Where's the love?

Tennis standout Matt Dunn was one of 14 athletes at Salpointe Catholic to sign a letter of intent Wednesday.

The athletes were introduced by their respective head coaches, and Dunn was a little disappointed with coach John Condes' opening for him.

"I was hoping for a hug, Coach, but we can work on that later," Dunn said laughing.

Dunn, a Division I state quarterfinalist last season, signed with Arizona and will play for coach Tad Berkowitz.

He also looked at Notre Dame and Villanova, but "kept getting pulled back home, probably because of (being close to) my parents."

From friends to rivals

Cienega football player Daniel Gonzales stood next to good friend Edgar Poe with his arm stretched around his buddy's neck as they talked to classmates.

"We can still be friends for a little while longer," Gonzales joked.

Gonzales committed to Navy this week after visiting Annapolis, Md., over the weekend.

Poe, meanwhile, will head to Army after visiting in mid-January.

The two friends will now be bitter rivals the next four years and didn't wait long to start trash talking.

"It's not going to be friendly when I'm scoring touchdowns on him," Poe said, standing next to to his good friend.

The big number


Number of students who signed letters of intent at both Canyon del Oro and Salpointe Catholic, best among local schools


"I'd like to say thank you to my parents, even though there was a time you didn't think I could get into an Ivy League school." - Salpointe's Courtney Amos, who is headed to Yale to play tennis

What would Micah do?

During an emotional speech to his four signing players, Ironwood Ridge girls soccer coach Sean Watkins singled out each with flattering comments.

Perhaps the biggest compliment went to Micah Wenzel, who signed with Northwest University - a Christian school in Washington.

"You are an amazing role model on and off the field," Watkins told a blushing Wenzel.

"I have two middle-school-aged girls at home. We have a saying and it's, 'What would Micah do?'"

Packed house

Students packed the Sahuaro library, standing on chairs looking over the bookshelves to watch football standout Niko Kittrell sign his letter of intent to play for San Jose State.

"I was kind of nervous," he said. "My hand was shaking a little bit because it's a big commitment, but I think I'm ready for it."

San Jose State was the first school to offer Kittrell a scholarship when it offered him a full ride over the summer. As a Spartan, he will play tight end.

"This is a great day," said Murphy Kittrell, Niko's father. "And this speaks to his work ethic, too. We've done as much as we can to prepare him but now it's time for him to go and create his own success."

Another quotable

"This must be a special moment because as soon as you sit up here, you forget everything you were going to say." - Ironwood Ridge's Roberto Zatarain, who signed to play soccer at Pima

Grown-up Nighthawks

Just before signing with Arizona for soccer, Ironwood Ridge's Kaitlyn Lopez said she felt particularly honored to be "signing with this group of people," referring to the 10 other athletes at the table, many of whom she'd grown up with.

She said she'd been friends with soccer teammates Micah Wenzel and Michelle Busse since she was 7 years old. Then she pointed down to the end of the table, where Zachary Schmidt was sitting to sign with Pima for soccer.

"Zach down there was my first boyfriend in fifth grade," she said.

Lopez and Busse were two of three local prospects to sign with Arizona. Catalina Foothills' Sheridan Cohen is also going to be a Wildcat.

Putting out fires

Sabino quarterback Dallas Brown watched his mom serve as a police officer for more than 20 years and also wants to go into public service.

"But I don't want to be a cop," Brown said.

Instead, Brown will head to South Dakota State to play for the Jackrabbits and study to be a firefighter.

Brown said SDSU stood out from the start because of it's academic programs.

Compiled by Daniel Berk, Michael J. Craven and Matthew Lechuga