By John Philip Wyllie
On the verge of becoming one of the county’s elite Football Top 10, Eastlake High School will be led by its trio of returning all-league players: Derek Witte (QB) Dyson Waddles (RB-SS) and (RB-DB) Jeremiah Andujo. Andujo, the Titans MVP and an All-Mesa League defensive back in 2006 will focus primarily on lugging the leather this time around. He is excited for the opportunity. Football, you see, is in his blood.
Two years ago, his older brother Victor was a key component of the Titans Mesa League Championship team. He has since moved on to Division I college football at SDSU. A couple decades ago, his father Richard, who was born in Mexico and raised in the South Bay, competed at Chula Vista High. Both his brother and his father have inspired him and nurtured him in his gridiron development.
“My parents instilled in me the importance of working hard, so I try to work hard on the field and in the classroom too so that I can get into a good college,” Andujo said. “My dad is from Chihuahua and my mom is from Kansas so I have the best of both worlds. I have always looked up to my father. He arrived here not speaking much English, but he took advantage of the opportunity. He work-ed hard to earn his Ph.D and now he is the principal of a private Christian school up north. I have always tried to follow in his footsteps and to do the best that I could do at everything. He supports us in everything that we do.”
Having the benefit of a supportive big brother has also been important.
“My brother and I got into Pop Warner when I was about eight or nine. He is two years older than I am and I looked up to him all the time as a good role model and a great football player. We got to play together here when I was a sophomore and he was a senior and that was a lot of fun.”
Eastlake head coach, John McFadden calls Andujo “one of the best football players we have ever had at Eastlake High.”
“He has played (almost) every position for us. He plays running back for us and he is our best running back, but he is also our best receiver. On defense, he can play as a defensive back or as a linebacker. He is very unusual and very mature for his age. He is definitely a scholarship football player. Where he plays is going to be up to him.”
Unselfish as he is talented, Andujo is willing to play anywhere that he is needed or do anything that will help his team succeed.
“I just go wherever they need me. If they hand me the ball, I just try to do the best that I can with it, but I also love to block for our other backs. They are explosive and they are just as good as me or better. I started at outside linebacker last year, but this year we have enough depth that I don’t have to start on defense. Right now, I am listed as the second string strong safety. We have a good squad all the way around and I just like to contribute in any way that I can.”
An exemplary citizen and a gifted student, Andujo is the whole package. He excels in the classroom and sports an astronomical G.P.A. of over 4.0. He plans to focus on business and real estate in college and like his father he plans to take advantage of the many opportunities awaiting him. After all, that’s a family tradition.