Local football notes: Former prep players take path through community colleges en route to scholarships

Published: Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014 - 11:09 pm

Sacramento-area community college football programs have produced championship seasons and scores of scholarship players for decades.

The two-year level is a haven for players eager for a second chance after a sour initial experience at a four-year college. Or are still developing as football players. Or simply fell through the recruiting cracks out of high school.

American River College had nine players sign letters of intent this winter, while Sacramento City and Sierra each advanced five to the next level.

Tyler Trosin is an example of seizing a scholarship opportunity. He signed with Oregon State after a record-setting receiving career at Folsom High School in 2011, only to return home after six months. Trosin simply said he wasn’t ready for Oregon State and needed a fresh start. After two seasons at ARC, during which he was an All-State selection in 2013, Trosin on Wednesday signed with Arkansas State, explaining: “I’m ready to go.”

Sac City defensive back Ahkello Witherspoon is an example of a late bloomer. He signed with Colorado. Witherspoon was a 5-foot, 100-pound freshman at Jesuit before transferring to Christian Brothers, where he played baseball, basketball and soccer, graduating with a 4.4 grade-point average.

Witherspoon enrolled at Sac City last fall and kept growing – a total of eight inches over 16 months – to 6-4 and 190 pounds. A strong season for the Panthers and his athletic potential drew offers from Virginia and Washington.

“I’m really excited,” said Witherspoon, whose father, Lucky, developed his football skills at Sac City 30 years ago before attending Nevada on a scholarship. “I’m proof that if you keep working, and keep growing, things can happen. I never expected to be this tall. Glad I am.”

Defensive back Zack Starnes and offensive lineman Jordan Finley highlight Sierra’s recruits. Finley, who attened River Valley High in Yuba City, signed with Colorado State. Starnes, who prepped at Woodland, signed with UNLV.

ARC had two offensive linemen sign with Pacific-12 Conference programs: Bobby Keenan (Rio Americano) with Oregon State and Sully Wiefels (who prepped in Idaho) with Colorado.

For the full list of community college signees, go to www.sacbee.com.

They’ll walk on – Bee All-Metro players Dre Terrell of Pleasant Grove and Kyle Wells of Del Oro will be preferred walk-ons at Sacramento State and Cal.

Terrell, who played quarterback and cornerback for the Eagles, will play slot for the Hornets. His tuition will be paid through a Veterans Affairs disability from his father, Derrick, who was in the Air Force for 14 years before being medically discharged in 2006.

Wells, a tight end, said he’ll work hard to emerge as a starter in Berkeley. It’s happened with local prospects at Cal before, including receiver Spencer Hagan of Capital Christian. Hagan was a stater in 2012 for the Bears and this week was hired as a graduate assistant at Hawaii.

Sac State starting quarterback Garrett Safron, the Hornets’ team MVP in 2013, was a walk-on out of Santa Monica High.

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.

Read more articles by Joe Davidson

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