Four-star linebacker/defensive end prospect Josh Shirley (6-2, 220, 4.53) from Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser has helped his team shake off a 2-3 start to win five straight games including the opening round of the playoffs to set up a second round opportunity against Lake Arrowhead (Calif.) Rim of the World (9-1) this Friday.
Kaiser will travel up the hill and play at a stadium that presents a different set of problems. The elevation is over 5,000 feet above sea level and it will be colder. Shirley has played there before.
"It could be a little cold," Shirley said about playing in the mountains. "The last time we went up there we played in major fog and the elevation was a little bit of a setback, but we came out to win last time, however that was then and now we just have to go out and play hard. That's all I can say."
Shirley has been one man wrecking crew of late. He had 11 tackles in each of his last two games and in one of the games, he only played in the first quarter due to his team's quick start in the blowout.
Shirley's sack numbers are down a bit this season since he has been playing primarily mike backer this season, but he has seven on the season.
"It's cool," Shirley said when asked how he liked playing middle linebacker. "We run a defense with a whip and a rover. Coach has me on the inside just chasing things down."
On the recruiting trail, Shirley has taken two of his allotted five visits. He tripped to Washington back in September and visited Arizona the first weekend of the month of November. Shirley told Rivals.com that he liked Washington a lot. He had the following to say about his more recent visit to Tucson.
"Arizona was good," Shirley said. "I knew a couple of people there that played on the team who used to live the area around here (Fontana).
Shirley took in the UCLA game last weekend.
"The atmosphere was cool, it was real nice," Shirley said. "The UCLA team played hard and it was exciting in the locker room after the game."
In the UCLA locker room, Shirley was talking to four-star linebacker recruit Hayes Pullard from Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw.
"We talk sometimes," Shirley said. "We're trying to figure out where each other are going and things like that. He tries to guess where I'm going and I try to guess where he is going."
Shirley has been busy helping his team during their playoff run and isn't thinking about recruiting for the next three to four weeks.
"I'm going to take my time," Shirley said. "I want to make sure that I choose the right school."
Shirley will be playing in the U.S. Army All-American game, is there a chance that he may make his college choice known at that time?
"It could be," Shirley said. "There's a slight possibility, but it is all on how I feel."
"It is all up in the air where I'll go on my last visits," Shirley said. "My first two visits were last minute things. I just felt like I wanted to see those two schools so I did it on the spot."
Shirley has offers from all three D-I Southern California schools in UCLA, USC and San Diego State. Is there a chance that any of the local schools will get an official visit?
"There is a slight, slight chance," Shirley said. "That's why I am taking all this time to think about all the state schools and the schools here.
"Going out of state wouldn't be a bother to me," Shirley said. "It's just about going and playing football."