Football team signs 30 players

Football team signs 30 players

American River College head football coach Jerry Haflich speaks with new recruits on March 10 in Raef Hall.

Trevor Horn and Trevor Horn

Winning sure does have benefits.

And the list of players filing into Raef Hall on March 10 to sign a letter of commitment to the football program at American River College showcased said benefits.

Monster linemen, speedy receivers and a solid core of linebackers highlight a recruiting class 30 players deep for the 2012 season for the Beavers.

Winning 21 games in two seasons will make many players take notice.

Defensive lineman Ewing Simmons (6 feet 4 inches, 235 pounds) had offers from four Pac-12 programs, but he and his father sat in coach Jerry Haflich’s office and stated Simmons’ desire to play for a coach who cared and would be there for the student-athlete.

Of the 30 signees, 28 are high school seniors, including five all-state honorees from California. The Beavers also added an all-state player from Idaho and Nevada.

ARC also signed two linebackers who will compete as sophomores this season. Eric Niederberger played last season at Colorado State and Kimball Niumatalolo played for Pasadena Community College in 2010.

Folsom High School product J’Juan Muldrow highlights the recruiting class from the Sacramento area. Muldrow tallied 34 total touchdowns for the Bulldogs in 2011 while amassing 1,895 receiving yards.

Haflich emphasized the team’s need for replacements on both sides of the line for the coming season.

“We are going to be able to fill the holes voided in our offensive and defensive lines from the local class very well,” Haflich said. “I am really excited about the offensive and defensive line that have committed to us.”

The Beavers added seven offensive linemen, including Del Oro all-state offensive tackle Zach Heath (6 feet 3 inches, 265 pounds). Heath anchored the offensive line for the Division II Northern California champions.

“I feel he is a tremendous fit for our offense,” ARC offensive line coach Jon Osterhout said. “He can come in and contribute at either guard position or the center position for us. He has a good frame and has tremendous potential.”

The Beavers received eight commitments from defensive lineman, including Kimo Seau (6-2, 240), a second-team all-state defensive send selection from Las Vegas. Seau recorded 50 tackles and ten sacks as a senior at Liberty High School.

The defensive line will get more help from Maile Fainu (6 feet 5 inches, 240 pounds), a Burbank product who amassed 18 sacks in 2011.

The Beavers finished the 2011 season with a second consecutive Capitol City Bowl victory and currently have an 18-game winning streak and are 21-1 over the last two seasons.

The Beavers will also move up to the Valley Conference after spending the entire program history in the Mid-Empire Conference. The move up in conferences also gives the Beavers a shot of the state title game.

“The goal is to win the Valley Conference, to play for the Northern California championship with the opportunity to play for the state title,” Halfich said.

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