A Record Seven Centaurs get College Football Scholarship Offers

This year Culver City is blessed to have at least seven Centaurs, who have been offered Division 1 scholarships. This is most likely the reason why the Centaurs are ranked 24th in the State and 16th in Southern California. The seniors in this group are 6'3" 200 wide receiver/defensive back Makai Cope, who is one of the most heavily recruited players in Culver City history with 17 offers. Emari Pait, safety/wide receiver, 6'2"205 with eight offers and who recently agreed to sign with Fresno State. Legend Waring, 6'0 185pounds, who has several offers including three to Ivy League schools, Zevi Eckhaus, 6'1" 200, who has four Division 1AA offers. Running back Ayinde Bankole, 5'8" 180 pounds, who had three offers and accepted an offer to play at Tennessee State, and Dylan Nichols, 6'6" 295 with one offer. Sophomore Mason Merriwether, 6'4" 315, is the first freshman in Centaur history to start at the beginning of the season at any position. He has one Division 1 offer.

Among Makai Cope's offers were Pac-12 teams Stanford, USC, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State, Washington State and Utah. He was also offered by Michigan. Last season Cope caught 46 passes for 802 yards and 9 touchdowns. Cope drew tremendous interest around the country for his pass catching and route running abilities. He graduated from Culver City Middle School and then went to Venice High as a 9th grader and played on the varsity there for 2 years. He then transferred back to CCHS for his junior year. While at Venice after his 9th grade year, he went to a summer camp at the University of Michigan where both Michigan and Syracuse made him an offer.

Emari Pait was injured during his sophomore year, but in his junior year, he had a breakout season at both safety and wide receiver. As a safety, he had 58 tackles and three interceptions which he ran back for 153 yards, and as a receiver he had 18 catches for 377 yards and five touchdowns.

When Legend Waring was living in Santa Monica, he played Pop Warner football in Culver City. His family moved to South Carolina, but when they returned to the area, they decided to move to Culver City because of the good academics and because of the outstanding football and track programs at Culver City High School. Since he is an outstanding sprinter and football player, this really worked into his plans. Last season he caught 13 passes for 332 yards and four touchdowns but was injured or those stats would have been much higher. His 3.8 GPA and 1200 SAT caught the attention of three Ivy League schools who made him offers and he will most likely select one of them for next season.

Ayinde Bankole had a couple of NAIA offers and then was surprised with an offer from Tennessee State, a Division 1 historical black college. His mom's friend has a friend who knows Joey Adams a football alum at State. Mr. Adams contacted the school on Ayinde behalf and since Ayinde's great-grandfather, grandfather, and mother were alums, this connection along with his good football tape got him an offer. Last season Ayinde had 10 catches for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns and 40 carries for 394 yards (a 9.9 yards per carry average) and 6 touchdowns.

Zevi Eckhaus was No. 2 in passing yardage in the Junior class in the nation last year when he threw for 4474 yards and 59 touchdowns, while completing 70% of his passes with only 7 interceptions. He has 4 Division 1AA offers but has decided to wait for a possible Division 1A offer which may be more difficult to get because of Covid. Zevi could end up being one of the all time leading passers in California history if Culver plays a complete schedule this season.

Offensive tackle Dylan Nichols had an outstanding season last year, and when he was able to stop Lawndale's All-Star defensive end, Tuli Tuipulotu, now playing at USC, this was impressive enough to get him an offer from Arizona State.

The other Centaur to get a D1 offer was freshman offensive guard and defensive tackle Mason Merriwether. Mason, who has a solid GPA, was offered by William and Mary. He is hoping to get Division 1A offers because he was 6'3" 280 last year and is now a whopping 6'4" 315.

There are a few other senior players on the Centaur roster who are hoping to get scholarship offers, but it is going to be very difficult for them because many of the scholarships have already been allocated for the 2021 class due to the Covid situation. Also, because of Covid, the NCAA has granted current college seniors an extra year of eligibility, and this will impact both the Senior class and the current Junior class.


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