“It’s something I’ve always dreamed of to play D-I ball,” Peña said. “To go to an Ivy League school that's reaching further than what I expected when I was little.”
Peña rushed for 1,526 yards, caught for 152 yards and scored 26 touchdowns his senior year. Last season, he made the Arizona Daily Star first-team all-Southern Arizona.
The four-year star finished his career with 4,681 yards rushing which is 1,744 yards more than any other Lancer in school history.
“We’re not going to replace Johnny,” Bene said. “For four years he’s been my security blanket, our go-to guy and it’s going to be really weird without him in the huddle at spring practice.”
Pena is the third Salpointe senior to commit to a Division I school this year. Linebacker Carlos Carroll and lineman Travis Fister both verbally committed to SMU.
Bene said lineman Dylan Greenberg, who has an offer from University of San Diego, could be the fourth.