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Inspired by older brother, Xavier Van creates own story

Xavier Van put together a star performance at the RVC Showcase. Cliff Jackson / Staff Photo
Xavier Van put together a star performance at the RVC Showcase. Cliff Jackson / Staff Photo

More than a decade ago, Xavier Van watched his older morph into one of the elite athletes across all of high school football.

Rodney Van, tabbed as a consensus top 15 cornerback nationally out of Long Beach Poly, did it all as a high schooler. He was an all-state selection in football and also notched an all-CIF honor in track.

The elder Van brother ended up playing at UCLA from 2004-08, showing the way for his younger brother on what it takes to reach the next level.

“He’s taught me a lot,” Xavier Van said. “I talked to him a lot about what it takes. He taught me a lot about what the college life is like and what I should be expecting at a D1 level.”

Just like his older brother, Xavier Van is carving out his own journey into becoming a college football player someday.

Xavier Van, a junior receiver at La Mesa’s Helix High School in the San Diego area, wasted no time in proving his worth as a varsity player. His sophomore year featured a breakout campaign, bringing in 35 receptions for 752 yards and 10 touchdowns, along with returning a kickoff for a score, while lifting Helix into a masterful season on the gridiron.

With Xavier Van in the fray, Helix compiled an 11-2 record, captured a San Diego Section Open Division title and was the runner-up to Sierra Canyon in the California Interscholastic Federation Division I-AA regional championship game.

Over the offseason, Xavier Van has only added to his repertoire as a dominant player on the football field.

“The offseason has gone great,” Xavier Van said. “I’ve focused a lot on my route running and catching, and just overall on my skill set. I’ve worked with my wide receiver, coach Parker, he’s a former San Diego Chargers player, and I’ve worked a lot with Akili Smith, former first round draft pick to the Bengals.”

Throughout his career, those around Xavier Van always saw a future for him in football beyond high school.

And their words have rung true.

Xavier Van is rated as a three-star recruit and is hearing from numerous FBS schools, including Cal, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon State, San Diego State, Washington and UCLA.

“There were a lot of people that said they have faith in me and they’ve seen a lot of growth over the past years, and that’s when I started believing maybe I have a future in playing football,” Xavier Van said.

Xavier Van is looking for a perfect blend of academics and football at whatever college he ends up at, and engineering is his goal for a major.

But, before college rolls around in two years, he’s gearing up for even greener pastures at Helix High School after the banner season they experienced in 2019.

“For my team I think it would be great to win back to back CIF championships and just do whatever it takes to help us win games,” Xavier Van said. “And for myself I want to be able to achieve over 1,000 receiving yards and 100 receptions and at least 10 touchdowns.”

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