A pair of Long Beach Poly football stars are following their former Jackrabbit coach into the college ranks, as twins Kejuan and Keon Markham announced on Twitter Friday that they’re committing to Arizona State and coach Herm Edwards.
While Edwards’ leadership style has gained a lot of headlines lately, the duo said it was their comfort and familiarity with former Poly coach Antonio Pierce that led to their commitment. Pierce was their head coach for three years at Poly before departing prior to their senior season to take the linebackers coach position at ASU, which led to him being named recruiting coordinator earlier this season.
“With AP it’s more than football,” said Keon. “That’s someone we know cares about us as people, we’re excited to play for him again.”
Edwards and Pierce had a visit with the Markham twins at Poly earlier this week, and it was obvious that the connection was still there, with extended hugs and conversations between the coach and his former–and soon to be again–players.
“Everything they’re building at ASU is exciting right now, they’re really taking over Southern California and we can’t wait to be a part of it,” said Kejuan.
ASU has fully taken over the Long Beach market from USC at this point. The Trojans have been the preferred destination spot for top Jackrabbit talent for a century, but the last few years the Sun Devils have made major in-roads. Aashari Crosswell and Jermayne Lole had breakout freshmen seasons in Tempe this year after graduating Poly last year and following Pierce, along with Poly/LBCC alum Kobe Williams.
Recently, Jojo Wicker, Salamo Fiso, and Millikan’s Alden Darby have all been impact players with the Sun Devils. Adding the Markham twins next year sends a clear message that ASU is in the Long Beach business, as the Sun Devils will have five Jackrabbits on the roster next year.
It’s not just Long Beach, either. ASU got a huge season out of freshman Merlin Robertson out of Serra, the type of linebacker USC would have once been the obvious destination for. With Pierce’s ability to relate and connect with Long Beach, Carson, and Compton recruits, USC will have work to do to re-open those pipelines.
For the Markham twins, their Poly careers aren’t over after the early exit from the school’s football team. Both will be competing for the Jackrabbits’ track team this year, with great chances to stand out as individuals in the sprints, and as potential CIF and State champions on the 4×100 relay.