- Mangini Ranch Elementary
Two FHS students sign early letters of intent to play Pac-12 football
Kaleb Higgins (left), Ari Patu (right)
Just before the Winter Break, two Folsom High athletes – Kaleb Higgins and Ari Patu – signed early letters of intent to play full-scholarship football as part of the NCAA’s Early National Signing period.
Cornerback Kaleb Higgins will be Berkeley bound to join Cal’s defensive line. The Golden Bears beat out roughly 13 other scholarship offers to land the 46th ranked cornerback recruit.
Quarterback Ari Patu will also be headed to the Bay Area, joining Stanford’s offensive class of 2021. Patu is one of the nation’s highest-rated dual-threat quarterback prospects, ranked No. 14 on 247Sports’ Composite Ranking by position.
Despite a tough year that has forced season delays and uncertain conditioning schedules, signing day still brought joy and celebration to both families. “It means the world to me and my family! To have the opportunity to sign to Stanford, it truly is a blessing and a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s relaxing to finally make it officially official, so it’s a great feeling,” said Patu. For Higgins, signing was the culmination of years of hard work: “Signing the letter of intent was a dream come true...Everything that I’ve been pushing myself to be since a young age is finally happening.”
Realizing this dream and sharing it with family is particularly sweet for these two athletes – both Patu and Higgins will be carrying on Pac-12 family legacies when they step onto the field this fall. Patu is the son of former University of Oregon defensive end Saul Patu and the younger brother of Cal outside linebacker, Orin. Higgins’ brother Elijah is a rising Stanford wide receiver. Next year, both Ari and Kaleb will find themselves as teammates to each other’s brother, while school rivals to their own.
“It’s going to be fun for sure, I’m fired up about it,” said Patu. “At the same time though, nothing will be new. We’ve been competing against each other our whole lives, this time the venue will just be a little different. I can’t wait for it though and I know my parents are excited about that game every year too.”
Higgins shared similar sentiments about the matchup, “The Big Game is the most exciting game of the year and to face my brother head-on just elevates the intensity of it.” If the stars align, Higgins may just have the opportunity to cover his brother in a future rivalry game.
As college teams gear up for spring training, both Higgins and Patu made the decision to enter their universities mid-term. Patu will be the first student-athlete in Stanford history to graduate high school mid-term and enroll early at the university. FHS has worked with Ari, Kaleb, and their families to prepare the 3-star recruits for graduation so they can arrive on campus in time for pre-season workouts.