By Kevin Sheridan and Matthew Peirson
Starting in early December of 2014, 11 members of American River College’s football team from the 2014 season have signed letters of intent to play at universities, with four of those players, Jordan Carell, Ewing Simmons, Casey Lambert and Zach Heath having signed with power conference Division I schools.
Carrell, a defensive lineman, was named NorCal defensive MVP for the 2014 season and signed with the University of Colorado in December.
In his last season at ARC, Carrell recorded 8 sacks and 61 tackles.
Carrell received offers from 26 different schools, including Cal Poly and Northern Arizona, saying he believes going to Colorado will give him the best opportunity to make an immediate impact.
“(Colorado) was the biggest offer, and it’s a great opportunity for me to start because they were lacking in depth at defensive line,” he said.
According to Carrell, Colorado was the only member of the Pac-12 conference to give him an offer.
Carrell says one of the things the coaches at ARC taught him that he will take to Colorado was how to be a better player off the field as well as on it.
“(Head Coach Jon) Osterhout taught me the craft of playing defensive line, accountability and just becoming a better player on and off the field,” said Carrell.
Simmons, also a defensive lineman, signed with the University of New Mexico after recording 4 sacks and 25 tackles in his final season at ARC.
Simmons says the defensive scheme that New Mexico runs will suit his abilities well, saying that he can be an asset to it.
“I like their defensive scheme, I like the way they run it, I believe there on the up-and-up … I like the academics, (and) I like Albuquerque,” said Simmons.
Simmons said that roughly ten schools who pursued him, including the University of California, Berkeley and The University of Miami.
Simmons says the most valuable thing that ARC coaches taught him was discipline.
“Just discipline, how to play the game from a technique standpoint, and just an overall understanding (of the game),” said Simmons, adding that ARC is about the closest thing you can get to playing in Division I football.
Lambert, one of the team’s running backs, signed with the University of Hawaii after finishing second on the team with 312 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Lambert says one of the reasons he decided to go to the University of Hawaii was simply to get out of town.
“I wanted to get away from Sacramento, I wanted to get out of California,” he said. “I’ve lived here my whole life. I wanted to experience something new.”
Lambert also says he wanted to have the opportunity to play on a larger scale.
“I just liked it because it was my best option … It’s just more time to play, and (Division) I football, so I’m excited. Be on television, get that experience,” he Lambert.
Heath, an offensive lineman, signed with the University of Illinois.
Head Coach Jon Osterhout said in an email to the Current that between 10 and 12 more players are expected to sign in the next to week to a month, including starting quarterback Tanner Trosin.
The Current will update new signings as they become official.