Hometown Report

Hometown Report: Former Grant star Moala, Burbank’s Mitchell will enter NFL draft

Defensive linemen Vei Moala, left, and Puka Lopa helped Grant set a state record with 78 sacks last season.
Defensive linemen Vei Moala, left, and Puka Lopa helped Grant set a state record with 78 sacks last season. Bee file, 2009

Cal defensive tackle Vei Moala, formerly of Grant High School, confirmed Friday he will forgo his senior season to test the NFL draft waters.

Moala was a five-star recruit at Grant in 2010, when he was The Bee’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year. He impressed his coaches in Berkeley with a school-record 495-pound bench press as a freshman. As a junior this season, Moala started 11 of 12 games for the 1-11 Bears and finished with 37 tackles and 11/2 sacks. He promised his parents he would graduate from Cal with a long-term goal of returning to Grant to teach and coach.

It will be curious to see in what round the 6-foot-3, 330-pound Moala will go, as there is always an NFL need for wide-bodied run stoppers. Had Moala remained in Berkeley, where another year of seasoning might have done him a world of good, he would have played for a fourth position coach in four seasons.

In 35 career games at Cal, Moala made 12 starts and had 48 tackles (five for a loss).

Mitchell moves on – Oregon junior cornerback Terrance Mitchell of Burbank also will bypass his final year of eligibility and enter the NFL draft, calling it a “dream.” Mitchell had five interceptions in 2013 and started 38 games for the Ducks in career. Mitchell brings to mind Ricky Reynolds, who played cornerback for Burbank in the early 1980s, received a scholarship on the spot after the 1983 Optimist All-Star Game, flourished at Washington State and played 10 NFL seasons, seven with Tampa Bay.

Wulff moves on – San Francisco 49ers senior offensive assistant coach Paul Wulff, who played on the line at Davis High in the early 1980s and later coached his alma mater at Washington State, has been hired as offensive coordinator at the University of South Florida. USF went 2-10 this season and produced a national-worst 11 offensive touchdowns. He will finish the postseason with the 49ers before beginning his new post.

Butler did it – San Diego Chargers linebacker Donald Butler of Del Campo has battled injuries, but when he’s healthy, he makes plays. He stripped the ball from Cincinnati Bengals running back Gio Bernard inside the 10-yard line early in last weekend’s wild-card victory and finished with a team-high 12 tackles.

Collie’s chance – Wide receiver Austin Collie, The Bee’s High School Football Player of the Decade for the 2000s out of Oak Ridge, was re-signed by the New England Patriots on Jan. 2. He was released by the 49ers at the end of training camp, signed by the Patriots on Oct. 3, released a month later, re-signed Dec. 5, cut Dec. 27 and brought back aboard.

Collie will be in uniform today when the Patriots host the team that drafted him out of BYU in 2009 – the Indianapolis Colts – in an AFC divisional playoff.

Wiggins’ wiggle roomKenny Wiggins of Elk Grove has paid his dues in the NFL. The 6-6, 315-pound tackle from Fresno State was on the 49ers’ practice squad last season, appeared in four preseason games in August and was cut. The Chargers signed him to their practice squad in September. He was elevated to the active roster Nov. 16, released two days later and re-signed by San Diego on Nov. 20.

Arroyo to the NFLMarcus Arroyo, who set passing records at Colfax and played at San Jose State, has been hired as the Tampa Bay Buccaneeers’ quarterbacks coach. He’ll work under new offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford, the former Cal coach. The Bucs also hired former UC Davis assistants Ben Steele, as quality control coach, and Matt Wiegand, assistant offensive-line coach.

Hoskins bows outDave Hoskins, a coaching figure in the area for 45 years who was known for his strength and conditioning expertise, stepped aside as the offensive-line coach at Sacramento City College. He said he could return to coaching in some capacity this fall. Hoskins had assistant coaching stints at Christian Brothers, introducing the region to weight lifting sessions in the late 1960s, Sac City (twice), American River College and Sacramento State. He was head coach for championship teams at Valley and Elk Grove.

Sac City went 1-9 last fall, its poorest showing since going winless in 1979. The Panthers tapped Metro League schools for talent for years, but hard times have hit McClatchy, Kennedy and Johnson.