Cody Caldwell joked that he now owns a jacket after making a recent trip to Chicago. He will definitely need it and other layers of clothing next winter.

Caldwell said he signed a letter of intent Wednesday to play volleyball at Loyola University Chicago next year. Caldwell, a Newport Harbor High outside hitter, is one of a handful of local seniors signing on the first day of the NCAA signing period for winter and spring sports.

Other athletes include Corona del Mar girls' volleyball players Morgan Boukather (Stanford) and Claire Ham (Auburn), CdM boys' basketball player Danny Cheek (Northern Arizona) and Newport Harbor girls' water polo player Catherine Carpenter (Stanford).

Caldwell said there were several factors as to why he chose Loyola University Chicago over Long Beach State.

"It's a great campus. It's a great location. It's a great city," said Caldwell, the 2009 Newport-Mesa Player of the Year in boys' volleyball. "It's a lot different from here [in Newport Beach]. I've lived in the OC all my life and I'm probably going to end up living in the OC after college. I wanted to experience something different."

— David Carrillo Peñaloza