The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Patch and is being reprinted with permission.
The national letter-of-intent signing day for college and university athletic departments is less than a week away and for many College of San Mateo football players, it’s merely a formality. Several of them are already at their new schools ready to fit in both academically and athletically.
Junior college players are allowed to sign the moment they obtain their AA degree and are able to transfer to universities at the semester or quarter break. Their signing will be officially announced on Wednesday, Feb. 5.
Hillsdale High grad Jerrel Brown, a running back, and Serra High grad Eric Tuipulotu, a linebacker, are currently in Moscow, adjusting to Idaho football under coach Paul Petrico, who was hired in December.
Both players are expected to step in and help the Vandals right away.
Petrino made running back his top priority.
“He’s a big, physical, downhill, as good a looking kid as you can see,” Petrino said of Brown. “He’s a guy we were looking at a little bit at Arkansas. He’ll be a great player for us.”
Brown carried the ball 91 times for 428 yards and four touchdowns as a sophomore. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry.
“He’ll bring some leadership,” Petrino said. “He’ll bring some toughness to the team. He’s a guy you can give the ball to a lot.”
Tuipulotu, also a running back at Serra, recorded 59 tackles for the Bulldogs this past season. He had 2 1/2 sacks and four tackles for loss to go with four pass breakups.
“Eric is a tough, hard-nosed guy,” Petrino said. “He just runs around and hits people, and when he hits you, you know it. He has great passion and plays the game the way everybody wants to see a Vandal play.”
Offensive lineman Hoko Fanaika has been at Louisiana State University since the beginning of the year. He could help give the Tigers one of the biggest lines in the country. He represents the first football player in LSU history with Tongan heritage.
Terra Nova High grad Nate Jackson, a cornerback, will be playing at Kansas State University, the defending Big 12 champions.
Defensive lineman Lyman Faoliu will join former CSM teammate Justin Sagote, a linebacker, at Washington State University, while linebacker Sione Sina makes the short trip across the bay to California.
Mills grad Tevita Latiamua, a linebacker, gets a free ride to the University of Hawaii where he will join Sacred Heart Prep grad Leo Koloanatangi, an offensive lineman.
Palo Alto grad Troy Boyland will be a defensive lineman at the University of Wyoming and Sequoia grad Nick Maier joins the offensive line at Missouri Southern State University, located in Joplin.
“This is a good group who got it done in the classroom,” CSM coach Bret Pollack said. “We’re still not done. Others will get offers as they complete their degrees.”