Joe Davidson

Hometown Report: Marcus Rios healthy and happy to return to action with UCLA football team

In the winter and spring of 2013 Marcus Rios, the UCLA cornerback by way of Cosumnes Oaks High School, was in the midst of a 10-week stay in a Los Angeles hospital. Scores of physicians from across the country filed in to try to comprehend a rare and exceedingly aggressive fungal infection that was slowly eroding Rios’ body. One doctor told Rios he may not survive; he did, and began his comeback to college football.
In the winter and spring of 2013 Marcus Rios, the UCLA cornerback by way of Cosumnes Oaks High School, was in the midst of a 10-week stay in a Los Angeles hospital. Scores of physicians from across the country filed in to try to comprehend a rare and exceedingly aggressive fungal infection that was slowly eroding Rios’ body. One doctor told Rios he may not survive; he did, and began his comeback to college football. rpench@sacbee.com

Marcus Rios used to sleep in a fetal position to ease his misery.

He used to measure each step carefully. He avoided mirrors, not wanting to see his frail figure.

This was Rios’ life in the winter and spring of 2013, when the UCLA cornerback by way of Cosumnes Oaks High School was in the midst of a 10-week stay in a Los Angeles hospital. Scores of physicians from across the country filed in to try to comprehend a rare and exceedingly aggressive fungal infection that was slowly eroding Rios’ body. One doctor told Rios he may not survive.

He did, and if college football handed out comeback player of the year honors, this would be your man.

A redshirt sophomore, Rios has regained his health after multiple surgeries and rigorous rehabilitation. His weight went from 130 pounds to 185. He sleeps well, eats as if he’s making up for lost time and bounds from one class to another, a happy man.

And he’s in the Bruins’ rotation on defense. After spending the early season on the bench in slowly getting back into the mix after watching from the sideline in a jersey only last fall, Rios has made plays in the last two games. He’s been a silver lining for the Bruins in a season that has suddenly veered off course. Rios had six solo tackles in a 30-28 home loss to Utah on Oct. 4, and he saw a lot of time on Oct. 11 in a 42-30 home loss to Oregon. The loss crippled the Bruins’ fast start and any hopes of competing in the first college football playoff.

But those who came to watch Rios on the field that night – his parents Richard and Ivey, his high school coach Ryan Gomes – were not complaining. Rios was in football gear, and it sure beats looking at Rios in hospital garb.

“From all that I’ve gone through, it’s great to be back,” Rios said. “I’m so blessed, so thankful.”

Happy homecoming

Seattle Seahawks rookie cornerback Eric Pinkins had his Inderkum High jersey retired before Friday’s homecoming game against River Valley. The former San Diego State standout met with Inderkum players and signed autographs for fans. Inderkum coach Terry Stark called Pinkins a former student-athlete of “great character.”

Folsom homecoming

It’ll be a Folsom football reunion tonight at Hornet Field, where Cal Poly faces Sacramento State. The Mustangs feature a number of Folsom graduates – starting linebacker Burton De Koning, backup quarterback Dano Graves, reserve wide receiver Carson McMurtrey and starting center Stephen Sippel. Other local players from Cal Poly include starting defensive tackle Marcus Paige Allen of Sheldon and starting linebacker Josh Letuligasenoa of Elk Grove.

Choate love

Leigh Choate watched her husband fire the errant throw to first base that allowed the Giants to win Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Tuesday at AT&T Park.

A Davis High volleyball star in the 1980s and later the coach of the Blue Devils when she went by Leigh Whitmire, Choate was home in Nevada when she saw Randy Choate make the errant play, admitting, “I was stressing!” Then she offered a reality bite.

“He’s good,” she said of her husband’s spirits. “And he’s recovered. The best part about all of this is now he gets to come home. We head to Japan in November for an All-Star game.”

Leigh Choate comes from a football family. Her father, Dave Whitmire, coached Davis High to championships in the 1980s and ’90s, and her brother, Brian, was a Blue Devils standout. Baseball, Leigh admits, was an acquired taste. The Choates married in 2012.

ARC upstarts

Following recent wins over City College of San Francisco and College of San Mateo, American River College (5-0) is No.1 in the state community college football rankings for the first time.

The Beavers handed San Francisco its first shutout, 13-0, in 38 seasons under coach George Rush, whose Rams finished ranked No. 1 in the nation nine times. In a 24-14 win over San Mateo, Beavers quarterback Tanner Trosin ran for a score and passed for another, and Damion Sanders had 12 tackles in earning state Defensive Player of the Week honors.

After a bye last week, ARC plays at College of the Siskiyous in Weed today.

▪ Sacramento City beat Chabot 52-49 in its last game as quarterback Jason Samuels tossed six touchdown passes, including three to Jordan Morrison and two to Kyron O’Berry. The Panthers (3-2) host ARC on Nov.15 in a regular-season finale.

▪ After coaching UC Davis to 217 softball victories in 10 seasons, former Aggies coach Karen Yoder was named coach at Napa High.

The 2010 Big West Conference Coach of the Year left UC Davis by mutual agreement.

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.

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