2 schools lead for LB Stephen Van Hook

Outside linebacker Stephen Van Hook was a big part of Perris (Calif.) Citrus Hill’s success last season, as the 6-foot-1, 212-pound athlete registered 11.5 sacks on the way to a 12-1 record and a CIF championship berth. But the lone blemish came in that final game -- a 20-17 setback to Romoland (Calif.) Heritage -- something Van Hook will take with him into his senior season.

“I’m trying to finish off my senior year strong,” Van Hook said. “We want to win CIF this year after we lost last year. It’s motivation because we want that ring.”

Van Hook is also motivated to prove himself to college coaches this fall. He holds offers from Fresno State and Washington State, but said Boise State and Colorado have told him that they will be watching his first few games and could make a decision on offering a scholarship after that.

The linebacker said that if there is no movement after those first few games, he’ll be prepared to make a commitment.

“The coaches are great at those two schools,” Van Hook said of Fresno State and Washington State. “I’m really close with coach [Eric] Morris at Washington State, and with Fresno State, I talk to every coach there. They probably show me the most attention.”

Both programs have spoken to Van Hook about playing outside linebacker.

“They want me to play Buck linebacker,” Van Hook said. “I’d be rushing the passer most of the time, and dropping back a little as well.”

As to what the linebacker is looking for in his ultimate choice, he had several items on his checklist.

“Definitely the coaches,” he said. “And how much they’ll help me get to the next level. It’s also if I can see myself there for four years, and the academics as well.”

At this point, Van Hook said the Bulldogs and Cougars are even for him.