The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
For the time being, the sound of shoulder pads crashing into one another has been substituted for a pen spreading ink on a sheet of paper at the College of San Mateo.
The Bulldog football program keeps racking up the transfers, bringing their year’s total to 26 with an expected 32 eventually signing athletic scholarships by June’s end. During this last window, six added their names to the list.
“One thing we stress to the guys all the time is, ‘Keep the main thing the main thing,’” said Tim Tulloch, CSM assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. “And for them, the main thing is graduation and earning a bachelor’s degree or beyond. We always stress that getting to the program that is the right fit for you academically first is a good fit for you. We want them to have the total experience as student-athletes.”
Chief among those signings is former Serra Padre Matt Viñal and his commitment to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Viñal enjoyed an All-NorCal season at safety for the Bulldogs. He played in all 11 games and was second on the team with 65 tackles. He also tied for the team lead in interceptions with four.
“When it came down to it, he felt like UNLV was the best opportunity,” Tulloch said. “He’s got a great opportunity to be a starter and play immediately. He’s a Rebel. He started summer practices with them on Monday.”
Viñal’s signing marked the second of two Bulldogs heading to Las Vegas. Wide receiver and playmaker Aaron Criswell signed with the Runnin’ Rebels shortly before Viñal did. No. 9 was the Bulldogs’ No. 1 receiving threat, catching a team-leading 37 passes for 694 yards and eight touchdowns.
“In Criswell, first off, they’re getting a great kid,” Tulloch said. “Aaron on the field is just explosive. He’s a guy that has 4.4 speed (in the 40-yard dash), he’s a guy that can take it the distance at any time and he’s a leader off the field by actions. UNLV is getting two really good ones.”
Also on the offensive side of the ball, All-NorCal lineman Sione Maile agreed to join a pair of CSM players who will play for the University of Idaho. Jerrel Brown and Eric Tuipulotu are already at Idaho football camp.
On the defensive side of the football, the signings began with linebacker Michael Worthen who will play football at Clark Atlanta University.
Worthen played in all 11 games last season for the Bulldogs, recording 28 tackles and a sack during that time.
Defensive back Shai Kobayashi will take his 29 tackles and an interception to Arkansas Tech University. Kobayashi also had three tackles for loss from his DB position last year.
Safety Chris Ceejay signed his athletic scholarship and will play for Weber State.
“We have a lot of guys signing in this May class,” Tulloch said. “We’re just trying to keep preparing them, developing them for a four-year university.”
Since the work of a football program the caliber of CSM is never done, the Bulldogs are well into the fundraising stage.
And for that, CSM football is inviting supporters out to the Great Highway for its first annual Monte Carlo Night on June 22 starting at 6 p.m.
All proceeds from the night go to the CSM football program.
“It’s a way for us to stay engaged with our alumni and the community,” Tulloch said. “It just reinforces the strength in all the relationships we have here. We’re just trying to keep everything rolling and keep finding opportunities for these guys. Every dollar raised goes straight to the student-athlete. It’s a great event. We’re excited about it.”
Over the course of the evening, parents and boosters are given the opportunity to auction for items and services such as National Football League game tickets and CSM football memorabilia.
The proceeds will go directly towards funding yearly football team expenses like helmets and safety equipment, task organization binders, travel expenses and training equipment.
The tax-deductible donation is a suggested $50.
For more information and tickets, visit http://collegeofsanmateo.edu/football/fundraiser.
A face lift
Construction and renovations at College Heights stadium began at the end of May and about halfway done. The estimated time of completion is June 28.
“They tore the top off,” Tulloch said. “And they’re just working on some drainage stuff.”