Southern Arizona football injected with talent from out of state and country

Transferring between high schools in Arizona happens quite often within a city or region, but rarely does it happen in Southern Arizona that a talent from out of state — or even from another country — becomes an instant impact player.

That’s the case this season with three local schools welcoming players from elsewhere who come from far away from the east coast and Europe. They are:

— Sahuaro junior quarterback Vinny Orlando (6-foot-2 and 210 pounds) from New Castle County (Del.) Odessa High School.

— Salpointe junior lineman Jake Steinburg (6-0, 210) is from Cheshire (Conn.) High School.  

— Rio Rico senior wide receiver/defensive end Adem Shatri (6-1, 207) from Stuttgart, Germany.

— Rio Rico senior quarterback Reef Robbins (6-0, 185) from Bristol, United Kingman.

Shatri and Robbins are foreign exchange students who came from overseas thanks to coach Jeff Scurran’s European contacts from the time he coached there professionally in Germany and Italy. His most recent stint overseas was briefly last year with a pro team in Stuttgart, where Shatri played with the Stuttgart Scorpions American football youth organization.

Veteran coach Jeff Scurran with DE/WR Adem Shatri (left) and QB Reef Robbins (Rio Rico photo)

Scurran, 74 and in his 48th season as a head coach, was hired at Rio Rico last November. He has also had coaching stints at CDO, Sabino, Santa Rita and Catalina Foothills in addition to Pima College and his pro coaching positions overseas.

“We’re trying to build a sense of excitement at our school because Rio Rico has a lot to offer,” Scurran said about increasing player participation in a program that has only one winning season in its 25-year history.

Orlando and Steinberg are in Tucson because of family relocation. Orlando’s mother is from Tucson as well as other family members.

Vinny Orlando is now at Sahuaro as a junior after playing with the Odessa (Del.) Ducks the previous two seasons (Odessa photo)

Some media in Delaware were unaware of Orlando’s move during the summer.

DelawareFootballNation.com put Orlando on its “watch list” on Aug. 25 for quarterback prospects in that state.

He is one of 13 quarterbacks listed.

Sahuaro first-year coach Al Alexander said he is impressed with Orlando’s size and pocket presence.

“He brings a lot of skill and confidence in his ability,” Alexander said. “We’re fortunate to have him.”

Orlando has been timed at 4.7 seconds in the 40 and he has a strong and accurate arm.

Salpointe coach Eric Rogers, a standout at UConn after he graduated from CDO, is welcoming Steinburg, who can play on both sides of the line.

“Great kid,” states Rogers of Steinburg

As a sophomore at Cheshire last year, Steinburg tallied 19 tackles, six for loss (including 2.5 sacks).


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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