The article below originally appeared on MercuryNews.com and is being reprinted with permission.
Five football players from College of San Mateo signed and faxed their letters of intent Wednesday, eager to move on to four-year programs.
The Mid-Year Signing Day list includes safety/outside linebacker Sam Atoe and defensive tackle Trevor Kelly, who will remain teammates at Cal and join former Bulldog Sione Sina, a defensive end who redshirted with the Golden Bears this season.
“I would be shocked if all of those three guys weren’t starters on Cal’s defense,” CSM assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Tim Tulloch said.
To see a trio of Bulldogs together on a four-year program isn’t out of the ordinary, with Justin Sagote, Lyman Faoliu and Devonte McLain currently at Washington State.
CSM right tackle Haniteli Lousi signed with another Pac-12 team in Oregon. Middle linebacker Michael Spivey will play at Nevada. Cornerback Izaiah Skelton is headed to Central Arkansas, an FCS team.
“This is obviously a very special group,” Tulloch said. “They accomplished a ton on the field. The way they played, they were dominant. Led us to a 10-1 record and a bowl championship. A lot of these guys are going to be really impact guys at the next level.”
The lone Foothill College player to sign on the dotted line during this period will be center Cordero Gonzales, a two-year starter who will send in his paperwork today to Henderson State, a Div. II program in Arkansas that finished the season 11-0 before losing in the first round of the playoffs.
“We only had six sophomores,” Foothill coach Kelly Edwards said. “And the rest of them, they’re not done with their school until the spring.”
Foothill wide receiver Karim Jones has five offers from Div. II programs, but will have to wait until the spring to sign.
It’s the same with Alabama commit Dominick Jackson, a 6-foot-7, 315-pound right guard at CSM who will follow former teammate Fehoko Fanaika (LSU) into the SEC.
“With the LSU and Alabama rivalry, those guys will play against each other,” Tulloch said. “There are Bulldogs all over the place.”
CSM nose guard Rika Levi, the 2013 California Defensive Player of the Year, has yet to select a destination.
“He’s got a ton of options,” Tulloch said.
The Bulldogs set a school record with 32 transfers last year. That’s going to be a tough number to match this time around after the requirements to transfer were raised.
“These guys are all on track, which is outstanding, even with the higher bar,” Tulloch said. “It’s really kind of a tribute to the academic support here at the school and all the investment by the teachers and support staff — all the way up to our president — just making sure these guys are getting every resource in the classroom to get it done. And it’s a tribute to the young men who are investing the time and understanding how important the academic is part of their future.”